Community Builders: April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Community Builders: April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Every April, the Napa County Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAPC) commemorates Child Abuse Prevention Month by bringing awareness to this important issue and raising funds to support families and keep children safe.

Led by Cope Family Center and comprising representatives from nonprofit organizations, the faith-based community, law enforcement and government agencies, CAPC coordinates Napa County’s efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect.

Each year, CAPC reports on the state of the health and wellbeing of Napa County’s children and families. In 2020, there were 162 confirmed cases of abuse or neglect, but since child maltreatment is greatly under reported, the true number of victims is estimated to be closer to 500.

“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it are taking a serious toll on families,” said Michele Grupe, CAPC co-chair and Cope executive director. The extreme stress that parents are facing puts their children at greater risk of maltreatment, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and exposure to family violence.

Children are further vulnerable to abuse and neglect during the pandemic because they are largely hidden from view.

Shelter-at-home orders and school closures have left far too many at-risk children isolated at home, without the watchful gaze of teachers, coaches and friends.

“Kids need strong families to grow and thrive safely, and families need supportive communities to lean on when tough times come,” said Julie Murphy, program director at Cope. “We can all play a role in building a strong and resilient community for Napa Valley's children and families.”

Blue Ribbon Month is an opportunity to learn more about child abuse in our community, raise awareness about how it can be prevented, and find out how we can each take small actions that make a big difference.

New this year is a virtual walkathon that encourages the community to walk 40 miles in April in honor of the estimated 40 monthly victims of child abuse in 2020 while also raising funds for Cope’s prevention programs. People can sign up as individuals or as a team and set their own fundraising goal.

Cope has also partnered with Nimbus Art on a community art project that will be on display in Napa and St. Helena. “After a traumatic year of stress, isolation, fear and loss, this project will provide important social connections through art to inspire hope and healing by drawing upon the themes and spirit of Spring - renewal, hope, healing, vitality and new beginnings,” said Jamie Graff, executive director of Nimbus Arts.

Another way to spread the word is to participate in the Blue Ribbon Scavenger Hunt and Instagram contest. Visit the scavenger hunt locations, snap a selfie and post it on Instagram to raise awareness and be entered to win weekly prizes.

Local businesses are helping “Paint the Town Blue” to bring awareness and raise funds. Many are hosting dine and donates or other fundraising events throughout the month to support Cope’s child abuse prevention and family support services.