April is National Child Abuse Prevention month. The goal is to raise awareness in respect to preventing abuse, reducing the risk of abuse and promoting healthy families. The Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health sponsors the annual awareness campaign. The first Child Abuse Prevention week was recognized in 1982. It extended to an entire month of awareness the following year in 1983. The theme continues to be "Making Meaningful Connections" to promote familial and community relationships as a support system to reduce abuse. The national website at www.childwelfare.gov includes resources with practical tips for parents on preventing abuse. Topic areas include how to make healthy connections, how to feed your family, how to manage finances, and how to identify risk factors and protect against them.
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Information specific to Pennsylvania is available on at www.preventchildabusepa.org All 50 states have a chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America with Pennsylvania's chapter being chartered in 2010. If abuse is suspected a report should immediately be made to the local police department and the ChildLine hotline at 1-800-932-0313. A parent may also file a Protection from Abuse petition on behalf of a child. Once the complaint is filed, a temporary order may be entered immediately. A final hearing should occur within ten (10) days of the petition being filed where it must be proven abuse occurred. Three years is the maximum duration of a PFA Order.