Community Denim Project Encourages Participation across Palm Beach County
We know it takes a village to raise a child. It also requires a community to prevent child abuse. To most of us, the very idea of abusing a helpless child is incomprehensible, yet there were 761 verified cases of child abuse in Palm Beach County last year. You’re not alone in your feelings of helplessness when faced with this distressing statistic. However, Families First of Palm Beach County, an organization that has helped to steadily reduce child abuse for 27 years, has created a program uniting community members to help. It’s called the Community Denim Project and with your participation it will make a difference.
The Community Denim Project goes beyond a typical fundraiser by creating a collective, visible movement that shares the exclusive determination to protect our children. By partnering with neighboring businesses and organizations, Families First intends to engage the entire Palm Beach County citizenry in raising both awareness and funding in a spirited and fun way. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a perfect time to launch Community Denim Day on April 21st.
Here’s how it works. Invite your business, organization, or school to donate $5 or more on April 21st, and you can wear jeans to work that day. You can also take another step and propose that any member of your workplace, school, or group such as a homeowner’s association, gym, or club, can also wear jeans after donating $5 or more to Families First of Palm Beach County. It’s a demonstrative way to bend the dress code for an urgent cause.
Though child abuse is a crime and inexcusable under any circumstance, there is a direct parallel between abuse or neglect of children and domestic hardship, be it financial need, drug and alcohol dependence, or a general lack of knowledge concerning child-rearing. These challenges often exacerbate the inherent stress of parenting. Tragically, abuse during childhood usually affects a person throughout adulthood.
Physical abuse during early childhood may also alter brain development, an especially alarming finding given that 442 of the 761 cases of child abuse in Palm Beach County afflicted children from birth to five years of age and 177 of the cases affected children aged 6-11. One hundred forty two children aged 12-17 were placed in foster care, primarily due to abandonment and inadequate supervision. Substance misuse and family violence are the main reasons children from birth to five years old are removed from the home.
The Community Denim Project is just one of several locally recognized programs instituted by Families First of Palm Beach County. Other programs, including Healthy Families and Child First, are nationally recognized models. Healthy Families is a nationally accredited program that provides parent support and coaching for expectant parents and parents of newborns. Child First assists struggling families in building strong and nurturing parent-child relationships. The innovative technique takes a two-generation approach in working with parents and children in the family home. The Kin Support Project aids non-birth, non-traditional parents and guardians with a variety of resources, including social services and financial support. The program partners with the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc.
These and other support and education programs demonstrate the dedication of Families First of Palm Beach County to struggling families and the greater community. The safety of children also carries financial savings. For every child who remains safe within a loving home environment, the taxpayer saves $102,960 in potential costs of foster care, the criminal justice system, school failure, and dependence on public resources during adulthood. Of course, reducing the potential negative impact made upon the children themselves and the community at large is priceless.
For a quarter century Families First of Palm Beach County has worked diligently to prevent child abuse by providing family strengthening, health, housing, and behavioral health services for those struggling with family life and stability. The programs have resulted in many successes, including a 100 percent success rate for Healthy Families program recipients who remain free from abuse and neglect. The Community Denim Project on April 21st provides every member of the Palm Beach County community with the opportunity to protect our kids and make a difference in the lives of area families.
Learn how you can participate in Community Denim Project on April 21st during National Child Abuse Prevention Month.