- Be a nurturing parent. Children need to know that they are special, loved and capable of following their dreams. Learn about how children grow and mature and have realistic expectations of what your child can and can not do.
- Help a friend, neighbor or relative. Being a parent isn't easy. Someone you know may be struggling with his or her parenting responsibilities. Offer a helping hand--take care of the children, so the parent(s) can rest or spend time together.
- Help yourself. When the big and little problems of your everyday life pile up to the point where you feel overwhelmed and out of control--take time out. Don't take it out on your kid. Take a deep breath. Turn on some music. Know who to call for help and keep the numbers next to your phone.
- If your baby cries...It can be frustrating to hear your baby cry, especially when nothing you do works. Learn what to do if your baby won't stop crying. Never shake a baby--shaking a child may result in severe injury or death.
- Get involved. Advocate for services to help families. Help to establish parenting groups in your community. Ask your community leaders, clergy, library and schools to develop services to meet the needs of healthy children and families.
- Help to develop parenting resources at your local library--films, books, information.
- Promote programs in schools. Teaching children, parents, and teachers prevention strategies can help to keep children safe.
- Monitor you child's television and video viewing. Watching violent films and TV programs harms young children. It scares them, and teaches children that aggression is a good way to handle frustration and solve problems.
- Volunteer at a local child abuse program. Volunteers are important leaders in the field of child abuse prevention. Although some volunteer roles require professional training, most do not.
- Report suspected abuse or neglect. Keeping children safe is the responsibility of every adult in the community. If you have reason to believe a child has been--or may be--harmed, call your local department of children and family services, usually listed in the telephone directory under "Welfare" or "Health and Human Services Department," or call your local police department.
Under Massachusetts law, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is the state agency that receives all reports of suspected abuse and/or neglect of children under the age of 18. The Department is responsible for protecting children from abuse and/or neglect and seeks to ensure that each child has a safe, nurturing, permanent home. The DCF website provides extensive materials explaining what child abuse/neglect is, how to report it, the process investigating reports.
All reports of suspected child abuse or neglect must be phoned in to DCF. Please call immediately if you know of, or suspect, an incident of child abuse or neglect.
During regular business hours (8:45 a.m.-5 p.m. M-F) call the Department of Families and Children (DCF) area office that serves the city or town where the child lives.To report suspected abuse nights, weekends, and holidays, contact: Massachusetts Child Abuse Emergency Line at 800-792-5200 – 24 hours.