Programs that support caregivers in providing safe, nurturing environments for children will gain $70,000 when Iowans file their taxes this year. In Appanoose County, these contributions help fund such services as the Appanoose County Family Alliance/Community Partnerships for Protecting Children, Parent Partners and Appanoose County NEST, which annually benefits more than 100 families.

The donations come from a line item on the state income tax return form that allows taxpayers to donate a portion of their refund or an additional amount on top of what they owe to child abuse prevention. Over six years, the Child Abuse Prevention Check Off has raised nearly $400,000 for child abuse prevention services, with donations increasing every year.

“Giving to the Child Abuse Prevention Check Off is a valuable way to support children in Appanoose County,” said Meho Clark, coordinator for Appanoose County NEST and treasurer for Appanoose County Family Alliance. “The NEST Program strengthens families by providing education, support and incentives that help parents learn the skills they need to have a positive impact on their child’s life. The Family Alliance coordinates the Healthy Kids Fair, hosts the annual Child Abuse Prevention Month “Blue Out Day,” supports such programs as Happy Bear for the local school systems and collaborates with many other community providers to bring awareness to and reduce child abuse. As a result, the children in our community are more likely to grow up in the safe, nurturing environments they need to reach their full potential.”

The Iowa Child Abuse Prevention Program, which receives the check off funds, served 13,000 adults and 45,000 children across the state last year. ICAPP works with services that help caregivers manage stress, strengthen connections, learn parenting skills and access resources. Research shows that building these “protective factors” in families reduces the likelihood that child abuse or neglect will occur.

“The more we can do to support caregivers now, the more likely children in our state will grow up to become healthier, more productive citizens, as well as better parents for their children,” said Steve Scott, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Iowa. “The Child Abuse Prevention Check Off ensures we can provide services to more families who can benefit.”

To donate to child abuse prevention, taxpayers should look for line 55d on Iowa Tax Form 1040. An online tax program, such as Turbo Tax, asks whether to make a contribution after the filer has reviewed the tax form and is ready to submit.

To learn more about the Child Abuse Prevention Check Off, go to www.checkoffchildabuseiowa.org.

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