Recent News (UPDATED 5/2/2019)
PREVENT CHILD ABUSE NEW YORK URGES GOVERNOR CUOMO TO ENACT S2714/A569 INTO LAW
This bill requires counties to refer kinship caregivers to Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) kinship programs that provide critical services, including assistance with kindship public benefits, caregiving options, and other needed supports. Assisting kinship families ensures that children have the best outcomes, remaining in stable homes, and avoiding foster care placements.
To read the full letter, click here.
PREVENT CHILD ABUSE NEW YORK ANNOUNCES STRONG FAMILIES ESSAY CONTEST
In preparation for April's Child Abuse Prevention month, Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY) has announced the Strong Families Essay Contest. The contest is open to anyone in New York State who enters in one of the contest's four categories: Elementary Students; Middle School Students; High School Students, and Adults over the age of 18. Topic prompts have been provided in the contest guidelines. Entries are due to PCANY no later than March 22nd. Winners will be notified no later than March 29th. Winners will also be announced at the organization's Kickoff to Child Abuse Prevention month to be held on April 2nd at the State Capitol.
For more information, or to enter, review the contest guidelines.
PCANY RELEASE WHITE PAPER ON THE BENEFITS OF BRIDGING THE CONNECTION BETWEEN PROTECTIVE FACTORS AND THE PYRAMID MODEL
Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY) and the Early Care and Learning Council (ECLC) today released a white paper entitled Pairing Protective Factors and Pyramid Model: Implications for
Early Childhood Caregivers and Systems. The brief identifies the benefits of bridging the connection between the Protective Factors and the Pyramid Model. Implemented together, trainings increase child care providers’ awareness, understanding, and compassion while providing scientifically-based information and strategies that will strengthen providers’ ability to build resilience in children.
Read the full announcement here.
Read the full white paper here.
CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT ACT (CAPTA) RECOMMENDATIONS TO 116TH CONGRESS
Greater focus on prevention now yields significant cost reduction later, saving taxpayers from long-term, costly interventions, while simultaneously improving outcomes for children and families. Prevent Child Abuse America® recommends Congress take the following actions in 2019:
• Reauthorize the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)
• Significantly increase funding for CAPTA while emphasizing Community-Based Grants (CB-CAP)
• Re-envision and modernize CAPTA with a sharp focus on Primary Prevention
Read the full recommendation here.
PCANY'S COMMENT ON THE PASSAGE OF THE CHILD VICTIMS ACT
Prevent Child Abuse New York is thrilled to see the passage today of the Child Victims Act (CVA). Under the new law, survivors of childhood sexual abuse will be able to file civil lawsuits against abusers and institutions until they are 55 years old. The current law permits victims to sue only until they are 23.
includes a “look-back window” for adult survivors who were previously prohibited by the statute of limitations to sue during a one-year period;
allows survivors to seek felony criminal charges until their 28th birthday, and until their 25th birthday to seek misdemeanor charges; and
gives law enforcement more time to file charges against abusers.
PCANY's TESTIMONY AT THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE BUDGET HEARING ON HUMAN SERVICES
"We also know that child abuse is preventable if we invest in programs that support and strengthen families. We think that’s money well spent." Read the full testimony here.
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT S.1046/A.576: PREVENT CHILD ABUSE NEW YORK UNDERSTANDS THAT CONVERSION THERAPY IS CHILD ABUSE
Designates engaging in sexual orientation change efforts by mental health care professionals on patients under 18 years of age.
PCANY supports this legislation for two reasons:
1) The American Psychological Association (APA) does not support its own members practicing conversion therapy. In 2007, a task force of the APA undertook a thorough review of the existing research on the efficacy of conversion therapy. The APA’s report noted that there was very little methodologically sound research on sexual orientation change efforts (SOCEs) and that the "results of scientifically valid research indicate that
it is unlikely that individuals will be able to reduce same-sex attractions or increase other-sex sexual attractions through SOCE."
