ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Larry Hogan has proclaimed the month of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month in Maryland. The proclamation is observed annually to recognize the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect.

“Every child deserves to have every possible opportunity to succeed in life,” said Governor Hogan. “Preventing child abuse and helping children overcome traumatic experiences creates a stronger, healthier, and more prosperous future for all Marylanders.”

Childhood trauma, including child abuse and neglect, can have a devastating and lifelong impact on one’s health and wellbeing. Preventing child abuse requires community awareness, engagement, and prompt reporting of suspected abuse to authorities.

Since 2015, the Hogan administration has invested more than $227 million in grants to support children and youth. Funding supports programs like Handle with Care, which utilizes trauma-informed approaches to address adverse childhood experiences and prevent future victimization or criminality. The administration has also invested heavily in expanding Boys and Girls Clubs to help provide healthy and safe outlets for kids in communities with higher crime rates.

To provide every child in Maryland with access to accredited child advocacy centers (CAC), the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services also partners with statewide organizations to promote healing for children who have experienced abuse and trauma. In 2021, Maryland’s CACs served 5,474 children, averaging more than 105 children per week, increasing service by 14 percent over the previous year.

The Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth and Victim Services also staffs the Commission on Trauma-Informed Care, established in 2021, which is working to develop and implement a statewide framework for trauma-informed practices. In addition, Governor Hogan also issued an executive order last year to direct all state agencies serving children and families to actively work to address adverse childhood experiences and consider how policies can help children.

“It’s important for everyone to understand the risks that many children face and to become educated on the steps that we can all take to prevent child abuse,” said Yesim Karaman, chief of staff of the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services. “In addition to the important funding we provide to support children and youth, the Hogan administration will continue to support young Marylanders through innovative programs, effective policies, and constant advocacy.”

To raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Government House was lit in blue on April 1.

If you suspect that child abuse is taking place, report incidents to your local department of social services or law enforcement agency. For more information about child abuse prevention, visit the Maryland Department of Human Services Child Protective Services website.

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