Representatives from the Meadowlark House can come and provide your group more information on our work and how to protect the children in your life. Please contact us at 620-789-0396 or email us to schedule your presentation.
General Programming to Learn more about: the Meadowlark House, Mandated Reporting, Keeping Your Child Safe, and Programs Designed for Kids.
Darkness to Light (Stewards of Children)
The prevention program aimed at adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The responsibility to keep children safe is ours, as adults. This 2 hour program provides both a video as well as a facilitated conversation. Participants will learn the “5 Steps to Protecting our Children”
- Learn the Facts
- Minimize Opportunity
- Talk About It
- Recognize the Signs
- React Responsibly
Signs of Child Abuse
Unexplained injuries. Visible signs of physical abuse may include unexplained burns or bruises in the shape of objects. You may also hear unconvincing explanations of a child’s injuries.
Changes in behavior. Abuse can lead to many changes in a child’s behavior. Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive.
Returning to earlier behaviors. Abused children may display behaviors shown at earlier ages, such as thumb sucking, bed wetting, fear of the dark or strangers. For some children, even the loss of acquired language or memory problems may be an issue.
Fear of going home. Abused children may express apprehension or anxiety about leaving school or about going places with the person who is abusing them.
Changes in eating. The stress, fear and anxiety caused by abuse can lead to changes in a child’s eating behaviors, which may result in weight gain or weight loss.
Changes in sleeping. Abused children may have frequent nightmares or have difficulty falling asleep, and as a result may appear tired or fatigued.
Changes in school performance and attendance. Abused children may have difficulty concentrating in school or have excessive absences, sometimes due to adults trying to hide the children’s injuries from authorities.
Lack of personal care or hygiene. Abused and neglected children may appear uncared for. They may present consistently dirty and have severe body odor, or they may lack sufficient clothing for the weather.
Risk-taking behavior. Young people who are being abused may engage in high-risk activities such as using drugs or alcohol or carrying a weapon.
Inappropriate sexual behaviors. Children who have been sexually abused may exhibit overly sexualized behavior or use explicit sexual language.
How to support your child with things you should do…
- Love and support the child
- Listen to the child
- Believe the child, no matter how hard it may be
- Reassure your child that she/he was right to tell and it is not their fault
- Treat the child as normally as possible
- Protect the child from further abuse
- Take care of your own needs
- Write down questions for the investigator
Respect your child’s privacy. Do not discuss the abuse with other people in front of your child; do not tell everyone about the abuse.
Things you should not do…
- Do not ask your child questions about the abuse.
- Do not express ear, anger or anxiety in front of the child.
- Do not talk about the case with or in front of the child. Doing so can contaminate the interview or influence the child.
- Do not try to investigate the case yourself.
- Do not let your personal feelings about the perpetrator influence the child’s feelings.
- Do not blame, punish or embarrass the child.
How to Report Abuse
The prevention of child abuse starts with you! You may be a mandated reporter. Mandated reporters are those who work with children and include teachers, ministers, childcare workers, doctors, dentists, etc., but everyone is encouraged to report suspected abuse. You do not have to have “proof” that a child is in danger. All reports are confidential and you may remain anonymous. Your courage could save a life.
If the child is in immediate danger, please call 911. Police from your jurisdiction will respond immediately. You can also report 24 hours a day to the Kansas Department for Children and Families by calling 1-800-922-5330.