2) There is ample evidence that societal prejudice (including the practice of conversion therapy) causes significant medical, psychological and other harms to LGBTQ people.1 There are four types of child abuse: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. Conversion therapy clearly falls within the realm of emotional abuse. Research shows that young people who are not accepted or who are persecuted for their sexual orientation are eight times more likely to attempt suicide and nearly six times as likely to report high levels of depression. We must not allow mental health professionals to add to the stigma and emotional distress experienced by these children and youth.
1 Human Rights Campaign
RESILIENT EARLY CHILDHOOD MODEL SITES INITIATIVE: CARE FOR KIDS/PROTECTIVE FACTORS (JANUARY 7, 2019)
PCANY and EduKids would like to thank the Health Foundation of Western and Central NY for their generous support!
This project will implement Protective Factors and Care for Kids Sexual Abuse Prevention practices in early care settings. Children will benefit from curriculum designed to build their resilience. Parents and caregivers will benefit from enhancement of their own Protective Factors and from knowledge and skills relating to protecting their children. Staff will benefit from enhanced training and technical assistance in curriculum, deeper relationships with families and with a more responsive approach to children in their care.
Using a two-generation approach, this project will focus on two areas.
First, the project will target children’s development of skills relating to resilience. Staff in the classroom settings will be trained and receive ongoing technical support to assist them with a focus on the developmental skills related to growth of resilience including children’s knowledge and confidence relating to body awareness, emotional safety and boundary issues. These are critical elements connected to children’s development of healthy body image and they act as a Protective Factors for the child.
Second, the project will train parents and caregivers in the same developmental information, provide on-going information specific to their child’s developing skills and reinforce the adult’s development of Protective Factors.
What Makes This Project Innovative:
Four elements of the project are particularly innovative; 1. applying a two-generation approach to specifically address resilience building in a child care setting, 2. coupling this with classroom sexual abuse prevention, 3. supporting both with ongoing technical assistance, and 4. targeting parental engagement to build Protective Factors. This project represents a model for enhanced child care settings targeting skill development of children, staff and parents.
LETTER TO GOVERNOR CUOMO REGARDING CHILD CARE AVAILABILITY TASK FORCE (DECEMBER 7, 2018)
On behalf of the undersigned children’s advocates, child care providers, resource and referral agencies, parents, and faith, business and labor leaders, we applaud Governor Cuomo’s convening of the Child Care Availability Task Force, as called for by legislation sponsored by Assembly Member Ellen Jaffee and former Senator Tony Avella, and strongly supported by the New York Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Women of Color Task Force of the Black, Hispanic, Puerto Rican and Asian Legislative Caucus. We urge the Task Force to seize this opportunity to develop a concrete, comprehensive plan to equitably expand access to high-quality child care to all New York families that need it.
We challenge the Task Force to be bold in its recommendations.
New York State has the strongest Paid Family Leave benefit in the nation (guaranteeing 6.4 million working families annually with 12 weeks leave at approximately two-thirds pay), and is a leader on pre-K (particularly in New York City, which offers full-day pre-K to all 4’s and is now adding 3’s). In contrast, the State’s child care system -- the bridge between these programs and a critical service for working families with young children -- is broken. It is time for New York to fix this bridge and provide quality child care to all New York families that need it. Small measures and quick fixes will not meaningfully expand access to the thousands of New York families that need child care, nor build a well-supported, stable early childhood workforce. Toward that end, we urge the task force to put forth a comprehensive plan to restructure and improve the State’s child care system that does the following:
Makes child care accessible and affordable to all children from birth through school-age;
Ensures high-quality care by supporting the child care workforce and building a strong effective and streamlined professional development infrastructure;
Includes and effectively accommodates children with special needs;
Respects and reflects the many strengths, languages and cultures of all children and families; and
Is respected by and integrated with the entire early childhood continuum, building upon the state’s existing strengths based on the unique needs of each region of the state.
We urge the Task Force to make recommendations that ensure:
Generous eligibility for families to qualify for assistance. All low-income and middle-income New York families that need child care should qualify for, and continue receiving support until they have gained financial stability.
