Serving children and youth who are victims of abuse and/or neglect is a focus for The Rees-Jones Foundation. Over the past ten years of funding child welfare work, we have become acquainted with the distress and heartache that far too many children experience. Every new learning moves our Board and staff to respond by funding organizations and programs that help relieve their suffering.
In North Texas, during 2016 alone, more than 15,000 children were confirmed victims of maltreatment and over 4,000 had to be removed from their homes because their living circumstances were a detriment to their wellbeing, and even their lives. It is unfathomable that a child’s life can get to this point.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and we, probably like many reading this, have had many communications over the first half of the month reminding us that a child does not have to experience abuse or neglect. Rather than a place of trauma, a child’s home should be a place of safety, affirmation, and love.
Through our work with local and international child welfare agencies, we have learned that empowering a child’s caregiver(s) is a powerful way to help prevent child maltreatment. Through home visitation programs, vulnerable families begin to build healthy connections with one another. Caregiver(s) build skills, gain confidence, and also learn how to cope with and overcome any painful past experiences. There is a lesson to be learned by our larger community in this: for families to be the best possible place for children, we need to come alongside them with hope, help, friendship, and accountability through our church and neighborhood gatherings.
At The Rees-Jones Foundation we continue to search for effective ways of preventing child abuse, such as home visitation programming. This is part of our hope to see North Texas become a community that rallies around families, and in turn, becomes the safest place possible for children.