Laughter spills into the hallway at the Cuero ISD Daule campus and a toddler bolts down the hallway. It’s Wednesday and it’s story time. Parent Liaisons with CISD coordinate activities and home visits with the purpose of providing information, support and encouragement to parents as they help their children grow and develop during the crucial early years of life. “As part of the Parents as Teachers program, we provide a strong link between home and school to develop trust, appreciation, and understanding,” explains Dawn Green, CISD SMART Choices Parent Liaison. “Parents and teachers become partners in the success of the child.”
Research shows that when parents possess six protective factors, the risk for neglect and abuse diminish and optimal outcomes for children, youth, and families are promoted. The six protective factors are:
• Nurturing and attachment
• Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
• Parental resilience
• Social connections
• Concrete supports for parents
• Social and emotional developmental well-being
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, Cuero Independent School District and the DeWitt County Child Welfare Boardencourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Cueroa better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children’s social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.
In support of these efforts, CISD provides opportunities for parent education. Through the strong Parents as Teachers program, staff works individually with parents in their homes and in small groups; the popular “Coffee with the Counselor” program at the elementary campuses provides a forum for parents to learn and share with others; parenting workshops throughout the school year look at larger topics and bring great information and guests to all parents. The DeWitt County Child Welfare Board in turn provides support to the Department of Families and Protective Services so that as they work with families they have the resources needed to help and heal.
“April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children,” said Laurie Pokluda, President of the Friends of Child Welfare. “Everyone’s participation is critical. Focusing on ways to build and promote the protective factors, in every interaction with children and families, is the best thing our community can do to prevent child maltreatment and promote optimal child development.”
CISD SMART Choices, along with the DeWitt County Child Welfare Board, is promoting Pinwheels for Prevention this month outside John C. French Elementary School. The pinwheel represents Prevent Child Abuse America's efforts to change the way our nation thinks about prevention, focusing on community activities and public policies that prioritize prevention right from the start to make sure child abuse and neglect never occur. Becky Payne, CISD SMART Choices Crisis Counselor adds, “Child abuse is a national health problem. It is linked to brain development, mental health and substance abuse problems, and has an annual economic burden of $124 billion. On April 11, 2012, we ask that everyone wear blue to honor our commitment to our children and help us prevent abuse and neglect.”
For more information about parent education programs, please contact Dawn Green, Parent Liaison, CISD SMART Choices, 361.275.9408. To report suspected abuse or neglect, please call (800) 252-5400.