During October, which is Child Abuse Prevention Month in Ontario, we offer an important reminder from our colleagues at the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies.
The saying "it takes a village to raise a child" is never more true than when we talk about protecting children. Keeping the most vulnerable members of our community safe is the responsibility of everyone. If you have any reason to believe that a child is in need of protection or is at risk of harm, make the call to Children's Aid.
Talking about child abuse is hard. But not as hard as seeing or suspecting that a child is being abused. If you have reasonable grounds to suspect a child is in need of help, you need to make the call. It isn't up to you to prove or investigate the abuse but it is up to you to reach out and help protect the child.
It is a basic human right to be free of harm and this especially applies to children. It is our job as adults to step up and protect all of the children in our community.
In Hamilton, call Catholic Children's Aid Society of Hamilton at (905) 525-2012, or Children's Aid Society of Hamilton at (905) 522-1121, or after hours in an emergency call (905) 522-8053. In other Ontario locations, visit www.oacas.org/childwelfare/locate.htm to find your local agency. You can report a concern anonymously, and if you do choose to provide your name it will not be released to the family involved. By making a report you are allowing the appropriate authorities to determine the risk in each situation and the kind of support and service needed to keep children safe.
THRIVE Child and Youth Trauma Services, previously the Community Child Abuse Council, has been strengthening children, youth, and families since 1976 through the provision of child abuse prevention, education, and specialized clinical treatment programs. We also provide a voice for our community's youngest members, working to make sure their needs are addressed and their experiences reflected in Hamilton's response to child maltreatment. Community engagement is a vital part of our work, and we're continually seeking new and effective ways to start conversations about what it will take for our community to help children thrive.