Be April Aware!

April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month

Jennifer Grant, LCSW, FISD District Social Worker

April is National Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention month. This is a month set aside for us to raise community awareness of the devastating effects of child abuse and join forces to combat the problem and strive to build stronger, healthier communities and families. In Texas, more than 3 children die from abuse or neglect on average every week, 182 children are confirmed victims daily and more than 7 children are maltreated every hour (www.texprotects.org). These statistics tell us just how severe an epidemic we are facing. But the good news is, armed with knowledge, we can intervene and act to reduce those numbers and save lives.
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Signs and Symptoms


Physical Abuse • The child has unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones • The child may have fading bruises or marks noticeable after absence from school • The child seems frightened of parents and protests or cries when it is time to go home • The child shrinks back at the approach of adults • The parent offers conflicting, unconvincing, or no explanation for the child’s injury, or the explanation is not consistent with the injury


Emotional Abuse • The child has delayed physical or emotional development • The child may show extremes in behavior, such as overly compliant or demanding behavior, extreme passivity, or aggression • The parent overtly rejects the child • The parent constantly blames, belittles, or berates a child, is unconcerned about the child, and refuses to consider offers of help for the child’s problems


Neglect • The child may wear dirty clothing, shoes too small or large, clothing often in need of repair or inadequate for the weather • The child seems to be hungry; hoards, steals, begs for food or comes to school with little food • The child may appear depressed or to lack energy • The child may have dirty or decaying teeth, may demonstrate poor hygiene • The child frequently reports caring for other siblings, or states there’s no one at home to provide care • The parent seems apathetic, depressed, appears to be indifferent to the child • The parent abuses alcohol or drugs • The parent may deny the existence of a problem and blame the child, school, or others for problems at home


Sexual Abuse • The child has difficulty walking or sitting; may suddenly refuse to change for gym or other physical activities • The child may demonstrate unusual sexual knowledge or behavior • The child may report unusual nightmares or bedwetting • The parent may be secretive and isolated, jealous or controlling with family members • The parent acts unduly protective of the child or severely limits contact with others


Child Sex Trafficking • The child or youth possesses money, cell phone or other material items that cannot be explained • The child or youth reports participation in a sexual act in exchange for shelter, transportation, drugs, alcohol, money or other items of value • The child or youth is accompanied by an overly controlling “friend,” “partner,” or “boss” • The child or youth has signs of physical or sexual abuse; hesitant to explain tattoos or scars • The child or youth may have low self esteem, anxiety, guilt or shame, be hostile or uncooperative, and demonstrate suicidal thoughts or actions

How to Report

Contact Texas Department of Family and Protective Services: 1-800-252-5400, 24/7

or make a report online at: www.txabusehotline.org


If there is an emergency and you believe a child's life is in danger, call 911.


If the situation requires immediate attention, you may request a welfare check from your local law enforcement office.

Wilson County Sheriff's Office: 830-393-2535

Floresville Police Department: 830-393-4055


Gather as much information as you safely can to make a report: names, addresses, phone numbers, descriptions, who lives in the home, where children attend school, where parents work. All of this information is very useful in identifying and locating the families. Provide as many details as you can regarding the incident(s), and circumstances surrounding the incident. Your identifying information as a reporter is confidential by state law.

Get Help

Being a parent is hard. Keeping it together is hard. More so now in this trying time than ever before. But you're not alone. Please reach out. There are resources to help. There are hotlines available 24/7 with counselors to support you. There are family and friends on the other end of the line who are willing to listen who have been where you are or somewhere like it.


COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line

Call 1-833-986-1919 toll-free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


National Parent Helpline
1-855-4-A-PARENT or 1-855-427-2736


Texas Council on Family Violence


National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233)


Help for Parents, Hope for Kids - Parenting Tips, Resources and Helplines


Texas Parent to Parent - Resource for Parents raising children with disabilities and chronic illnesses

Tips for Making It Easier

If you need a break because you feel like you might break, take one. Walk away. Put the crying baby down in their crib and go into the next room. Leave older kids in another room where they are safe, go outside and let them scream. Take 5 minutes to breathe deeply. Lay flat on the ground and let all of your muscles relax. Walk around the house and notice 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. Use prayer or meditation to calm and center yourself.


Relax the rules. This isn't a normal time. We can't expect our kids to be normal right now. We are under stress and so are they. Have peanut butter sandwiches for dinner and put everyone to bed early when you need an extra break. Make time to talk to people you care about who care about you and share what you're going through. This is a lonely time, but you're not alone. Take it one day at a time, but keep remembering this too shall pass. This is a season of our lives and it too will change with time.


When your children are sleeping, make note of the things you love about them. Keep a list. Write down 3 things you love about them every day and 3 things you're grateful for in having this time with them, maybe just things you've noticed about them that you didn't have a chance to notice when life was so busy before. Reflect on those things when you're taking a break. They don't cease to be true because their behavior is difficult in this moment. The moment will pass. We just have to wait it out without reacting.