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30 ways you can help prevent child abuse during National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Today is the first day of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.   Click on the link below to learn what you can do to strengthen families and prevent child abuse, maltreatment and neglect.    The first step in standing up against child abuse is prevention.   

30 Ways to Strengthen Families During National Child Abuse Prevention Month: April 2010.

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National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is child abuse prevention month.  Although we should raise awareness about child abuse and neglect and ways to prevent such abuse and neglect 365 days a year, April is a the beginning of Spring and beautiful things, including love. So, please take time out of your busy schedules to raise awareness about child abuse and encourage all to support children and families suffering from abuse and neglect.

April was proclaimed the National Child Abuse Prevention Month in 1983.   From 1983 to the present, child abuse and neglect prevention awareness has been promoted across the country during  the month of April.   The Blue Ribbon Champaign to Prevent Child Abuse started in 1989.  It’s beginnings, sadly, started due to a grandmother’s memorial of her grandchild who died as a result of abuse.   This grandmother in mourning tied a blue ribbon on her car antenna in remembrance of her grandchild and to raise awareness of the dangers of child abuse and neglect.  

Please take time this month to help prevent child abuse and neglect by raising awareness of the subject or volunteering your time at a local child welfare agency.   Below are a list of ways you can also do during the month of April in support of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. 

  • VOLUNTEER.  This can include starting a playgroup, helping out at an afterschool program (or starting one), participating at parent education, creating a mentoring program or providing support to all of these types of programs.   Voice your concerns about child abuse and neglect in your community and spread the word on prevention.   Become a CASA (click here for more information on volunteering with CASA). 
  • GIVE YOURSELF A TIME-OUT.    NEVER discipline your children while you are angry.   Before giving your child a time-out, you should take one in order to calm down.   Using words and actions while angry can lead to long-term damage.  Your WORDS and CONDUCT can leave deep wounds.   Teach your children (and other adults around you) that you can solve problems without yelling or hitting.  Abuse is not merely physical, it is also yelling at your child, including the words one is bound to use in anger while yelling. 
  • STOP ABUSE BEFORE IT STARTS.  Invest in abuse prevention programs, such as parenting classes for new parents, family counseling for families suffering from divorce, loss of income or a serious illness.  
  • EDUCATE YOURSELF.   Know  the signs of child abuse.  Also, know what child abuse is.  Most people think child abuse is either physical or sexual.  However, these are only two types of child abuse.  Maltreatment, neglect and emotional abuse are all types of child abuse.   Signs of abuse range from fear of particular adults (or older children – a lot of times, people focus on adults, but older siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, etc. can also abuse a child), to unexplained injuries, changes in eating and sleeping habits, inappropriate sexual behavior, secrecy and hostility or anger.  
  • REPORT IT!  If you suspect a child is abused, please report it to your local child protective service department or your local police department.   Do not let fear stop you from protecting an innocent and defenseless child.  
  • RAISE PUBLIC AWARENESS.   Fly your Children’s Memorial Flag (click here to purchase) on April 23, 2010 (4th Friday in April) , which is Children’s Memorial Day, to show your support for Child Abuse Prevention.  
  • SUPPORT THE CHILDREN’S MEMORIAL FLAG POSTAGE STAMP INITIATIVE.   Child Welfare League of America and Alameda County (note to my readers, you’ll hear more about my love for Alameda County.  It’s where I plan to practice law.) have submitted a proposal for the Children’s Memorial Flag to be commemorated on a U.S. postal stamp.  For more information on this initiative, go to http://www.cwla.org/advocacy/stampsignatories.asp.  Please support the Child Welfare League of America and sign their petition.   

Check back with Always Chasing Justice during the month of April to follow some of the many awareness and preventive activities taking place across the country.    To start your April off on a positive note, tomorrow, Thursday, April 1st, create a comfortable place for families to meet and talk.   This is a first step in preventing child abuse and neglect.    I hope I can get all of your support in spreading the word about National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Children’s Memorial Day, the Children’s Memorial Flag (please go out and purchase your flag) and the Children’s Memorial Flag Postage Stamp.  