Equitable aid is provided to all low- and middle-income working families. While the assistance for families can vary in amount and type according to income level or other factors, it is essential that the assistance is provided such that it can be utilized by all families that need it to access quality care. For instance, refundable tax credits are usually not practical for low-income families who live paycheck to paycheck, but may be effective for some middle-income families.
Assistance is provided at fair levels. It is essential to ensure that providers are reimbursed or contracted at levels that reflect the true cost of care so they are not discouraged from enrolling families that receive state support, can offer high-quality care, and can pay teachers fair wages and reduce turnover.
New funding mechanisms to support quality child care are identified. The State cannot make significant strides toward expanding access to quality child care to all families that need it without identifying and dedicating new funds for child care.
Data is gathered and systems established to enable the State to track and evaluate relevant data related to child care. The Task Force presents an opportunity to evaluate meaningful data about the barriers families face to accessing quality child care, challenges providers and educators face to providing quality care, and the impact child care inaccessibility has on business and economic development.
Now is the time for New York State to Act on Child Care
The Child Care Availability Task Force is a unique opportunity for New York State to develop a comprehensive plan to address the state’s child care affordability and accessibility challenges. The development and enactment of such a plan could spur economic growth, ensure our State’s children receive high-quality care, and build on the success of paid family leave to position New York State as the best place in our nation to raise a family. We look forward to working with the Task Force, the Legislature, and the Governor to ensure that affordable and accessible quality child care is one of the State’s top priorities.
Cc: Sheila Poole, Commissioner, NYS Office of Children and Family Services
Roberta Reardon, Commissioner, NYS Department of Labor
Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor
Paul Francis, Deputy Secretary, NYS Health and Human Services
Kerri Neifeld, Assistant Secretary for Human Services
Kelli Owens, Director of Women’s Affairs
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie
Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee
Adirondack Birth to Three Alliance
Advocacy Center of Tompkins County
Advocates for Children of New York
Alcohol & Drug Council of Tompkins County, Inc.
Alliance for Quality Education
Capital District Child Care Council
Care-a-lot Child Care
Center for Children's Initiatives
Chautauqua County Education Coalition
Chautauqua Lake Child Care Center
Child Care Council of Dutchess and Putnam, Inc.
Child Care Council of Nassau, Inc.
Child Care Council of Orange County Inc.
Child Care Council of Suffolk, Inc.
Child Care Council of Westchester
CHILD CARE COUNCIL, INC.
Child Care Resource Network
Child Care Resources of Rockland, Inc.
Child Care Solutions, Inc.
Child Development Council of Central New York, Inc.
Child Development Support Corporation
Chinese-American Planning Council
Citizen Action of New York
Citizens Committee for Children of New York, Inc.
City of Cortland
Cortland Child Development
Cortland County Chamber of Commerce
Cortland County Child Development Day Care Program, INc.
Cortland Regional Medical Center
Daycare Council of New York
Early Care & Learning Council
Early Childhood Alliance Onondaga
ECE ON THE MOVE
Empire Justice Center
Empowerment Collaborative of Long Island, Inc.
Every Child Matters
Family Child Care Association of New York State
Family Enrichment Network, Inc.
Generations Child Care, Inc.
Help Me Grow
Hunger Action Network NYS
Illume Projects, LLC
Ithaca Community Childcare Center
New York Paid Leave Coalition
New York Union Child Care Coalition
Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope (NOAH)
NY Early Childhood Professional Development Institute
NY State Council of Churches
NYS Network for Youth Success
Parent Child Home Program
Prevent Child Abuse New York
Rhythm and Rhyme Childcare Center
RocACTS Education Task Force
Rochester Childfirst Network
Schenectady Day Nursery School Childcare Center
Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy
Southern Adirondack Child Care Network
Southern Tier 8 Regional Board
St. Peter RC Parish
Storybook Child Care, Inc
SUNY Cortland Child Care Center
The Children's Agenda
The Christ Redemption Tabernacle
The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc.
The Parent-Child Home Program
The YMCA of Greater Rochester
Tompkins County Area Development
Tompkins County Chamber & Tompkins Cortland Community
United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, Inc.
