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What to do

Are you ready to be a superhero? Are you ready to make the world a better place for kids?

See if you can find the 7 ways to help. They're hidden in the cool images below!


Check out the 7 cool ways you can be a Superstar for Prevention. You might be surprised by what you learn.


  • Be kind to all kids. 

    When you are kind, you help others feel good. You feel good, too. How do you show kindness to other kids?
  • Treat your brothers and sisters with respect. 

    Everyone needs respect. When we treat people with respect, we show them they matter. How do you show respect to your brothers and sisters?
  • Learn about abuse and neglect. 

    Most kids do not get abused or neglected, but some kids do. To learn more, ask an adult you trust to help you learn.
  • Be a Super Hero for Prevention.

    As a Prevention Super Hero, you can help stop abuse in lots of ways. Some kids have a special event at school. Some kids make posters. Some kids have a lemonade stand for a group that helps kids. What ways can you think of?
  • If you do not feel safe or are being hurt…

    If you do not feel safe sometimes, tell an adult you trust. If you don’t get help, talk to another adult. Keep trying until you get help. You matter!
  • If someone you know is not safe or is being hurt…

    If a kid is not safe, tell an adult you trust. If you don’t find help, talk to another adult. Keep trying until you find help. Thank you for being a good friend to someone who is hurting!
  • Remember – your body belongs to you!

Be a star.
It's cool to be kind.
Treat your brothers and sisters with respect.
Learn about abuse and neglect.
Stand up.
Speak your truth.
Always remember- your body belongs to you!
  • Be a star.

    There are tons of ways you can be a superstar for the prevention of child abuse. Organize a special event. Raise money for prevention. Be a positive role model. Speak out on behalf of people who’ve been abused. Talk with your friends, teachers, and community members. See what you all can do together to spread the word.
  • It's cool to be kind. 

    Everybody has struggles. Everybody has problems. Why make it worse for someone else? One act of kindness can change the world – especially for the person who needs it.

  • Treat your brothers and sisters with respect. 

    Believe it or not, abuse of siblings is all too common – hitting, making fun, hurting feelings. Everyone needs respect. Especially our family members.
  • Learn about abuse and neglect. 

    Most young people do not get abused or neglected, but too many do. To learn more, surf this site. Share it with your friends, so they can be informed too.
  • Stand up.

    If someone is unsafe, tell an adult you trust. If you don’t find help, talk to another adult. Keep trying until you find help. You can also make a child abuse report yourself. Your help could save a life.
  • Speak your truth.

    If you’re afraid, hurt, or unsafe, tell an adult you trust. If you don’t get help, talk to another adult. Keep trying until you get help. Your safety and well-being matter. So does your life.

  • Always remember – your body belongs to you.

    Nobody has a right to hurt you or touch you in a way you don’t like. Nobody.

0% Child Abuse

What if we could reduce child abuse and neglect by 100%? What if every child could wake up nurtured and safe? What if the solutions were in our hands?

They are.

The goal of 0% child abuse is reachable, and these four solutions are doable now:

Personal Commitment
Access to Services
Caring Communities
Public Policies

Caring Communities

Any community can be a caring community – from neighborhoods, to schools, to families and other groups. At the heart of prevention, caring communities reduce family isolation, which is a major factor in childhood abuse and neglect. They reach out with compassion to stressed families and children, decreasing the negative effects of stress and helping neighbors connect to crucial support services.

Personal Commitment

A personal commitment to prevention involves putting the well-being of children – our children and all children – at the forefront of every decision. Individuals have a powerful capacity to mentor, support, and advocate for children in life-giving ways. At the same time, private decisions – in work, social, or personal life – can have unintended consequences that are damaging to children’s well-being. Setting our personal intention on prevention can increase our capacity to support children and their families in tangible ways.

Access to Services

Every North Dakota family needs full access to crucial services, including mental health support, treatment programs, parenting classes, and other supports. Increased stress in the family is a major predictor of childhood abuse and neglect, and support services play a central role in reducing these stressors and their effects. Because childhood abuse and neglect can be transmitted across generations, crucial services are also needed to interrupt the cycle, reduce the effects of trauma, and promote healing. Such services make a difference for families today and into the future, fostering resilience in families across generations.

