Breaking the Cycle of Child Abuse

Healthy Families is a home visitation service for children and families, that begins before the child is born and until they are five years old. The successful outcomes the program has when it comes to preventing child abuse and maltreatment come from the Family Support Workers who perform the home visits, and the program’s focus on breaking the cycle of child abuse.

There are many myths when it comes to child abuse. Some of them include:

Myth: It’s only abuse if it’s violent.

Fact: Physical abuse is just one type of child abuse. Neglect and emotional abuse can be just as damaging, and since they are more subtle, others are less likely to intervene.

Myth: Only bad people abuse their children.

Fact: While it’s easy to say that only “bad people” abuse their children, it’s not always so black and white. Not all abusers are intentionally harming their children. Many have been victims of abuse themselves, and don’t know any other way to parent. Others may be struggling with mental health issues or a substance abuse problem.

Myth: Child abuse doesn’t happen in “good” families.

Fact: Child abuse doesn’t only happen in poor families or bad neighborhoods. It crosses all racial, economic, and cultural lines. Sometimes, families who seem to have it all from the outside are hiding a different story behind closed doors.

Myth: Most child abusers are strangers.

Fact: While abuse by strangers does happen, most abusers are family members or others close to the family.

Abuse is often a multi generational process, and often times parents who abuse their children were born into a cycle of abuse themselves. Healthy Families is unique in its home visiting program that supports the parents, helps the parents bond with their child and work on developing secure attachment, while helping vulnerable families meet the needs of the whole family and child to make sure parents have the resources and support needed to break the cycle of abuse and be the best parent they can. This includes mental health therapies for mothers and children at the Florida Center, developmental therapies and early education. These intervention programs help lay the ground work for future successes.

For more information, or to support the Healthy Families Program, call 941-371-8820.

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