We all can do small things every day that help children have healthy, safe lives. Anything you do to support kids and parents can help reduce the stress that often leads to abuse and neglect.
As a member of the COMMUNITY
- Be a friend to a parent you know. Ask how their children are doing. Draw on your own experiences to provide reassurance and support. If a parent seems to be struggling, offer to baby-sit or run errands, or just lend a friendly ear. Show you understand.
- Be a friend to a child you know. Remember their names. Smile when you talk with them. Ask them about their day at school. Send them a card in the mail. Show you care.
- Talk to your neighbors about looking out for one another’s children. Encourage a supportive spirit among parents in your apartment building or on your block. Show that you are involved.
- There is a great need for families willing to open their homes to kids in crisis. Become a foster parent – For more information contact the Kern County Department of Human Services at 661-631-6204, or visit www.co.kern.ca.us or www.learn2foster.org. Also visit the Heart Gallery to learn more about getting involved with foster youth.
- Become a CASA of Kern advocate to provide support services to children involved in court cases.
- Join faith-based efforts in our community such as Operation Soul Winner
- If a family you know seems to be in crisis or under stress, offer to help. For example, you could offer to baby-sit and help with chores and errands
- Connect a family to 211, a free 24 hour referral service that links families to health and support services by calling 2-1-1
- Give your used clothing, furniture and toys for use by another family. This can help relieve the stress of financial burdens that parents sometimes take out on their kids.
- Make a difference in a few hours in your community by volunteering at or donating needed items to local programs and agencies serving Kern County families
- Cradle and rock newborns in neonatal hospital units:
- Bakersfield Memorial Hospital 364 Bakersfield – 661-327-4647
- Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield 271 Bakersfield – 661-632-5000
- San Joaquin Community Hospital 178 Bakersfield – 661-395-3000
- Kern Literacy Program, offers free literacy instruction for all Kern County residents and their families. Volunteer to become a tutor to teach individuals to read, write and speak the English language and by enabling them to become more productive members of our community.
- The Dream Center, an one-stop center for current and emanicipated foster youth transitioning to adult life. Items needed clothing, hygiene items and canned food.
- Garden Pathways, offers mentoring, training, and education in the arts and the art of living. Garden Pathways trains and provides adult mentors for youth and offers core and ongoing training and support to equip volunteers for other non-profits.
- Junior Achievement, a non profit organization that brings the real world to students through hands-on curriculum delivered by a trained classroom. Volunteers are needed to help prepare young people for the real world by showing them how to generate wealth and effectively manage it, how to create jobs which make their communities more robust, and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace.
- Become a community advocate by learning about issues facing families with the Kern County Report Card and help make change by attending a local collaborative meeting in your community
- Attend free community agency sponsored trainings
- Build community leadership skills by enrolling Kern County Network for Children’s annual Leadership Development training
- Remember, if you think a child is being abused, report it. Reporting abuse can help protect the child and get the family help. Report abuse and neglect by calling 661-631-6011 (Countywide) or 760-375-6049 (Ridgecrest).
As a PARENT
- Establish a regular, everyday routine for your children; they function better when they know what to expect
- Develop a support system that you can rely on for help when needed
- You don’t have to “do it all.” Accept offers of help from friends, family or neighbors. And don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help if you need it.
- Look for ways to reduce stress in your life, and develop a list of ways to cope with stress that cannot be avoided.
- Make sure your child knows you love him or her, even when he or she did something wrong.
- Encourage your child instead of criticizing. Praise his or her achievements and talents.
- Spend time with your kids. Do things together that you both enjoy.
- Be fair and consistent in discipline.
- Show affection to your children.
- Teach children to respect others.
- Contact WarmLine at 323-3531 or 1-888-955-9099 (toll-free) for parenting help by phone, Monday – Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call 2-1-1 to link you and your family to local community health and human services and support 24 hours a day.
As a member of the MEDIA
- Don’t just focus on the negative
- Americans know child abuse is a societal problem, but feel helpless to do anything about it
- Offer solutions for families in need: WarmLine; Haven Counseling; Family Resource Centers; Clinica Sierra Vista; Food Bank and Community Action Partnership of Kern County
- Look for positive stories
- Programs that are working (e.g. Differential Response)
- Volunteers who are making a difference
- Successful foster care parents and reunification
TOGETHER, we can help keep children safe and build strong families in Kern County!