United Way of Cortland County, Inc.
United Way of Central New York, Inc.
Westchester Children's Association
WNY Women's Foundation
Women's Diversity Network
YWCA of Binghamton-Young Wonders Early Childhood Center
YWCAs of NYS
PCANY PUBLIC CHARGE COMMENT (OCTOBER 24, 2018)
DHS Docket #USCIS-2010-0012
Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY) vehemently opposes this proposed rule by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which would narrowly define who may be admitted to, or stay in, the United States. This attempt to limit admission only to those who will never need public assistance (become a “public charge”) is not only unenforceable (for who can predict the future); it undermines the American value of supporting those in need of assistance and support.
The proposal is that “Aliens who seek adjustment of status or a visa, or who are applicants for admission, must establish that they are not likely at any time to become a public charge…Moreover, DHS proposes to require all aliens seeking an extension of stay or change of status to demonstrate that they have not received, are not currently receiving, nor are likely to receive, public benefits as defined in the proposed rule.” Aside from that fact that the term “aliens” is offensive, PCANY understands that we all benefit from some sort of government assistance to survive and thrive in our society, whether it’s Social Security, Medicare, farm subsidies, etc.
This proposal also sets a disturbing precedent, laying the foundation for limiting the rights of current citizens/residents who receive certain public benefits. Again, we should not deprive people of services to help them meet basic needs—particularly families with children. Research shows that strengthening families by providing supports such as nutrition assistance, subsidized child care, and low- or no-cost healthcare results in improved health outcomes/lower medical bills, increased high school graduation rates, and decreased child maltreatment. Society benefits when all boats rise.
We urge DHS to amend or abandon this ill-advised proposal. If those seeking admission to the U.S. meet other reasonable requirements, then we should not base their entry on whether or not we think they may need our help later.
NYS HOME VISITING COORDINATION INITIATIVE IS A REALITY (OCTOBER 1, 2018)
PCANY is excited to announce the launch today of the NYS Home Visiting Coordination Initiative, funded through a legislative award secured by Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi (28 AD).
Voluntary maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting programs pair a nurse or paraprofessional with a family to help guide them through the earliest days and (sometimes) years of their child’s life. These two-generational, comprehensive programs have shown decreases in child abuse and neglect, increases in school readiness, and better health outcomes.
Unfortunately, although a number of both research-based and home-grown home visiting programs are currently providing valuable services and supports to families across New York State, only 5% of eligible children are receiving those services.
The New York State Home Visiting Coordination Initiative is a platform for information, education, and conversation. The intent is to provide cutting-edge information, build cross-program relationships, and offer additional opportunities for cross-systems operations. Ultimately, it aims to help programs increase staff retention and serve more families.
According to Tim Hathaway, Executive Director of PCANY, the organization that is housing the Initiative, “The power of this work is in the sense that all families need support around the time of the birth of a child and the critical early years. But not all families need the same levels of support. This Initiative is about trying to find the right level of support for each family by providing resources that home visitors can use in their daily work—regardless of what home visiting program they work for—as well as helping create a system that has real continuity across the State.”
"I look forward to PCANY's implementation of the New York State Home Visiting Coordination Initiative. This Initiative aims to enhance the proven effectiveness of home visiting programs through cross-program connections, information sharing, and increasing the number of children and families being served. Early intervention, increased support, and access to services are crucial to the successful development of a child,” said Assembly Member Hevesi.
Visit the Initiative's website at: www.nyshomevisitcoord.com
PREVENT CHILD ABUSE NEW YORK OFFERS BUILDING RESILIENT COMMUNITIES PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES (Updated October 16, 2018)
Recognizing the need to increase trauma-informed practice among child- and family-serving professionals, Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY) has created a curriculum grounded in a broad base of evidence on the effective application of the Five Protective Factors (PF). Offered in five different but interconnected instruction opportunities, the sessions provide an overview of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and childhood trauma, educate participants on the importance of building resilience in the children/youth/families they serve, and help them alter their day-to-day behavior by incorporating relevant PFs into their work. For more information on the opportunities or to schedule a session, follow the link.
