TULSA, Okla. — The Parent Child Center of Tulsa, among other agencies in the metro area, is working to prevent child abuse, during the pandemic.
Child welfare specialists say the issue is especially important right now when children might be more vulnerable to abuse.
"Being a parent is a very very hard job. It’s the most difficult job that there is, and I feel like a lot of parents feel they can’t make mistakes or they can’t do things that are not perfect," says Deanna Carrasco, a licensed professional counselor and bilingual therapist at the center.
Being stuck at home during social distancing times can lead to emotions of anxiety, depression and anger. Health professionals say if you're feeling more stressed than usual, take a moment for yourself and your mental health.
"You come first before the children because if you can’t take care of yourself, then you’re not able to take care of your children," explains Carrasco.
As a counselor for more than seven years at the Parent Child Center of Tulsa, Carrasco has seen many cases of child abuse. She mainly works with Hispanic families in their homes to provide individual family therapy.
A lot of the times, she says cultural differences may lead to harmful behavior.
"They kind of minimize a lot of the hitting because the hitting is normalized for so long in their families, their grandpa and grandma did it, their moms and dads did it," says Carrasco.
Knowing Spanish and English is a big plus in her line of work in order to connect with the family and offer the best services they may need.
One of the prevention tools is educational videos online the family can find to relieve stress. Others are tangible devices they can use during therapy sessions such as stress balls and bubbles.
"There's nothing like bubbles, and bubbles are always the best because you can carry them everywhere," says Carrasco.
Because of COVID-19, the center's sessions have gone virtual, which she says is an added challenge.
Despite the new changes in helping families, the center's goal remains the same: "that every parent have the knowledge and skills to protect, nurture and provide for their own child."
If you would like to know more information about the services it offers, visit its website here.
This is our third child abuse story in a series that ran every Thursday night on air on 2 Works for You during the month of May.
This was a joint partnership with local nonprofits in the Tulsa metro area for the "Look Out, Reach Out" campaign.
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