Public Policies

In the form of laws, ordinances, and standards, public policies at all levels can help families and children live up to their full potential. Like a well-made quilt, good public policies help connect individual and community efforts to a broader fabric. These policies enhance the larger systems that not only prevent child abuse and increase protective factors, but create conditions in which every family can thrive.

Adverse Childhood Experiences

"Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have profound effects on the lifelong health of adults," says the North Dakota Department of Health. ACEs include socioeconomic hardship, living with a person who has a drug or alcohol problem, witnessing domestic violence, and other challenges.

A recent National Survey of Children’s Health provides data on nine ACEs among U.S. children. According to the survey, nearly half of North Dakota children age 0 through 17 have experienced one or more ACEs. This translates into an estimated 65,000 children in North Dakota. In addition, 1 of every 5 North Dakota children has experienced two or more ACEs. More information is available through the Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health.

How We Survive

"Today I live." – Lenny

"She was always with me during those times." – Lynn

"The only way from here to here is through it." – Troy

"Figuring out how to help others survive is part of being a survivor." – Rhonda

"I can’t stress it enough. Please do not give up." – Michaela

This short film, featuring the hope-filled voices of survivors of childhood abuse, is ideal for classroom, workshop, therapeutic, and personal viewing. Vetted by diverse audiences across North Dakota, it is available now for free download. When you watch or share, let us know how it goes. Contact Karen Van Fossan (film director) or Ronya Hoblit (assistant director) to help the healing.

Read the illustrated book, "Authentic Voices: How We Survive," written by North Dakota authors, now.

Tips for Parents & Caregivers

When it comes to raising children, it seems everyone has an opinion. How do parents and caregivers find our way through all the advice?

Here are some of our favorite tips:


Help reduce family stress.

"I need a vacation from my life!" Sound familiar?

If your family is like most, you’re no stranger to stress. About 3 in 4 parents say family responsibilities are a significant stressor. Kids feel it, too. Only 3 in 20 teens say they are not bothered by parental stress. What to do? Practice "HEARTS."

Heat – reduce it: If tension is high, let it go until later.
Exchange: Listen without interrupting; practice respect; be sure to talk when things are OK, too.
Acknowledge: We can address stressors we know we have.
Reflect: Ask what stress responses, healthy or otherwise, we’re teaching our kids.
Tend to ourselves: Take "mini-vacations" (deep breathing, a short walk), so we have more left for others.
Seek support: Find parenting resources at, by calling 211, or through Parent Resource Centers.

No doubt we love our kids, and they "heart" us. Sometimes, that loving bond itself reduces stress.

Written by Karen Van Fossan, MA, LAPC, communications director for Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota (PCAND), who can be reached at Ronya Hoblit, MIS, PCAND Intern, contributed to this article. Thanks to the APA Help Center for information. For more information on addressing family stress, peruse this site.


Practice positive discipline.

Probably nobody is 100% self-disciplined. But how do we help kids be as disciplined as they can be? Unfortunately, physical punishment can damage development. Instead, to teach self-discipline, we need practice and "PRACTICES" –

Practice what we preach; set an example for our kids.
Reward and encourage positive behavior.
Acknowledge our child’s emotions – and ours.
Consider common causes of misbehavior – hurt, fear, anger, loneliness, hunger, tiredness.
Talk about the misbehavior – privately, without shaming; remind kids of expectations.
Institute limits, like bedtime, and help kids understand them.
Call time-outs if needed; help kids get calm and praise them for calming down.
Express our unconditional love whenever possible.
Seek parenting support; visit, call 211, contact Parent Resource Centers, or get professional help.

Practice won’t make any of us perfect. (How boring perfection would be!) But PRACTICES help families develop habits of care – for each other and our not-so-perfect selves.

Written by Karen Van Fossan, MA, LAPC, communications director for Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota (PCAND), who can be reached at Thanks to Channing Bete and University of MN Extension for research on positive discipline. For more information on positive discipline, peruse PCAND’s website.


Develop an I CAN approach to family communication.

"These are the best days of your life!" Really? Being a kid or teen can be tough. Some say, so can parenting.

Much depends on our communication styles. Style 1 tends to be passive, ignoring our own feelings and needs. Style 2 tends to be aggressive, blaming with "You" statements. ("You’re lazy!") Style 3 combines these into passive-aggression, stuffing feelings that come out "sideways" in sarcasm and withholding attention. With style 4, assertiveness, we share feelings, needs, and expectations, also supporting others to assert theirs.

"Can I do it?" – "I CAN."

