ACS Holds Child Abuse Prevention Forum
As part of the observance of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month ACS in collaboration with the East New York and Bushwick Community Partnerships held a forum on child safety at the Genesis Homes in Brooklyn on Friday, April 8, 2011.
The audience listens intently to the child safety presentation.
The forum was attended by members of the East New York community, foster parents and staff from foster care and preventive services agencies. Dr. Steven Ajl, Director of the Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center, gave a presentation on Shaken Baby Syndrome. He noted that child abuse happens in all types of families and that multiple studies show that babies are most vulnerable to being shaken at a very young age when they cry the most. “It can be frustrating to take care of a crying baby, but it is never ok to shake a baby,” he cautioned.
Dr. Ajl said studies show that the presence of an unrelated adult in the home is a major risk factor in babies being exposed to being shaken. He added that while mothers are also abusers, in 60-70% of reported cases, the abuser is a male caregiver, adding that the most vulnerable babies are the very young, medically fragile and babies in multiple-children families. And he pointed out the consequences of shaking a baby are usually dire, with approximately 25% resulting in the death of the child and another 50 percent having poor developmental outcomes.
ACS child protection staff gave the audience information on recognizing child abuse and reporting cases of suspected child abuse by calling 311 or the State Central Register at 800-342-3720. Jacqueline McKnight, Assistant Commissioner in the Division of Child Protection, told the audience that it is important for the community to partner with ACS to help prevent child abuse.
The event was one of several organized by the ACS Office of Community Partnerships and Advocacy in collaboration with community partners to educate the public about child safety issues. Other events were held in Queens with the Elmhurst Community Partnership, and in Bedford Stuyvesant. On April 29, the ACS Office of Child Care and Head Start will host a forum themed: “The Impact of Bullying on Your Children.” In addition to these educational events, ACS will honor individuals and organizations who have made valuable contributions to keeping children safe in a special ceremony on April 28.