If you are interested in learing more about National Child Abuse Prevention Month, you can obtain information from the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) within the Children’s Bureau, which is responsible for coordinating Child Abuse Prevention Month.  OCAN provides information and releases updated national statistics about child abuse and neglect each April.  

(If you are interested in a historical outline of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, click here.)

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Advocating for Children!

Thank you Mrs. Paula Holloway! You probably are not aware of the impact your presentation to my Juvenile Law class had on me. It simply changed my life. Prior to hearing Mrs. Holloway’s speech, I was confused and did not know where my career was headed. Somehow I allowed the economic crisis, the enormous number of articles preaching the worthlessness of a JD and being just plain sick and tired of law school take me too far right on a course to no man’s land. I was discouraged and failed to remember why I entered law school in 2007. And then Mrs. Holloway walked into my Juvenile Law class earlier this month. The impact her stories had on me were not only unexpected but was something like being saved. Saved in the religious sense. As each word eased out of her mouth, I become more and more clear about my life’s path. It was like hearing Martin Luther King, Jr. speak. No, she was no preacher and not as eloquent a speaker as Martin Luther King, Jr. But, her words had as much, if not more, of an impact on my life than if I had heard Reverend King speak. Hearing her experience with child abuse and neglect and the foster care system brought me close to tears. The ease that she spoke of the stories only indicated the need for drastic change in the system. And as Ms. Holloway stated, attorneys have the power and knowledge to make such change. It was then I knew, my initial reason for entering law school, was the only reason I needed to finish the program and pass the California Bar Exam. It was one of the many passions of mine.

How did I lose sight of my legal career dream? I have many dreams, but this one is more realistic than the others and actually within arms reach. The constant strain of reading various case books, briefing cases, juggling motherhood, education and career and the pressure of my mounting law school student loan debt caused me to consider the traditional path and work for a law firm providing me with a comfortable salary, regardless of the area of law. Friends and family can attest to my love-hate relationship with law school and the legal profession in general. Not to mention the scores of articles informing us law students of the realities of post-law school life. One chasing paper to pay off our enormous student loan debt. The future looked bleak, to say the least. I was not too happy with the thought of remaining in Corporate America, making good money, but merely pushing paper as a corporate transactional attorney. That is where my life was heading and then I heard Mrs. Holloway speak.

Things are so much clearer today (and have been for the past couple of weeks). I see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is such a clear picture, even through my tear-filled eyes. Nothing was blurry about my future. I knew, at that exact moment, my destiny. Thank you Mrs. Paula Holloway! I will forever remember your face, your name and the words that inspired me to fulfill my destiny as an advocate for children.

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Journey for justice and everything in-between

Hello World!

Every law student is quite aware of the infamous The Paper Chase. Well, my blog will focus on my life as a single mother-of-three, part-time law student, full-time corporate paralegal and founder of a non-profit organization focused on children’s rights, particular the rights of foster children and my chase for… Paper! Nah! This blog will focus on my chase for justice.

The title of my blog describes my chaotic, but exciting, life. My 6-year-old son’s name is Justice. He is full of life and energy that only a mother can love. He keeps me on my toes… Literally on my toes!

While chasing Justice, I am working hard to accomplish one of my life’s dreams of chasing justice for those individuals often finding themselves out of the reach of “the lady” (I’ll refer to “the lady” many times through out my blog, and simply put, she’s the Lady of Justice, which I’ll attempt to define in varying ways).

I am going to attempt (I say attempt, because as you’ll see, I tend to go off in a tangent) to focus on my amazing journey through law school and single motherhood and eventually a career as a practicing attorney, improving the lives of children, specifically foster children and orphans throughout the world.

In addition, this blog will vary from children’s rights, foster care, dependency issues, juvenile law, non-profit corporation formation and maintenance, parenting issues, legal issues, employment issues, law school issues, family issues and even the fun stuff, like party planning, interior decorating, traveling and country living from the eyes of a frugal fashionista and everything in-between.

Enjoy!

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