Prevention the Key to Eliminating Child Abuse and Neglect

Richmond, Virginia (March 12, 2008) – The best way to end child abuse is to prevent it before it starts. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Richmond-based nonprofit Family Lifeline is offering tips to identify the warning signs.

Family Lifeline is one of the largest and oldest community-based nonprofits in Central Virginia. The organization provides a variety of services designed to strengthen families in our community.

One of the services from Family Lifeline is Healthy Families, a program that identifies young mothers who are at risk of abuse and neglect. Healthy Families provides a support system for women who may not have one due to being estranged from their family or not having family or friends nearby. The program educates them on how to take care of their child, by teaching about nutrition, health, and how to help their child prepare for school. It also helps the mothers improve themselves, by assisting them with finding safe housing and getting their G.E.D. Participants graduate from the program when their child begins attending kindergarten.

“Healthy Families has a wonderful track record of success, with 99% of the participating families remaining free of abuse and neglect,” said Family Lifeline President Reed Henderson. “This program has proven that child abuse is preventable.”

Henderson says there are a number of warning signs that a family may be on a path to child abuse or neglect. Some, but not all, of those signs include:

  • Limited financial security
  • Lack of education
  • Limited support from extended family or friends
  • Having several children close together in age
  • A history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • One or more parents exhibiting signs of hopelessness or depression

If you suspect a child is in immediate danger of being abused or neglected, call 911. You can also call your local Department of Social Services or the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-552-7096. Virginia offers a free Information and Referral line (211 or 275-2000) for further resources for families experiencing the warning signs of child abuse or neglect as well as those in need of any community resource.

Family Lifeline is available to talk with the media about child abuse prevention and the warning signs of abuse or neglect. Please call the contact at the top of this release to schedule an interview.

About Family Lifeline
Changing futures for families in the Richmond area since 1877, Family Lifeline is one of city’s oldest and largest private community-based organizations. Family Lifeline’s mission is to strengthen families where they live, work, and learn. For more information, visit or call 804-282-4255.