To us, every month is Child Abuse Prevention Month. But there is something special about the energy we feel in April when the nation comes together for the cause. The national and statewide unity creates a forward momentum that we cannot help but spread.

This April, Prevent Child Abuse Arizona engaged more than 1,000 people in discussions about strategies to strengthen families and prevent abuse before it happens. We provided training attendees — including Baby CASAs home visitors, parent aides, child welfare professionals and community members — new, relevant, and needed information. One attendee affirmed our goal was successful, sharing, “This webinar presented NEW information, and did not feel like a repeat. In the social work world, some trainings might carry over the same information from previous trainings. I enjoyed learning something new and useful that I could share with my clients.”

This April, Prevent Child Abuse Arizona also launched a public awareness campaign called Lean On Me AZ, a project funded by Casey Family Programs. After a year of focus groups and conversations across Arizona, Prevent Child Abuse Arizona released a toolkit of tips, tools, and messages that strengthen families. The toolkit addresses the overwhelming stress of parenting and the need for communities to partner with parents so that families may thrive. We spread these messages through photos on social media, reaching over 2,000 people.

We also hosted a webinar on the initiative. One attendee shared what the campaign means to her as a professional who serves families: “I deeply appreciate the message of hope and the focus on this paradigm shift. Overwhelm and stress are daily, unwelcome visitors to our existence. My current role is to promote family voice, choice, and ownership in child-serving systems, be it education, behavioral/physical health, child welfare, juvenile justice, or developmental disabilities. I was in tears last night following a meeting in which I felt despair at the degree to which others discount family voice. Today, I also cried as I felt hope as Claire (Louge, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Arizona) shared her vision of a world in which families get what they need—starting with being valued as having strengths and a role in the solutions. Kudos to Prevent Child Abuse Arizona for having these conversations. Thank you for making the effort.”

As Child Abuse Prevention Month is celebrated across the United States, we also collaborated with some of our national partners, including Prevent Child Abuse America chapters in Georgia, Rhode Island, and Kentucky. They reached out to learn how they may apply principles from the Lean On Me AZ campaign in their states. Kentucky appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the Lean on Me AZ campaign: “We are committed to expanding our primary and secondary prevention efforts and this approach aligns with the values we feel are necessary for effective prevention. The shift from “mandated reporter” to “mandated supporter” is critical to a culturally sensitive, strengths based, family, youth, and community driven approach that is built upon the protective factors framework and takes into consideration the social determinants of health.   It is exciting to see how Arizona has taken these concepts and values and created an approach with actionable steps.  The webinar was very helpful and we appreciated the actionable tools, and how the protective factors were woven into those tools. The work in Arizona has given our work in Kentucky a jump-start and we are excited to see where your creative ideas and hard work will take us in Kentucky.”

The most vital ingredient to Child Abuse Prevention month is you, our friends, partners, and community. Because of you, we can continue the conversation. You reverberate our energy back to us with an even brighter enthusiasm. You provide us the hope that together, we can make a difference in the lives of Arizona families and beyond.