By Evan Casey
Over 15 local and state officials met at city hall last Monday to proclaim April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The event, organized by The Parenting Network, sought to shed light on the many services the City of Milwaukee and community organizations have to support parents and families across Milwaukee.
The Parenting Network is a non-profit organization that was founded in Milwaukee in 1976. They help support and educate over 8,000 parents, caregivers, individuals and families every year through a 24-hour hotline and by providing classes for parenting, among other things.
Reggie Moore, the Director of the City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention, spoke about the importance of coming together to raise the children within a community at the event.
“This is a community wide issue,” said Moore.
“We have to start early and stay committed. It’s important that we understand that this issue is a continuum, from birth to young adulthood.”
Mayor Tom Barrett gave a proclamation at City Hall; Barrett himself has four children.
“I’m sure many of you have heard this, but parenting is one of the most difficult jobs you can ever have,” said Barrett.
The proclamation said in part, “We recognize that adverse childhood experiences can have a negative impact on a child’s ability to love and to be loved. We can’t make sure our children are perfect all the time but it’s important to be positive role models to our kids.”
Shanika Brown, a parent in Milwaukee, shared how she received help from the City of Milwaukee through a program called Parent Café: a community group where parents share their own personal experiences. Brown started to attend the café after one of her children was exposed to lead poisoning at a young age.
“It helped me realize that I’m not alone [and that] there’s this thing called community,” said Brown. “My kids are doing awesome, and my kid has been lead free for years and all I can say is that we made it.”
Any individual can report child abuse at the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families website, at dcf.wisconsin.gov.
The Parenting Network 24-hour parent helpline number is (414) 671-0566.