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April 2014: National Child Abuse Prevention Month

In recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, this month’s MECP newsletter sheds light on the innovative research, new strategic initiatives, and other resources all aimed at combating child abuse and maltreatment.

Our first article, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, highlights the Child Welfare Information Gateway’s recent publication, 2014 Prevention Resource Guide: Making Meaningful Connections, and describes additional resources to assist practitioners in their prevention efforts. Our second article, contributed by Joy Rauls, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas, describes a public awareness campaign, One With Courage, which encourages victims of child sexual abuse to communicate openly about their experiences in order to prevent future abuse. Our final article, by Cori Streetman, public relations consultant for the National Children’s Alliance, discusses Stand Up, Step Forward, a new national campaign that encourages victims and adults to incorporate social media in the fight against child abuse.

This month’s MECP webinar, entitled Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers: A Web-Based Positive Parenting Resource to Prevent Child Maltreatment, features two guest speakers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Violence Prevention. Behavioral scientist Beverly Fortson and health scientist Colby Lokey discuss the Essentials for Childhood framework and Web-based parenting programs that focus on preventing child maltreatment through positive parenting techniques.

Finally, we commend the many practitioners across the Nation who, through their collective focus on best-practice approaches and techniques, do so much to help prevent abuse and promote the well-being of children and their families. We at MECP pledge to continue to provide information about the most promising programs and resources in the field to assist them in their prevention efforts.

3rd Wednesday at 2 p.m. Webinar Series: Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers: A Web-Based Positive Parenting Resource to Prevent Child Maltreatment

Behavioral scientist Beverly Fortson and health scientist Colby Lokey, both of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Violence Prevention, present a CDC-branded universal parenting program that uses Web-based technology to prevent child maltreatment and promote widespread use of positive parenting behaviors. The CDC’s Essentials for Childhood framework—which highlights how communities can promote the types of relationships and environments that help children grow up to be healthy and productive citizens so that they can build stronger and safer families and communities for their children—is also discussed.

To view the recording of this webinar, please click here.

Making Meaningful Connections With Children and Families

Children’s Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect. During this month, and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to share child abuse and neglect prevention awareness strategies and activities and promote prevention across the country.

The Children’s Bureau Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) is hosting its 19th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect in New Orleans from April 30 to May 2. This biennial event provides an opportunity to check the progress we have made toward our shared goal of achieving safety, permanency, and well-being for all children. This year also marks 40 years of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), which centralized and expanded Federal efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. This year’s theme, Making Meaningful Connections, symbolizes our continued focus on preventing child maltreatment and promoting the well-being of children.

To assist in the promotion of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children’s Bureau, offers a host of resources for professionals, advocates, service providers, and families, including the 2014 Prevention Resource Guide: Making Meaningful Connections, a collaborative project of the Center for the Study of Social Policy, Children’s Bureau, Child Welfare Information Gateway, FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention, and OCAN.

The resource guide offers multiple strategies for supporting service providers and communities in their efforts to prevent child abuse and promote well-being. The guide focuses on protective factors that strengthen the family and encourage optimal child and youth development. Agencies, policymakers, advocates, service providers, and parents alike will find resources in the book to help them implement these important elements in their communities and families.

In addition to the resource guide, OCAN’s Web site provides:

  • Current publications, research, statistics, and connections to the latest resources.
  • Tip sheets for parents and caregivers that address particular parenting questions and concerns (available in English and Spanish).
  • Three calendars with activities relating to the six protective factors (available in English and Spanish).
  • A video gallery highlighting child abuse prevention programs.
  • A media toolkit.
  • Widgets to post on your Web site.

This year, Child Welfare Information Gateway added a timeline to its Web site that tracks child abuse prevention and CAPTA’s historical journey.

Visit the National Child Abuse Prevention Month Web site to learn more. If you have any questions, please email Rosie Gomez at [email protected].

Are You One With Courage? I Am

Joy Rauls, CACTX Executive Director

Courage is a word we typically associate with soldiers, firefighters, policemen and women, and others fighting on the frontlines to keep all of us safe from harm.

However, courage can also be ascribed to those who push fear, stigma, and discomfort aside to discuss things that society keeps secret and in the shadows because it’s uncomfortable to talk about. These individuals are courageous because their actions—combating secrecy by communicating openly—protect us from harm, particularly the most vulnerable among us.

Child sexual abuse is a crime of secrecy which, tragically, breeds within our society because it is difficult to talk about. Talking openly about this issue combats the secrecy that enables it and helps to eradicate child sexual abuse from our communities. That’s why the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas (CACTX), the Nation’s largest State membership association of Children’s Advocacy Centers, launched the One With Courage campaign statewide in 2010. Since then, the campaign has won the 2011 National Children’s Alliance Public Awareness Contest and seen a nationwide rollout, made possible through a collaboration with the Department of Justice; National Children’s Alliance, the Nation’s association of and accrediting body for Children’s Advocacy Centers; the Texas Office of the Attorney General; and countless private supporters.

One With Courage is a public awareness campaign centered on the courage it takes to talk about child sexual abuse—the courage it takes child victims to come forward and talk about their abuse and the courage it takes adults to talk about the issue, learn the signs, and report abuse when it’s suspected.

Why One With Courage? Because it takes tremendous courage for young victims to come forward and talk about the abuse they’ve suffered. It takes courage for adults to recognize the signs of abuse and report suspected abuse. It will take courage for all of us to engage in an open dialogue about child sexual abuse.

The One With Courage campaign aims to educate the public about the signs of sexual abuse, dispel generally accepted myths about the issue, and provide communities with specific steps they can take to make a difference in a child’s life.