"I" statements: Speak from our own experience. ("I feel angry," rather than "You tick me off.")
Conflict: Recognize that conflict is natural, not a sign we’re bad people, kids, or parents.
Attention: Stop, listen, and pay attention when others speak.
Needs: Acknowledge our needs (for order, respect, etc.) to help us acknowledge others’.

With effective communication, these days together can be some of the best.

Written by Karen Van Fossan, MA, LAPC, communications director for Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota (PCAND, who can be reached at For more information on effective communication, peruse this site, call 211, or contact Parent Resource Centers.


Support kids to go from sibling rivalry to sibling cooperation.

"He Started It!"

We don’t need to know who started it ("Did not!") to reduce – or stop – sibling rivalry. As kids, many of us heard about "thinking caps." Let’s use these CAPS:

Causes: Children compete for predictable reasons – feeling unmet needs, establishing a separate identity from siblings, or imitating family/community approaches to conflict.
Action: We must intervene if kids use hurtful words or violence; we can separate them, then support them in finding solutions to disagreements. We can also set ground rules for handling disagreements.
Prevention: Teach kids to express feelings; show positive ways to get siblings’ attention; plan 1-on-1 and group activities. Don’t play favorites; don’t compare kids; don’t label (the brain, the athlete, etc.).
Support: If there’s sibling abuse, professional support is crucial. Sibling abuse has serious consequences, and there’s no shame in getting help to support our kids.

With effort, when we ask, "Who started cooperating?" – we may even hear, "We did!"

Written by Karen Van Fossan, MA, LAPC, communications director for Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota (PCAND), who can be reached at For more information on addressing family conflict, peruse this site, call 211, or contact Parent Resource Centers. Many thanks to University of Michigan Health System and Positive Promotions, Inc., for research.


Keep kids out of the middle during disagreement or divorce.

As stressful as times of disagreement or divorce can be for adults, they can be even more so for children and teens. These basic Do's and Don'ts can help make difficult times as manageable as possible.

  • Don't use kids as messengers.
  • Don't use the kids to get back at the other parent.
  • Don't attack or put down the other parent in front of the kids.
  • Don't ask kids to report about what is going on in the life of the other parent.
  • Do encourage kids to have a relationship with the other parent – if safe and appropriate.
  • Do remember how much your kids need your love and patience, especially during stressful times.
  • Do seek people (other than your children) who can support you during times of stress.

Adapted from "Keeping Your Children Out of the Crossfire," published by the North Dakota Alliance for Children's Justice. For more information on keeping kids out of the middle, peruse this site, call 211, or contact Parent Resource Centers.


Seek regular developmental screenings for young children.

Regular developmental screenings help young children learn, grow, and strengthen skills that build upon one another. They also help you learn what to expect at every age.

In a developmental screening, children get a quick and simple check of developmental milestones:

  • physical milestones like sitting up.
  • language milestones like learning to say "mama" or "dada."
  • social and emotional milestones like playing peek-a-boo and making friends.

It’s best to start screening early – from birth through age five. You can get specialized help if your children need extra support. As children reach various milestones, you can also celebrate together.

Adapted from "Screen Early," developed by ND KIDS, Child Care Aware, and PCAND. For more information on developmental screening, visit


Help prevent child abuse and neglect.

With the support they need, nearly all parents can help their children to learn, grow, and thrive. Here are the key factors that contribute to child abuse and neglect:

  • Stress in the family. You can help by working for compassionate changes in the systems that affect families.
  • Isolation from the community. You can help by connecting stressed families with the community.
  • Transmission of abuse and neglect across generations. You can help by supporting efforts that help survivors heal from abuse.

With community support, almost all parents can become the parents they hope to be. In turn, children can blossom into the people they’re born to be.

For more information on the prevention of child abuse and neglect, peruse this site. To report suspected child abuse/neglect, contact county social services. If a child seems to be in immediate danger, call 911 or local police.

Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect

If you're concerned that a child is being neglected or abused, it is critical that you make a report to the police or social services. Children who are experiencing abuse or neglect need support from trained adults. You can make an anonymous report through the North Dakota Child Protection Program website.

Zero to Three: Happy to Be

Parents and caregivers – we hope you find what you’re looking for here. Whether it’s tips on sleeping, feeding, developmental milestones, or many other topics, we have information for you! Visit again soon, as we update these tips often.