Choose Your Partner Carefully. You child's life may depend on it!

Often times a parent's partner (typically the mother's boyfriend) is left to care for children that are not their own when they lack the parenting skills and patience necessary to provide care.

 In 21% of Nevada cases, parental substance abuse was cited as the primary reason for child welfare intervention. 40% of abused children in Nevada are 3 years or younger, which is higher than the national average of 32% in the same age group.

While neglect is the most common type of maltreatment across all age groups, types of maltreatment vary by age. In 2011, about 81 percent of substantiated child maltreatment reports for children ages 0–3 involved neglect, compared with 63 percent for adolescents ages 16–17. 21% of substantiated reports for adolescents ages 16–17 involved physical abuse and 17% involved sexual abuse. Among substantiated reports for children ages 0–3, some 14% involved physical abuse and 2% involved sexual abuse.

Fortunately, not all of these incidents end in a fatality - but in order to prevent the abuse and/or neglect of children, Prevent Child Abuse Nevada, in partnership with several other community agencies, have initiated the Choose Your Partner Carefully Campaign in the state of Nevada.  


How to Choose Your Partner / Person(s) Caring for Your Child

Choosing an appropriate caregiver, including a caregiving partner, is one of the most important decisions a parent can make. Just because someone is a lover, relative, or close friend does not mean they are capable of taking care of a child.

Questions to ask yourself:
How does he/she treat other women/men in his/her life? How does he/she treat other children (nieces, nephews, friends' children, etc.)?
Does he/she get angry when you spend time with your child?
Does he/she get angry or impatient when your child cries or has a tantrum?
Does he/she call your child bad names or put them down?
Does he/she think it's funny to scare your child?
Does he/she make all the decisions for you and your child?
Does he/she put you down or tell you that you're a bad parent or that you shouldn't have your kids?
Does he/she pretend when he/she hurts your child that you are to blame or that it's no big deal?
Does he/she tell you that our child is a nuisance or annoying?
Does he/she scare your child by using guns, knives, or other weapons?

If you answered yes to even one of these questions, your child could be at risk. Never leave your child with someone you don't trust to keep your child safe.

Warning Signs- Choose a person to care for your child that is NOT:

Angry or impatient when children have tantrums, cry, or misbehave.
Violent and/or controlling with his or her partner.
Abusing alcohol and drugs, including marijuana.
Using prescription medications that have bad side effects or make the person drowsy.
Untrustworthy for any reason.

Punishment or Abuse?

Could your partner be abusing your child and calling it, "punishment?" Learn to recognize the difference between punishment and abuse. It could save your child's life. Punishment runs the risk of being excessive if...

The child has a physical injury, such as bruising, broken skin, swelling, marks from an object such as an extension cord or hairbrush, a burn or a situation that requires medical attention.
The person administering the punishment means to instill fear rather than educate your child.
The person administering the punishment loses control.
The action is inappropriate for the child's age.
The action results from unreasonable demands or expectations for the child.

When Do I Know if I've Gone Too Far? Ask yourself how you feel about the punishment.
Do I feel good about this action?
Is there an important lesson to be taught?
Does the child know that the person giving the punishment loves him or her?
Is there mutual respect, or is there fear?
Are you or your partner behaving in a way you would like your child to behave?

Your child needs to know that you are in charge, but that you love and respect them. They should not fear you or your partner. Talk to your children and decide together on expectations and reasonable consequences for misbehavior.

Choose your partner carefully. Your child's life may depend on it.
Never leave your child with someone you don't trust to keep your child safe.

To Report Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect
Call: 1-800-992-5757, or
Report Online: Nevada Division of Child and Family Services