LOCAL NEWS

DCFS urges awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month

Apr 4, 2024, 5:54 PM | Updated: 6:25 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Utah’s Division of Child and Family Services wants Utahns to be aware of ways to prevent abuse and neglect.

Starting April 5, DCFS is encouraging everyone to wear blue to show support for child abuse prevention.

“So we’re wearing blue just to show that you’re supporting child abuse prevention,” said Marion Eckersley, the DCFS child abuse and neglect prevention program administrator. “And all through the state of Utah, you’ll see blue pinwheels around, and there’s services and activities that are going on.”

Blue pinwheels placed outside of the DCFS offices in Salt Lake City.

Blue pinwheels placed outside of the DCFS offices in Salt Lake City. (KSL TV)

Eckersley said that the pinwheels represent a happy childhood and that child abuse can be prevented by strengthening family bonds.

“And that’s what we want to make sure of, that all children have a chance to thrive and live a happy and safe life,” Eckersley said.

According to DCFS, between July 2022 and July 2023, 9,278 children in Utah were victims of abuse or neglect.

DCFS provided five tips to prevent child abuse and neglect:

  • Learn to deal with stress. Families need the ability to recover quickly from tough situations.
  • Ask friends or family for help, or reach out if you don’t have someone you can turn to. Everyone needs people in their lives who provide emotional support.
  • Learn how kids act at different ages and what is normal for your child’s age and development.
  • Help kids learn social and emotional skills. Help your child gain social and emotional skills by using fun ways to learn how to positively manage their emotions.
  • Know where to find help and support. Learn about free resources and help available in your community.

DCFS encourages Utah families, to use its free online resources to help deal with stress and teach kids social and emotional skills.


Child abuse resources:

  • Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465). Resources are also available online: udvc.org. The statewide child abuse and neglect hotline is 1-855-323-DCFS (3237).

Help with Children

Those who feel stressed out with a child, who need a break or who feel like they need counseling or training can reach out to one of the following agencies:

  • The Family Support Center has 15 locations throughout the state and offers a free crisis nursery for parents who have to keep appointments or who are stressed out. They also offer counseling and family mentoring. Call 801-955-9110 or visit familysupportcenter.org/contact.php for more information.
  • Prevent Child Abuse Utah provides home visiting in Weber, Davis, and Box Elder counties. Parent Educators provide support, education, and activities for families with young children. Their statewide education team offers diverse trainings on protective factors, digital safety, bullying, and child sex trafficking. They are available for in-person or virtual trainings and offer free online courses for the community at pcautah.org.
  • The Office of Home Visiting works with local agencies to provide home visits to pregnant women and young families who would like to know more about being parents. Home visitors are trained and can provide information about breastfeeding, developmental milestones, toilet training, nutrition, mental health, home safety, child development, and much more. Find out more at homevisiting.utah.gov.
  • The Safe Haven law allows birth parents in Utah to safely and anonymously give up custody of their newborn child at any hospital in the state, with no legal consequences and no questions asked. The child’s mother can drop off the child, or the mother can ask someone else to do it for her. The newborns should be dropped off at hospitals that are open 24 hours a day. Newborns given up in this manner will be cared for by the hospital staff, and the Utah Division of Child and Family Services will find a home for the child. For more information, visit utahsafehaven.org or call the 24-hour hotline at 866-458-0058.

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DCFS urges awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month