In a guest column, Julia Neighbors, director of Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, urges families to remain connected during this pandemic. Such connections are critical to helping both children and adults get through this stressful time, she says.
A former senior attorney with the Fulton County Office of the Child, Neighbors contributed to the update of Georgia’s juvenile code and worked with court appointed special advocates around Georgia and community revitalization efforts. PCA Georgia provides statewide direction to build safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments to prevent child abuse and neglect and has more than 20 local councils located throughout the state who advocate and implement prevention practices in their communities
We know that contact with caring adults outside their families can help protect children from abuse and neglect. So can living in a household where parents are employed and able to meet their basic ne.
My colleagues in the child welfare system and others who have professional contact with children are dedicated to keeping kids safe. But in these unprecedented times, we must shore up protective factors even while we’re maintaining physical distance.
Physical distance does not mean we need to remain socially disconnected or isolated. In fact, individuals, families, and communities can safely maintain the one thing we all need right now…social connections.
And parents and caregivers, try to take time to connect with yourself. Whether it’s meditation or yoga, exercising (while keeping a safe distance from others!) or journaling, taking a bath or locking yourself in the bathroom for a few minutes of me-time, you can’t take care of your family if you don’t take care of yourself.
For help with parenting support, locating essential resources like food or funds for utilities and rent, or other community resources, call 1-800-CHILDREN (244-5373) or visit www.PCAGeorgiaHelpline.org
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