Oklahoma City, OK – April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and its community partners encourage all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Oklahoma a safer place for children and families. 

By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote the social and emotional well-being of children and youth and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities. Protective factors are the strengths and resources families draw on during difficult times to shield them from life’s stresses. Research shows that when parents possess protective factors, the risk for neglect and abuse diminish and optimal outcomes for children, youth and families are promoted.

Major protective factors include knowledge of parenting and child development, parental resilience, social connections and concrete supports. 

Thousands of Oklahoma children suffer abuse and neglect each year. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Human Services, there were 14,466 substantiated child abuse and neglect victims in Oklahoma in 2021.

“These statistics remind us that every possible effort, no matter how simple, should be made to prevent child abuse in Oklahoma,” said Sherie Trice, OSDH community child abuse prevention grant coordinator.  

“We encourage every citizen to ‘do one thing’ to protect children and strengthen families. Even small gestures, like offering to help a struggling parent by providing an extra set of hands at the supermarket, can make a difference in reducing stress and make life a little easier for families and children.” 

Oklahomans can participate in National Child Abuse Prevention Month in a variety of ways, including wearing blue to support prevention, decorating a tree with blue ribbons, or participate in the YMCA’s Five Days of Action. A complete list of activities is available online.

For additional information about child abuse prevention activities in April or how to get involved in your community throughout the year, contact a local county health department or OSDH Family Support and Prevention Services at (405) 426-8060. 

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) protects and improves public health through its system of local health services and strategies focused on preventing disease. OSDH provides technical support and guidance to 68 county health departments in Oklahoma, as well as guidance and consultation to the two independent city-county health departments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Learn more at Oklahoma.gov/health.