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Barbara Craig, counselor with Armed Forces Center for Child Protection, left, receives a certificate for her participation in the Building Bridges behavior health speaker’s series March 17 at the Gray Research Center. The one-day conference combined military and community leaders in the behavior health community.

Photo by Ida Irby

Quantico promotes year-round Healthy parenting and Child well-being

29 Mar 2016 | Ida Irby Marine Corps Base Quantico

A behavior health speaker’s series titled “Building Bridges” was attended by the Quantico Marine Corps Community Service Behavioral Health leaders and local community partners at the Gray Research Center March 17. The conference provided a dialogue about safety and well-being for children in the military and beyond.

April, National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Month of the Military Child, is a national effort to promote the social and emotional well-being of children. Each child is entitled to a safe home; therefore community leaders promoted safety for children through educational and community support.

The six-hour coordinated community event featured guest speakers Dorinda Williams, licensed clinical social worker; Janet Hawkins-Pope, Psychological Health Advocacy subject matter expert; and Barbara Craig, counselor with Armed Forces Center for Child Protection.

While some service members reside on base and work on base, many live in the surrounding community as well. “A coordinated community response gave an opportunity for everyone to discuss prevention strategies,” said Rebecca Childress, prevention specialist for the Family Advocacy Program.

According to Craig, research shows that the risk for physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect can occur at any rank with any background; however, children living in poverty are more likely to show signs of neglect.

“Poverty can impact a parent’s ability to provide adequate housing, health care, nutrition, clothing or safety. We have to worry about all these issues with young children involved,” said Craig. “When children are emotionally or physical abused it could lead to learning and behavior problems. They are also much more likely to develop risky behaviors as adults.”

Craig’s report indicated that the modern nuances of electronic distractions and gaming have led to more cases of child maltreatment.

Each generation comes with new concerns. The future success of any generation depends on its ability to promote the well-being of the next generation. When a society invests in healthy children, the next generation will give back with a lifetime of productivity within their community.

Community members like Bleydis Borge, New Parent Support administrative assistant, found that because she doesn’t have children she couldn’t relate to the circumstantiality of parenting. The forum gave her details on how to identify child abuse and how to provide adequate support.

Overall, speakers acknowledged the importance of families and communities working together to stop child abuse. If you have reason to believe a child is not safe, call the local child abuse hotline for Virginia, 1-800-552-7096. For more information about child support programs throughout the year, contact the Family Advocacy Program 703-784-2570.

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