Creating New Partnerships to Prevent Child Abuse in Florida

A group of people pose for a picture. They are holding children's books.

**This op-ed by Dr. Amy Haile, Champions for Children Chief Executive Officer, appeared in the Herald-Tribune May 14, 2024

It’s important to recognize the uncomfortable truth that child abuse remains a critical issue in our communities. In the U.S., one in seven children will suffer from abuse or neglect, leading to lifelong negative outcomes.

Child abuse may stem from family crisis or stress, poor understanding of child development and parenting skills, or a caretaker’s history of substance abuse.

This underscores the importance of supporting and educating the entire family unit as we work to ensure healthy and safe environments for all children.

Florida’s children and family service providers are on the front lines working to meet the greatest needs facing our children, families, and communities by offering essential education and intervention resources to stop abuse before it begins.

As one of the only organizations in the state to focus exclusively on preventing abuse and neglect, Champions for Children is focused on giving parents the tools they need to provide a nurturing environment for their children. Our programs are focused on helping families build self-confidence, improve birth outcomes, support healthy social-emotional development, navigate challenges, and ensure children are developmentally on-track and ready to learn. This encompasses a wide array of services, ranging from educational playgroups and personalized home visits to developmental screenings for families with young children, prenatal and newborn care classes, evidence-based parent education tailored for individuals undergoing substance abuse treatment, and puppetry performances to educate elementary age children.

Our services are far-reaching, and our focus is to build stronger families for a better future in Tampa Bay.

To help further our mission, we have joined together with child and family service providers across the state in a new partnership called Partners for Florida’s Children & Families. Through this collective effort, we are working to help shape a better future for our state by advocating for solutions to empower Florida’s children and families, strengthen communities, and create generational change.

Nothing matters more to the future of our state than the safety, security, and hope of our children and families. We can all do our part to help build stronger families with thriving children during Child Abuse Prevention Month and beyond. Reach out to your local child and family service and support organization to volunteer your time, donate, help host a fundraiser, or see how you can help thank and recognize the amazing providers and educators who give so much of their heart in making a direct impact in our communities.

— Dr. Amy Haile, CEO, Champions for Children