April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Every year, this is a time to raise awareness for the Iowa children experiencing abuse or neglect, and to consider the ways we can make a difference and keep kids safe.
Our mission at Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) is to ensure all Iowa children are able to thrive in safe, healthy homes. That mission has not changed over the last year. In fact, our team members across the state have been more determined and driven to provide the crucial services families need to promote positive outcomes for children.
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many children were forced to stay home, away from their school classmates, teachers, friends, and other family.
Meanwhile, parents experienced heightened levels of stress and anxiety — whether that was due to the loss of a job or income, food insecurity, or the sudden need to work from home and provide care and homeschooling for their children. Families were struggling, and were at higher risk of child abuse or neglect.
But the Lutheran Services in Iowa team was there, unflinching and ready to wrap care around the families who were counting on us. Through LSI Early Childhood Services, they were provided with the education, resources, and tools they needed to create a safe and stable home environment for their children. LSI’s family support workers provided weekly video chats, connected families to community supports like food pantries and affordable housing, and offered contactless delivery of essential items.
This past year came with many lessons — among them, that we are stronger together. When our neighbors are in need, we have the ability to step up and provide a shoulder to lean on.
That is at the core of everything LSI staff have done during the pandemic. Because of their compassion and dedication, children were kept safe and families felt confident knowing they weren’t alone during this difficult time. Thank you to all our Iowa social workers for caring for our community members made vulnerable by this pandemic.
Nancy Krause is the director of LSI Early Childhood Services. She can be reached at [email protected]