Building strong and resilient families: Child Abuse Prevention Month Published March 22, 2019 By Anabella Santana 6th Medical Group Family Advocacy Program intern MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a nationwide community based blue ribbon campaign which began in 1989 to advocate for the prevention of child abuse. The blue ribbons serve to remind communities of the importance of educating oneself and local communities about the prevalence and statistics regarding child abuse. Statistics show that within military communities, children 0-5 years of age are at the highest risk for abuse and neglect. Child abuse is categorized as either sexual, physical, emotional abuse or neglect. Things you can do for Child Abuse Prevention Month: Volunteer your time: Get involved with local organizations that work to empower youth in your community. For example, volunteering and mentoring at the Boys and Girls club, Child and Youth Services or consider leading a Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop. Learn to thoughtfully discipline your child: Attend a parenting class that teaches helpful tips and strategies to disciplining children. The Family Advocacy Program offers parenting education basics for parents with children ages 0-18 and toddler tantrums for parents with children ages 0-3. Report abuse: Trust your instincts. If you witness a child being harmed, see evidence of abuse or if a child tells you about abuse, make a report with child protective services (call 800-96-ABUSE), local police, or contact the Family Advocacy Program on base. Understand risk factors for child abuse: Marital problems or single parents, financial problems, lack of parenting skills or education, lack of support. The MacDill Air Force Base Family Advocacy Program offers a variety of preventative services and classes that focus on creating healthy and safe relationships with children. The Family Advocacy Program will be hosting the following classes during April for Child Abuse Prevention month: Dads workshop, baby basics, potty training, and taming temper tantrums. To sign up for parenting classes or to schedule a meeting with the new parent support program nurse, please call the Family Advocacy Program office at (813) 827-9172.