ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Rock Island, Ill. - The Army is committed to providing a wide range of programs and services for Soldiers, Department of the Army Civilians, and their Families. One of the important resources at U.S. Army Garrison - Rock Island Arsenal is our Garrison's Family Advocacy Program.

A key mission of FAP is to conduct an annual public awareness and community education campaign every April in connection with Child Abuse Prevention Month. The theme of this year's campaign is "Child Abuse Prevention Requires Safe Communities and Responsive Families." As manager of this installation it is my goal to provide a safe community that contributes to the quality of life and well being of everyone. We pride ourselves in fostering a culture of safety and personal responsibility. Child abuse in an Army Family marks the breakdown in our culture of safety. This is unacceptable. Resources are available for Army Families to help all our children and their parents, no matter how stressful their lives might be.

If an Army child is not safe from harm behind the doors of his or her own home, then our community is not a safe place to live. Children are the most vulnerable members of our community, and we demand safety for them.

The primary responsibility for child abuse prevention rests with the Family. Parenting, especially in times of high stress and operational intensity, makes a tough job even tougher. Army parents know that it is a sign of strength to ask for professional help to keep their children safe from harm. Connecting with the FAP, Military and Family Life Consultants (MFLCs), Chaplains, and other Family services can help Families deal with the challenges that may lead to abuse. It is up to the rest of us - including the military community services such as child care, youth programs, and health services - to give Army parents the help they need. We also need to be ready to recognize and report child abuse when suspected by contacting law enforcement or the Family Advocacy Program.

There is no excuse for leaving children in an unsafe home.

Do your part to make the Rock Island Arsenal safe for all children and supportive for all parents. Join the prevention team. Child safety is not only a Family responsibility but a community responsibility for all children. Get the help you need and ideas on how to help someone else. Learn how to identify abuse and how to report it. Contact the FAP at (309) 782-3049.