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The City of St. Louis Department of Health recognizes the importance of caring connections, supportive environments, and positive experiences for all children and families during Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Month in April and throughout the year. Child Abuse-Related charges reported by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department have been steadily increasing over the past five years, with an annual average of 246 charges.

"The maltreatment of children is preventable, and the past year has shown that supporting families is essential to prevent child maltreatment, says Dr. Fredrick Echols, acting director of health for the City of St. Louis. "Providing caring and nurturing connections can result in healthy developments for the children in the City of St. Louis and the generations beyond."

"As a single mother, I always make sure to prioritize time for my son. In order for our children to have a healthy and successful future, we must regularly spend quality time with them; away from screens, doing something fun and supportive of their development, and creating space where their thoughts, feelings, and concerns are validated," says Mayor Tishaura O. Jones.

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There are steps parents and guardians can take to care for their children and protect them from harm. Using the following guidelines can help parents improve relationships and communication with their children.
  • Never discipline your child when your anger is out of control
  • Participate in your child's life
  • Never leave your child unattended
  • Teach your child to use his or her voice
  • Be aware of your child's attitude, and if it changes
  • Teach your child crisis tactics such as knowing what to do when separated
  • Be alert for premature sexual understanding
  • Pay attention when someone shows abnormal interest in a child  

Tuesday, April 27, from 11am-1pm, the Department of Health will host an educational outreach table in the City Hall Rotunda. Anyone is welcome to stop by during this session. A reminder that facial coverings are required in city buildings.

Anyone who suspects a child may be abused or neglected should report it to authorities through the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-392-3738. For more information, visit the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline website.stats

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