Compass Health Network


National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is recognized as National Child Abuse Prevention Month (NCAPM), or “CAP Month,” a time when the importance of communities working together to support and strengthen families is highlighted to prevent child maltreatment. This observance underscores the critical role communities play in fostering a safe and nurturing environment for children and families. During NCAPM, efforts are made to increase awareness about the importance of child and family wellbeing and to implement effective strategies that support families and prevent child abuse and neglect ( The significance of this month resides in drawing attention to the ongoing need for education and resources to combat child abuse, which has been shown to have enduring negative impacts on children’s development and wellbeing.

Awareness of the signs of child abuse and maltreatment are crucial for early intervention and prevention. Recognized indicators of child physical abuse can include unexplained or frequently appearing injuries, behavioral changes or changes in school performance, passiveness or withdrawal from friends or family, fear of going home or fear of parents. Some indicators of child sexual abuse can include symptoms of sexually transmitted infections, injuries to the genitals, difficulty and/or pain when sitting and walking, sexually suggestive, inappropriate or promiscuous behavior or verbalization, expressing age-inappropriate knowledge of sexual relations, or the sexualization of other children. Common indicators of child maltreatment can include obvious malnourishment, listlessness or fatigue, stealing or begging for food, lack of personal care—poor personal hygiene, torn/dirty clothes, untreated need for glasses, dental or other medical care, frequent absence from or tardiness to school, and children left unattended or without supervision (

Recognition of these signs can lead to timely support and protection for the at-risk child. Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs), through the utilization of a multidisciplinary teams (MDT) approach, play a pivotal role in this effort by bringing together professionals involved in child protective and victim advocacy services, law enforcement and prosecution, and physical and mental health to ensure a coordinated, comprehensive approach to each case ( CACs also provide essential direct services such as forensic interviews, victim advocacy, therapy, Sexual Assault Forensic Exams (SAFEs), courtroom preparation, case management, and other services, with the ultimate goal of supporting children and families in their journey toward healing and restoration, allowing them the opportunity to thrive after abuse (

The Children’s Advocacy Center of East Central Missouri (CACECM), A Division of Compass Health Network, celebrates and promotes National Child Abuse Prevention Month through the sales of our annual Prevention t-shirts, by planting Pinwheel Gardens at the courthouses in our primary counties—Jefferson, Franklin, and St. Francois, and we cap the month off with our Annual Be A Voice Gala, which will take place at the Historic John B. Busch Brewery in Washington, Missouri on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

You can join us for the Gala by going to Here, you can buy tickets for the event, you can look at sponsorship opportunities if you are not able to join us in person, or you can sign up to donate raffle items or items for the CAC. Any amount of support helps our children and families in need