PREVENT CHILD ABUSE NEW YORK OPPOSES HHS–OS–2018–0008 (AUGUST 2, 2018)
"PCANY supports increased access to reproductive health care and family planning—and opposes this proposed rule, which would limit such access. We also fear that decreasing access to reproductive/family planning services will result in a decrease in access to all health services currently provided—such as cancer screens. In the simplest terms, a healthy mother equals a healthy baby; we should be doing everything in our power to ensure the health of women (and men) so that they can create strong families." Check here for our letter regarding HHS–OS–2018–0008, Proposed Rule for Compliance With Statutory Program Integrity Requirements.
TO THE NYS CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION (June 21, 2018)
Prevent Child Abuse New York, together with the undersigned organizations, wishes to convey extreme distress that the recently signed Executive Order regarding U.S. policy to separate immigrant children from their parents at the Mexican border fails to outline a plan for reunification. Not only has this practice of forcibly detaining children done irreparable harm, but that trauma will continue even after families are reunited.
The trauma experienced by these families is practically unimaginable. We know that any separation from a parent can be stressful; but in these cases, children traveling great distances to escape often violent circumstances were being torn from their families just as they reach what they hoped was safety. They committed no crime and should not have been punished.
We urge the implementation of a reunification process immediately.
Citizens Committee for Children
Early Care and Learning Council
Empowerment Collaborative of Long Island, Inc.
Family Leadership Network
Families Together in New York State
Good Shepherd Services
New York State Association for the Education of Young Children
New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault
New York State Network for Youth Success
New York Zero to Three Network
Parent-Child Home Program
Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts
Prevent Child Abuse New York
Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy
YMCA of Greater New York
Ellen Butowsky (NYS resident)
Jennifer Curry, Ed.D., Principal, Jennifer Curry Consulting
Isabel DaSilva (NYS resident)
Brittany Enekes (NYS resident)
Lisa Galatio (NYS resident)
Heather Larkin, Associate Professor, SUNY School of Social Work
Tamae Memole (NYS resident)
James Porter (NYS resident)
Beth Starks, Executive Director, Chautauqua Lake Child Care Center
Albert and Stacy Wilson (NYS residents)
TRAUMA IMPACTS SEPARATED FAMILIES (JUNE 21, 2018)
Albany, New York (June 21, 2018) – Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY) is deeply concerned about the trauma inflicted on children by the recently rescinded policy to separate them from their parents at the Mexican border. This policy resulted in a 20% increase in children being held separately. The trauma experienced by these families is practically unimaginable. We know that any separation from a parent can be stressful; but in these cases, children traveling great distances to escape often violent circumstances were being torn from their families just as they reached what they hoped was safety. They will continue to experience long-term consequences. Please contact PCANY for more information on trauma and child abuse.
Jenn O’Connor, Director of Policy and Advocacy, email@example.com, 880-3595
Tim Hathaway, Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse New York: “The forcible separation policy met the clinical definition of child abuse. Separating children from their parents is a traumatic experience, the implications of which will follow them through their lifetime. These children are suffering harsh and unjust consequences for a decision they did not have control over. We urge a trauma-informed reunification of families.”
Harvard’s Dr. Jack Shonkoff: “Two crucial points about early child development stand out from decades of scientific research. First, for babies and young children to develop sturdy brain architecture, they must have responsive, supportive, consistent relationships with a parent or primary caregiver. Second, high and persistent levels of stress can be toxic to young children’s brain development, with serious negative impacts on learning, behavior, and health across the lifespan. Sudden, forcible separation of children from their parents is traumatic for both, and triggers a severe, biological stress response in the child, which stays triggered until that familiar caregiver returns. And it removes the most important resource a child can have to buffer the effects of toxic stress—a responsive adult who’s known to that child. Each day we fail to return them to their parents, we compound the harm. There are ways to mitigate the damage, but the best thing we could do for them by far is to reunite them with their parents. If children were being fed poison and we asked, “What's the best treatment?”, the best answer is not to come up with an antidote, it's to stop poisoning them in the first place.”
