Last year, more than 9,000 children in Utah suffered abuse and neglect. Of confirmed allegations involving a parent, 55% were related to some form of neglect.
To bring attention to the services available to help families in Utah, a new webpage, uw.org/211/family-strengtheningwas created through the collaboration of the Division of Child and Family Services, United Way, Utah 211, and Help Me Grow Utah.
“This webpage provides a variety of references to meet everything from basic needs to specialized information to support families,” said Sandra Carpio, Executive Director of Utah 211. “We are delighted to provide this as a resource for parents and caregivers in our community.”
The online resource is associated with the Utah Strengthening Families Toolkit, available at https://bit.ly/3umw46D – which provides a simple guide for overwhelmed parents and community efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect.
Structured according to the framework of protective factors, the page aims to help families through difficult situations. It identifies five key strengths which include concrete supports, children’s social and emotional competence, parental resilience, knowledge of parenting and child development, and social connections.
“When we truly care about the safety and well-being of children, we must also care about the safety and well-being of the adults in those children’s lives,” said DCFS Director Diane Moore. “That’s why I love the focus on strengthening families in April. When parents thrive in our communities and have what they need to live healthy, productive and economically stable, child safety is almost always ensured simultaneously.We want to do more in Utah than just prevent abuse and neglect.
People who feel they need help can call Utah 211 directly for help locating services in their community or visit the website. Services available include family support centers, support groups, treatment for mental health or addictions, parent education classes, and help with housing, finances, and employment.
“We want to step away from that crisis line by supporting each other as communities and neighbors to ensure that every family has the resources and support they need to truly succeed,” Moore said. “That’s the Utah way. Every child and every individual matters.