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Utah agencies join forces to share resources concerning child abuse, neglect

By Jamie Lampros - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Apr 8, 2022

NICK SHORT, Standard-Examiner file photo

Megan Wilcox walks past pinwheels that adorn the lawn at the Memorial County Courthouse in Farmington on Wednesday, April 4, 2012. The pinwheels were placed in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Last year, over 9,000 children in Utah were victims of child abuse and neglect. Of the confirmed allegations involving a parent, 55% were related to a form of neglect.

In an effort to bring attention to services available to help Utah families, a new web page, uw.org/211/family-strengthening, has been created through the collaboration of the Division of Child and Family Services, United Way, Utah 211 and Help Me Grow Utah.

“This web page provides a variety of referrals to address everything from basic needs to specialized information to support families,” said Sandra Carpio, managing director of Utah 211. “We are excited to provide this as a resource for parents and caregivers in our community.”

The online resource is coupled with Utah’s Strengthening Families Toolkit — accessible at https://bit.ly/3umw46D — which provides an easy guide for overwhelmed parents and community child abuse and neglect prevention efforts.

Structured after the Protective Factors Framework, the page is aimed at helping families navigate difficult situations. It identifies five key strengths that include concrete supports, the social and emotional competence of children, parental resilience, knowledge of parenting and child development, and social connections.

“When we truly care about the safety and well-being of children, then we must equally care about the safety and well-being of the adults in those children’s lives,” said Diane Moore, DCFS director. “This is why I love the focus on family strengthening in the month of April. When parents thrive in our communities and have what they need to live healthy, productive, economically stable lives, child safety is almost always concurrently achieved. We want to do more in Utah than just prevent abuse and neglect.”

Individuals who feel they need help can call Utah 211 directly for help in locating services in their community, or visit the website. Available services include family support centers, support groups, mental health or substance use disorder treatment, parent education classes, and assistance related to housing, finances and employment.

“We want to back away from that line of crisis by leaning in as communities and neighbors in order to ensure that every family has the resources and support they need to be truly successful,” Moore said. “This is the Utah way. Every child and individual matters.”

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