BOONE — As we find ourselves adapting to our current situation amidst the COVID-19 crisis, it is more important than ever to find ways to connect with others.

This month the Children’s Council joins thousands of communities throughout North Carolina and the nation in recognizing April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, and we want to share some important messages and resources for families. During times of crisis, stress and uncertainty, child abuse and neglect cases increase. Unfortunately, they typically go unreported when children are not attending school or visiting their pediatrician on a regular basis.

As we all know, this is a highly stressful time, for some more so than others. Many businesses are closed indefinitely, people have lost their jobs, some are sick, and we don’t have the usual opportunities to get together with friends and family. In times like these we all need more connection and support than usual. It is critically important that children, as well as adults, maintain emotional connections with friends and family, even if it is virtually.

What can you do? Every one of us can be a connection for others. All it takes is reaching out to our neighbors or community members to check in on them, offer to bring them a meal or groceries if they can’t get out, have a phone conversation and let them vent, wave and smile at people when you are on the greenway or in the grocery store. We may all be a little more apprehensive these days, but we need to work extra hard at being kind and offering what assistance we can. We can all be a connection and we are all needed for this very purpose right now.

During this time we want our community to know that the Children’s Council is still here for you, though we may not be physically in our offices. All of our programs are preventative and most of our free programs are now being offered online or over the phone.

Diaper Bank: Our diaper bank is temporarily located at our partner agency, the Health & Hunger Coalition, for ease of access every Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We have diapers, wipes and infant formula for any Watauga County resident that needs these items.

Facebook/Instagram: We are posting helpful de-stressing techniques, community resources and activities for families on our page several times a day. You can find us on Instagram at @childrenscouncilwatauga and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thechildrenscouncil.

Triple P (Positive Parenting Practices): is available over the phone. We are here to help you with a range of challenges you may be having with your children (biting, potty training, sibling rivalry, and many more topics).

Circle of Parents: We offer three Zoom parenting groups that are a great support and also a lot of fun. Schedule: Tuesdays 6:30-7:30 p.m.; Wednesdays 10:30-11:30 a.m. Planet Mom (Bilingual Group) Tuesdays 12:30-1:30 p.m. Contact us to get the links.

Family Connects: Virtual home visits for new parents. Every parent needs support when bringing home a new baby. Spend one-on-one time with a health care professional from the comfort of your home.

If you are interested in more information about these programs, contact us at: robin@thechildrenscouncil.org or mary@thechildrenscouncil.org.

The Children’s Council of Watauga County is a local nonprofit that works to build a strong foundation for children’s learning and development by strengthening families, the early childhood system, and the wider community. We carry out this mission by administering Smart Start and NC pre-kindergarten funds to support programs to benefit children age 0-5 years and their families, convening community stakeholders to develop programs and services that support children and families, serving as a voice for the early childhood community and educating the community on the critical needs of young children and helps develop solutions.

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