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney: “Snatching children from their mothers’ arms and throwing them in cages is child abuse and it has to stop. Now. We’re fighting Trump down here with everything we’ve got – and we won’t stop until these innocent children are reunited with their
families – that’s a promise.”
Meredith Chimento: “As executive director at the Early Care and Learning Council, I want to express that this is not about where these children are housed. These children could be held in a five star hotel and this would still be inhumane and inappropriate. This trauma will impact their success in life.”
Anne Erickson, President and CEO of Empire Justice Center said “As Americans and New Yorkers, we all can agree that the sanctity of families and the rule of law are fundamental values that we hold dear. The actions of the federal government in tearing children away from their families at the southern border runs directly counter to these values. It is particularly horrifying that refugee parents are being prosecuted by the federal government for seeking a better life for their children, further traumatizing the family. Empire Justice stands in solidarity with immigrant communities across the country and are actively seeking ways to provide legal assistance to children housed here in New York”.
Paige Pierce, CEO of Families Together in New York State: "It is indisputable that separation of children from their family is deeply traumatizing and will cause lasting irreparable damage that will impact them throughout their lifetime. The administration's choice in April to enforce a blanket policy of prosecuting every undocumented family that crosses our nation's borders is simply unconscionable. While we support the intent of keeping these families together, it remains unclear if this most recent executive order will reunite the children who have been separated to date and if new incoming families will be held indefinitely. That is why we urge the President to simply return to the previous policy that they enforced before April."
Kelly Sturgis, Executive Director at New York State Network for Youth Success: "The stress and trauma inflicted on the children who have been separated from their parents at our border is unnecessary and immoral. After traveling thousands of miles to escape violence and death, these children are met with concrete and cold steel in a facility that lacks the proper number of trained staff to address the developmental needs of children who have undergone this type of journey. While the first step in ending this practice was taken yesterday by the president, every child must now be reunited with their parents immediately, and given the attention and care they need to address the trauma they have already experienced."
Robin Chappelle Golston, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts: “Separating children from their parents at the border is unconscionable, inhumane and only further traumatizes families fleeing violence and unimaginable hardship. The effects of this cruel and unjust policy may only be fully revealed decades from now. Every effort must be made to provide the skilled support these children require and to immediately reunite them with their families.”
Rifat Filkins, Executive Director, RISSE: "We stand in agreement with the Prevent Child Abuse NY concern for the hardships on children who are removed from their parents at the border. We urge everyone to respond as they see fit to government officials and humanitarian organizations."
Heather Larkin, Associate Professor at SUNY School of Social Work: "A vast body of research on adverse childhood experience (ACE) reveals powerful relationships between accumulated early life adversities, including loss of a parent, with serious, high cost health and social problems later in life. Many policy and community leaders are translating this knowledge of ACEs, toxic stress, and trauma to inform policy and practice approaches that build resilience and advance health. These policies and programs could serve as an example for alternative immigration policy in order to support the healthy development of all people — this is really a bipartisan concern in many communities across the country."
Dede Hill, Director of Policy, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy: “At Schuyler Center, our mission and passion is to advance policies that strengthen families and reducechildhood trauma. We are therefore shocked and dismayed that the federal government - in its deliberate and systematic separation of immigrant children from their parents – has pursued a policy intended to leverage children's trauma to achieve a political end. We urge our elected leaders to be guided by compassion, not politics, and ensure that children whohave been separated from their parents are reunited immediately. These families - many of whom are fleeing unthinkable violence in their country of origin - should be treated with humanity and respect as their immigration cases are processed.”
Healthy Families New York featured in LiveSmart
To describe and promote the work of HFNY in the Capital District, Laurie McBain, LCSW-R, Program Manager, Healthy Families of Rensselaer County wrote:
"Access to Community Resources, Services Makes for Healthier Families, a LiveSmart article for the Times Union. She highlights that parents who receive home visiting with Healthy Families have healthier babies, demonstrate better knowledge of parenting and child development, create positive family bonds, develop connections to community services, and have children who do better in school, among many other benefits and positive outcomes."
