April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month - Make early childhood health a priority
were victims of child abuse or neglect in the U.S. in 2014, the most recent
data available from the Centers for Disease Control. In the same year, more
than 1,500 children died due to abuse and neglect.
Public health agencies, like JCPH,
work to stop child maltreatment, including abuse and neglect, before it occurs.
In doing this, national, state and local public health programs promote the
development of safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments
between children and their parents or caregivers. Children's experiences are
defined through their environments (such as homes, schools, and neighborhoods)
and relationships with parents, teachers, and other caregivers. Healthy
relationships act as a buffer againstadverse childhood experiencesand are necessary to ensure the long-term physical and
emotional well-being of children.
The first years of a child's life
are some of the most important in terms of cognitive, social and physical
development. Early experiences occurring when a child's brain and behavior are
being shaped affect a child's ability to learn, to get along with others, and
to develop an overall state of well-being. Unfortunately, not all children have
the same positive experiences or opportunities, which can lead to disparities.
Social, economic and environmental factors have been closely linked to health
Research suggests that many disparities in overall health
and well-being are rooted in early childhood. For example, those who lived in
poverty as young children are more at-risk for leading causes of illness and
death, and are more likely to experience poor quality of life. This growing
problem costs the United States billions of dollars annually.
That’s why Jefferson County Public Health is hosting three
screenings of “The Raising of America,” a documentary on early childhood health
and the things community members can do to help the youngest among us. The
first two screening took place the first weekend of April, and the third will
be from 5-7 p.m. April 17 at the Golden Library. RSVP at roa-golden.eventbrite.com.
The documentary film series “The
Raising of America” chronicles
how a strong, healthy and supportive start for all children leads to better
individual outcomes and to healthier, safer and more prosperous and equitable
“‘The Raising of America’ changes the way we
look at early child health and development,” said Sophia Yager, Jefferson
County Public Health nurse program manager and lead for the Health in Early
Childhood Collaborative. “Jefferson County can only benefit from considering
how to best support its youngest residents and their families. Through these
viewings, we hope to start those conversations.”