Parenting classes hope to end cycle of child abuse - 8 News NOW

Parenting classes hope to end cycle of child abuse

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LAS VEGAS -- Sometimes, the most dangerous person to a child can be their own parents. Several high profile cases of alleged abuse and neglect have come to light just in the last month.

One, where police say a mother, Christine Allen, drowned her 3-year-old son in a bathtub.

Last week, two adoptive parents and their adult daughter were charged with numerous counts of child abuse, neglect and sexual assault.

The cases leave people asking how parents could hurt their own children. In many cases of abuse and neglect, experts say the parents were abused themselves.

Many have no idea how to keep their own kids safe, but one group of advocates say in some cases abuse can be prevented.

They are helping one parent at a time at East Valley Family Services. Single dad Bryan, who did not want to give his last name, is doing anything he can to get his little girl back.

"It is not about me anymore. It is about my daughter," Bryan said.

Protective services took her away, and now Bryan can understand why.

"Not having a job, not having a stable place to put her," he said.

When she was born, Bryan says he simply wasn't prepared to be a good dad, but now, he is ready.

Bryan now heads to parenting classes every week, where he, along with other moms and dads, learn how to listen and talk to their kids. Plus, what it takes to make children safe.

Most of these parents are required to be here by the courts. Educator Leah Guevara says at first, they push back.

"They feel fingers are being pointed at them and that is certainly not the case when they come to class." Guevara with East Valley Family Services said.

After eight weeks of learning, parents are held accountable.

"This class is there to have a support system, because when they leave class, there is no excuse for them to say, 'we don't have anybody anymore.'" Guevara said.

Guevera feels this will help keep Las Vegas kids out of the foster system and hopefully prevent cycles of abuse.

"A lot of those parents did not have good parenting themselves. So they're dealing with learned patterns," Guevara said.

Now, many parents say they keep coming back to class by choice. Bryan is one of them.

"It is a time to step up and change," Bryan said.

He gets his daughter back in three months. Bryan says he will return here not just for the lessons, but for the support offered by everyone in the room.

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