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month:
Five Steps We Can All Take to Protect Our Children
From the discovery of the 13 Turpin children in California to the conviction of USA Gymnastics team doctor, child abuse has been making headlines – and leaving many feeling helpless about how to prevent another tragedy.
In New York State, 65,000 children suffer abuse each year. In the U.S., five children die each day from injuries related to child abuse. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Tim Hathaway, Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY) says there are five key steps we can all take to better protect all children:
1. Build relationships with children in your life. Whether family members, neighbors or children you see at church, start a conversation. Then, Hathaway says, listen more than talk, ask open ended questions, avoid judgment, pay attention to any behavior changes, know their friends and show you care about their world. Children need adults outside the home that they can trust.
2. Connect with people. Too often, we close the garage door behind us or stay glued to our phones – never speaking with our neighbors. Hathaway points out the abuse in California happened for years, right under peoples’ noses. He suggests getting to know those living and working around you, walking around your neighborhood, making eye contact in your building and starting conversations.
3. Be aware of resources. Support local groups that are creating positive experiences for kids and families, through donations, volunteering or spreading the word. Know where to go for support and be ready to direct others, if needed. New York State offers a free, confidential 24-hour helpline: 1-800- CHILDREN (or 1-800- 244-5373). If you or someone you know suspects child abuse, it can be reported at: 1-800- 342-3720.
4. Vote – and hold elected leaders accountable. Ask what your local, state and federal representatives are doing to help children and families. Hathaway suggests signing online petitions, calling and writing to legislators in support of policies and funding that help kids. To schedule advocacy training in your community, contact Jenn O’Connor at: firstname.lastname@example.org. To stay on top of issues, sign up for PCANY’s free e- newsletter at: preventchildabuseny.org.
5. Raise awareness through “Pinwheels for Prevention.” A pinwheel, Hathaway explains, represents carefree childhood and serves as the national symbol for preventing child abuse. In 2017, over 200 groups created “Pinwheels for Prevention Gardens” in public spaces across New York State to raise awareness. Talk to your town, club, school or sports program about joining the effort. Visit: preventchildabuseny.org for a free seed kit.
“These five tips are actions that we can all take to make our communities stronger and safer for children,” Hathaway says. “Every child deserves to grow up safe and happy. If we pledge to be more aware, share information and support organizations, policies and programs that benefit families, we can prevent child abuse in New York State.”
Throughout the month of April, events are planned across the state to raise awareness about child abuse prevention. For a list, or events in a specific city or region, contact Wendi Brandow at email@example.com or 518.880.3587.
As the only statewide not for profit dedicated exclusively to preventing child abuse and neglect, Prevent Child Abuse New York has successfully advocated for policies that target root causes of abuse. Created in 1980, the organization also provides trainings across the state and works to build greater awareness about child abuse in our communities.
**PHOTO OF PINWHEEL EVENTS, HEADSHOT OF TIM HATHAWAY AVAILABLE**
Statewide Home Visiting Orientation/Training Coordinator Proposal
New York State’s home visiting staff, representing six research-based programs (Early Head Start, Healthy Families New York (HFNY), Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), Parents as Teachers (PAT), and The Parent-Child Home Program, Inc. (PCHP), provide services to thousands of families. Still, only about 5% of eligible children are receiving services. We must increase staff/program capacity. This can be achieved by providing increased support of staff and better preparing them for their jobs. By increasing staff retention, we will provide more consistent supports for families—which, in turn, will increase family retention rates.
Read the full proposal here.
New York 2018 State ACEs Profile
As knowledge about the science of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) spreads, ACEs initiatives have launched in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Hundreds of cross-sector collaboratives are educating and engaging organizations and policymakers about ACEs science. In turn, these organizations are implementing trauma–informed and resilience-building practices and policies based on ACEs science; many legislatures are passing resolutions and/or bills.
Follow this link to visit the 2018 profile of resources in the State of New York.