Vail Daily letter: Protect our children |

Vail Daily letter: Protect our children

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, Eagle County Department of Human Services encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Eagle County a safer place for children and families. By ensuring parents have the knowledge, skills and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children’s social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities. Our goal is to help children thrive through meaningful healthy relationships.

In 2013, ECDHS received 596 referrals from our community regarding concerns for child abuse or neglect. ECDHS follows specific procedures to evaluate information provided in these referrals to determine whether an investigation of abuse or neglect is appropriate. ECDHS works closely with community partners who observe and participate in these processes. In addition, ECDHS provides trainings to the community on how and when to make a referral to the hotline. If your agency is interested in receiving this training please contact the Child Abuse Hotline at 970-328-7720

Research shows that when parents possess six protective factors, the risk for neglect and abuse diminish and optimal outcomes for children, youth, and families are promoted. The six protective factors are:

• Nurturing and attachment.

• Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development.

• Parental resilience.

• Social connections.

• Concrete supports for parents.

• Social and emotional developmental well-being.

ECDHS collaborates with local agencies to support our families in enhancing their ability to be protective towards their children. ECDHS will be starting a Love and Logic parenting course in April at the Eagle Library. ECDHS works closely with Early Childhood Services, local law enforcement, Mindsprings, Eagle County Schools, and several other agencies. These are all programs accessible to families to promote well-being of children and healthy development.

April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children. Everyone’s participation is critical. Focusing on ways to build and promote the protective factors, in every interaction with children and families, is the best thing our community can do to prevent child maltreatment and promote optimal child development.

As the saying goes, it takes a village!

Jessica Waclawski

Social caseworker, Eagle County Department of Human Services

Support Local Journalism