DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and local organizations are using this month to bring a draw attention to an issue impacting children in our community year-round. 

The Dayton YWCA is supporting this month’s message by sharing what to look out for and the help available.

“Awareness is just the beginning, and these starting or these awareness months are just the kick off point for agencies like ours to really do some good outreach,” YWCA Dayton Rape Crisis Center Manager Mady DeVivo said.

While YWCA Dayton does not serve children dealing with abuse or trauma from an abusive household directly, they see those children come through the shelters.

DeVivo said the signs may look different for each child.

“We might see a shift in their typical behavior that might look like a shift in their attendance or their perform in school, or even their enthusiasm in participating in school or in the classroom,” DeVivo said. “We might see a lack of personal care or personal hygiene towards dirty clothes or clothes that are not fit for the proper weather.”

In 2021, Montgomery County Children’s Services investigated 4,701 cases of child abuse or neglect. That’s up from 4,595 in 2020.

DeVivo said if you recognize signs of abuse, take the time to learn about the resources available and report it. 

“Everyone knows a survivor of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, child abuse,” DeVivo said. “You may not realize it at first, but the statistics are so high that everybody has someone in their life that has experienced some sort of trauma. So just familiarizing yourself with your local city and county resource is going to be very beneficial.”

You can report suspected child abuse in Montgomery County by calling 224-KIDS. To learn more about how to report abuse or neglect, click here.

CARE House in Dayton offers several programs and services to children who are victims of suspected abuse. 

To learn more about the resources available through YWCA Dayton, click here.