Most importantly, the campaign aims to inspire the courage required to take action against child sexual abuse, whether it be starting a dialogue about the issue, equipping ourselves with knowledge so we can recognize the signs of abuse, or volunteering at a local Children’s Advocacy Center. Visit the One With Courage Web site to learn how you can join the fight.

Although great strides have been made, secrecy remains a child abuser’s best friend. Too many children still fall victim to sexual abuse—and too many adults still miss the signs or avoid speaking openly about the issue. Together, we can combat child sexual abuse—and the secrecy that enables it—by ensuring that our communities are prepared and empowered to combat this horrific crime.

The Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas believes that child sexual abuse can be eliminated from our society through informed, empowered communities. The One With Courage campaign is a powerful step forward in that fight. I’m One With Courage. Are you?

National Children’s Alliance Launches Stand Up, Step Forward National Public Awareness Campaign

Cori Streetman, National Children’s Alliance, Public Relations Consultant

April 2014 marks the official launch of Stand Up, Step Forward, a national public awareness campaign that harnesses the power of social media to inspire individuals to take a stand against child abuse. Created by the National Children’s Alliance and integrated into local communities by more than 775 Children’s Advocacy Centers nationwide and other organizations in the National Children’s Alliance network, Stand Up, Step Forward inspires victims of child abuse to find the courage to disclose their abuse, and adults to find the courage to take action and report abuse when suspected.

As the national association and accrediting body for Children’s Advocacy Centers across the country, National Children’s Alliance recognizes the importance of not only promoting best practices when it comes to the intervention of child abuse, but also of providing resources to support the prevention of it in the first place. By asking the public to take a pledge to support child abuse victims and prevent abuse, we hope that a stronger movement will arise and we can protect more children. This campaign recognizes that every person, from every walk of life, can take positive action to prevent abuse and protect children.

Stand Up, Step Forward is a social media campaign where individuals can visit here and take a pledge in the form of a public commitment and then share their pledge via Facebook and Twitter, helping to spread the word on a wider scale. Individuals are also asked to visit the Stand Up, Step Forward Web site and record a brief video that will be added to the growing library of public commitments from individuals around the country that constantly rotate through the site. The video can also be shared with one’s online network. These videos serve as a visual reminder that no matter where you live, how old you are, what job you do or organization you volunteer for, everyone has a role to play in child abuse prevention and intervention.

This multifaceted effort has only just launched and is quickly gaining momentum as individual’s nationwide sign on and take the pledge to end child abuse. Spring is an especially auspicious time of year for this campaign to launch as April has been recognized as National Child Abuse Prevention Month since 1982. It is the hope of National Children’s Alliance, and so many other like-minded organizations, that we can join forces through campaigns like Stand Up, Step Forward and other local efforts, not only during the month of April but year-round, so that one day this month may become a time to celebrate the end of child abuse.

Stand Up, Step Forward is also a valuable tool for showcasing the work of Children’s Advocacy Centers in local communities. These centers have been the model for the child abuse intervention industry since their creation 30 years ago. Children’s Advocacy Centers provide forensic interviews, victim advocacy, medical evaluations, and evidence-based mental health treatment to child victims of abuse. These efforts are critical in minimizing the trauma child victims face following abuse—and National Children’s Alliance is working tirelessly every day to increase the reach of these centers to every child who needs their services.

For more information about how to Stand Up, Step Forward, and to support child victims of abuse, visit http://www.helpvictimsbecomesurvivors.org/. For information about National Children’s Alliance and the valuable services provided by the 775 Children’s Advocacy Centers in its network, visit here.

We can all help victims become survivors.

Upcoming Events

April 30–May 2: 19th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect. The National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN) has been held biennially since 1976. Sponsored by the Children’s Bureau Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, it is the only Federally sponsored national conference devoted to the issues of child maltreatment and the Nation’s leading training and technical assistance event for practitioners, policymakers, advocates, and researchers. More than 3,000 participants—attending both in-person and virtually—join together for a two-and-a-half day series of knowledge- and skill-building sessions, building powerful collaborative networks and contributing to the lessons learned that profoundly shape public policy, research, and practice in child maltreatment and child welfare.

May 12–13: Children’s Justice Conference. For the last 20 years the Children’s Justice Conference has been the leading conference in the Northwest for issues related to child maltreatment. The conference is a multidisciplinary gathering that focuses on current information and best-practice intervention. The conference features a wide variety of presenters, all renowned in their area of expertise, and an abundance of information on topics relevant to your field. For more information about the conference, please click here.

May 14–16: NCCD Conference on Children, Youth, and Families. The National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) Conference on Children, Youth, and Families seeks to engage all systems working with children and families, including child protection, foster care, juvenile justice, and education. In the past, NCCD has hosted a biennial conference on the structured decision-making system. Recently, the organization has expanded beyond assessment and into the broader spectrum of child and family work.

June 11–14: APSAC’s 22nd Colloquium. The vision of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children is for a world where all maltreated or at-risk children and their families have access to the highest level of professional services and commitment. Our mission is achieved in a number of ways, most notably through expert training and educational activities, policy leadership and collaboration, and consultation that emphasizes theoretically sound, evidence-based principles. For more information, and to register for this colloquium, please click here.

MECP’s Training Center

Request Training and Technical Assistance From MECP. MECP offers training and technical assistance tailored to meet the specific needs of State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, nonprofit organizations, and other juvenile justice practitioners. For information on how your agency or organization can receive training and technical assistance on missing and exploited children’s issues, please contact MECP at 1–888–347–5610 or [email protected] To submit a request for training and technical assistance, please complete a training and technical assistance form.