What Communities Can Do To Keep Kids Safe

  • Take the first step.  If you don’t know the names of the families who live around you, be bold and introduce yourself. Then write down their names to help you remember.
  • Welcome newcomers.  Whenever someone moves into your neighborhood, take the time to welcome them and get to know something about their family, their interests, and their pets (always a good connecting point!). You’ll likely discover shared interests that could be the foundation for a good relationship.
  • Plan neighborhood celebrations and get-togethers.  Give people time to get to know each other informally. Be sure to offer name tags to help people learn or remember names.
  • Celebrate with families. When you learn there’s an upcoming birthday, graduation, promotion at work, or other milestone, take a minute to offer congratulations or to send a note. If you know the family well, you may also be able to help with the celebration.
  • Ask for a little help from time to time.  Invite neighborhood children to give you a hand with an outdoor project and thank them for being a good neighbor. Sometimes asking young people to help reminds them that they are an important part of the neighborhood. In addition, it increases the chances that a neighborhood family will ask you for help sometime when they need it. This practice can go a long way in creating a supportive neighborhood culture.
  • Keep an eye out for neighborhood children. Let parents know when their kids do something positive or fun. “I heard your son playing drums yesterday.  He’s really getting good.” If you have concerns or questions, raise them with care – not in an accusatory way, but as a supporter. Knowing that neighbors are keeping an eye out for your family is an important community support for families.
  • If you’re a parent and your child spends time with a neighbor, get to know the neighbor yourself.  Thank them for being hospitable and supportive. You may also find that it’s fun to barbecue, or to take walks together as a way of cementing positive, mutual relationships.
  • Invite families to participate with you. If you learn that a family is not well-connected to the opportunities in the community, invite them (without badgering them) to come with you to places that are important to you. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to go into a new place where you don’t know anyone; you could make it easier. Perhaps they could be your guest at a special event in your faith community. Perhaps you can take them to your favorite coffee shop for a treat. Or maybe they can join you in a community education class or the community band practice.
  • Find connections with families. Once you discover these shared interests and passions, it will be easy to discover ways to spend time together, become friends and be supportive resources to each other.
  • Offer support when it’s appropriate. If you discover that a family is struggling or dealing with difficult challenges, find thoughtful ways to offer support and care. For example, if they are taking care of an aging parent, they might appreciate some help with mowing the lawn or raking leaves. Or perhaps they would enjoy a meal together as a respite from the routine – or maybe a bowl of their favorite fruit as a “care package.” Those kinds of expressions of care during tough times are remembered and valued.
  • Consider sponsoring the Front Porch Project® in your community. FPP is a community-based primary prevention initiative based on the belief that everyone can – and should – become more aware of how to help protect children and support families in their own community. It provides ordinary citizens with the knowledge, training and encouragement they need to become involved in preventing abuse and neglect before it occurs. Find out more about our community-based prevention program

2015 Resource Guide for Making Connections

Ways You Can Connect