April is Child Abuse & Neglect Awareness Month

April is National Child Abuse & Neglect Awareness Month. This month and throughout the year, Beaufort County First Steps encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Beaufort County a better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help prevent child abuse and neglect by creating strong and thriving children, youth, and families in our communities. 

Research shows that protective factors are present in healthy families. Protective factors are conditions or attributes of individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that mitigate risk and promote healthy development and wellbeing. 

Promoting the following protective factors is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect:

-Nurturing and attachment
-Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
-Parental resilience
-Social connections
-Concrete supports for parents
-Social and emotional competence of children

April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children and strengthening families. Everyone’s participation is critical. Focusing on ways to connect with families is the best thing our community can do to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Get the 2020 Prevention Resource Guide at http://ow.ly/aV1N50z5qAU.

COVID-19’s Effect on Parents

COVID-19 is affecting parents and children in significant ways. Save the Children talked with more than 20 advocates who have been impacted by the coronavirus. Here is what a handful of them shared about the effects the virus has had on families across the United States.

The 2020 Census Starts Today! Let’s make sure every child is counted

The 2020 Census starts today! It’s more important than ever to have an accurate count of each person residing in the country. Important things are at stake. This count is used to disperse almost $1 trillion in federal funds across the country, along with determining the number of congressional seats for given areas. Businesses use this data to acquire new customers and target investments. The Census impacts
everyday things like highway planning, school lunches, support for firefighters, wildlife programs, and much more. 

During the last Census, it is estimated that 5% of children living in the U.S. were not counted. This means funds and resources were less than they should have been. Let’s make sure every child is counted. 

Go to http://my2020census.gov to get started! You should’ve received mail from the Census that provides a Census ID. However, if you don’t have one, you can still take it online. Select “Start Questionnaire” and “If you do not have a Census ID, click here.”

Remember the following:

  • A child should be counted as part of the household where they live and sleep most of the time, even if their parents do not live there.
  • If a newborn baby is still in the hospital on Census Day (April 1, 2020), that baby should be counted as part of the household where he or she will live and sleep most of the time. 
  • If a child spends time in more than one home, count them where they stay most often. If their time is evenly divided, or if you do not know where they stay most often, count them where they are staying on April 1, 2020 – even if it’s only temporary.

Message from our Executive Director about COVID-19

In an effort to do our part to promote social distancing to help slow the spread of COVID-19, we are following suit with South Carolina First Steps in directing our staff to begin telecommuting and working remotely from home effective Monday, March 23, 2020.  We will continue these measures for the near-future and will assess the necessity for continuation on a week-by-week basis.

This decision to move to telecommuting/working remotely was not taken lightly.  A memo from the SC Department of Administration issued Tuesday evening to agency heads indicated the following, “Using telecommuting to reduce the number of staff in offices to the extent possible is recommended as a tool to promote social distancing and slow the spread of COVID-19.”  This recommendation and the Governor’s statements on Tuesday in part has led to this decision.

As an office, we have created a new webpage that will provide you with resources on activities for young children, how to talk to young children about the coronavirus, the most up-to-date virus information, and more. Please check back and take advantage of these resources. Check out the new page here.

Sincerely,

Betty Washington, Executive Director
Beaufort County First Steps

2020 TEAM Lowcountry Conference Cancelled

Given the growing concern and potential threat the coronavirus (COVID-19) is posing around the community, we have made the decision to cancel the TEAM Lowcountry Conference scheduled for March 27-28, 2020.  Please refer to the SC Department of Health & Environmental Control (SCDHEC) for additional information specific to South Carolina.

Rescheduling:

Our hope is to reschedule at a later date in 2020, but with the uncertainty of when restrictions will be lifted, we’re not sure at this time when that might happen.  Please be on the lookout for an email in the future with rescheduling information. 

Refunds:

For those that have paid electronically, we will submit refund requests within the next several days. For those that have paid by check, we will need to process the refund manually in office, which may take up to 2 weeks.  

Our fist obligation is keeping us and our community safe. We appreciate your understanding and will reach out as soon as we’re able to with information about rescheduling the event. 

Thank you,

The TEAM Lowcountry Conference Planning Committee