This is the final post in our series to honor National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Please read part one, two, and three here.

We’ve discussed child abuse and neglect rates in Michigan, the impact it has on the developing brain, signs to watch out for, and how to help when you suspect abuse or neglect is happening in a home.  But what can you do to prevent it from ever occurring?

Don Guernsey MS LMFT FSAC, Director of Behavioral Health at Eagle Village, suggests the old proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” might not be so far off.

“Look for ways to help support a family that might be experiencing some difficult challenges,” Guernsey says.  “You probably know a family right now that might be experiencing some significant life changes, death of a loved one, divorce, handling a move, homelessness, financial challenges, loss of job, illness, mental health struggles, or drug and alcohol abuse.  While certainly not every family that is experiencing challenges like these are going to abuse or neglect their child, these are some of the types of stressors that can overwhelm anyone.”

“Sometimes,” he continues, “all it takes is to reach out and offer to listen, offer some encouragement, and perhaps offer to take the kids for a while to give mom and dad a break. Even something as simple as offering to have coffee with them can make all the difference.”

He also suggests supporting prevention programs.

“Prevention programs cost a fraction of what it costs to help a victim of abuse or neglect. There are a number of really good prevention programs in Michigan that demonstrate effectiveness in reducing the incident rate of abuse and neglect. However, many of these prevention programs rely on volunteers and donations to be able to provide the services. By volunteering or providing some financial support to those agencies you help to prevent a child from experiencing the trauma and pain of abuse and neglect.”

Agencies you can explore are The Children’s Trust FundMichigan Department of Health and Human Services, and the work we are doing here at Eagle Village.

We have remained committed to stopping the cycle of abuse and neglect for nearly 50 years.  We work hard to both help prevent future abuse and neglect and to help families that have experienced it to start over with new skills that will stop the cycle from ever starting up again.  We offer:

  • residential services to provide a safe place for victims to heal
  • on-staff experts in trauma and trauma counseling
  • a variety of tools in therapy such as a sensory room, wilderness experiences, and experiential learning to help kids overcome their past
  • treatment plans that involve the entire family, in an effort to keep children from returning to unhealthy home environments
  • Youth and Family Challenge Weekends to introduce new skills to families

If you believe in the work Eagle Village is doing, would you show your support?  Please make a donation of any amount here.

Thank you for joining us on this series!  We hope you feel empowered to help the kids and families around you as we all work to make a brighter future for Michigan!