In recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse is promoting activities parents and children can enjoy together.

This year’s theme, “Play Like a Child,” emphasizes the positive impact of healthy play on both children and adults. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, play provides rich learning opportunities and leads to children’s success and self-esteem.

Everyone is encouraged to participate in this year’s activities. Catch a story time video on CASDA’s Facebook page or YouTube channel. Guest readers include community members such as Superior Police Chief Nicholas Alexander, UW-Extension educator Tracy Henegar and Sue Hagen-LePage from Family Forum Head Start.

The nonprofit also offers a calendar of ideas for daily activities, like washing dishes together, playing tag, baking cookies, doing a simple science experiment, pretending to be dinosaurs, reading together and more.

An activity calendar for Child Abuse Prevention Month highlights opportunities for healthy play. (Courtesy of the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse)
An activity calendar for Child Abuse Prevention Month highlights opportunities for healthy play. (Courtesy of the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse)

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The Facebook page provides links to additional information on topics such as adverse childhood experiences and tips to spotting child abuse, such as looking for changes in a child's appearance, behavior or communication.

In 2020, the Douglas County Department of Health and Human Services received 1,068 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect, conducted 326 initial assessments, identified 546 child victims and made 204 offers of services to families. That same year, CASDA received 77 calls regarding child abuse.

During a joint April 1 proclamation of “Celebrate Children Day,” Douglas County Board Chairman Mark Liebaert and Superior Mayor Jim Paine stressed the role community members serve in preventing child abuse, from recognizing signs of abuse to serving as positive role models.

In addition to joining in the online activities, training opportunities are available to parents and community members:

  • UW-Extension is offering free virtual “Positive Parenting Program” seminars. Upcoming sessions include dealing with disobedience April 14, managing fighting and aggression April 21, hassle-free shopping with children April 28 and developing good bedtime routines May 5. A signup link is available through Facebook.

  • Become a certified Safe and Strong Child presenter. The body safety course, which has been offered in southern St. Louis County for more than 25 years, is now available to residents of Douglas, Bayfield and Ashland counties. It is recommended for school counselors; teachers; advocates; faith-based organizations; preschool and day care teachers; parents and other caregivers; and community members who work with children. Training will take place via Zoom on April 26 and 27 from noon to 4 p.m. Both sessions are required for certification. The cost is $60. Registration is available at eventbrite.com/e/safe-and-strong-presenter-certification-training-tickets-144265414739.