STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: BEN TANZER
(W): 312-663-3520 X823
(C): 312-806-4066

Every Child Deserves a Happy and Healthy Childhood

CHICAGO, IL, January 31, 2014 – Prevent Child Abuse America agrees with the position in the newly-released report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) on sexual abuse by school personnel that “we must all expand our efforts to ensure that children have safe and secure learning communities,” especially with the idea that we cannot rely exclusively on the government to do so.

We all have a role to make schools a safe and healthy experience for all children regardless of where they live. For example, parents and guardians should talk to children regularly about what they’re doing, where they spend their time, and who they are spending it with, which can help identify possible problems.

Similarly, experts can be brought in to work with schools to develop support systems that promote a sexually safe and healthy climate for both students and faculty so that educators and administrators will be better able to support the prevention work that parents are doing at home, and parents should feel empowered to ask questions of the administrators.

This report indicates very clearly is that there is much more that can be done to promote the happy and healthy childhoods that all our children deserve. According to the Shakeshaft report from 2004, at least 5% of students report a sexual contact of some type from school personnel before they graduate. We know that relying on background screening to predict which school personnel may pose a risk is necessary but it is in no way sufficient.

The GAO report points to inconsistent reporting requirements and definitions as a problem nationally. As the old adage says “measure is the mark of man,” but if we do not have common definitions, strategies, and efforts to measure our prevention work, the impact is not as great as it could be. There is a clear need, now greater than ever, for the creation of a true national plan for America’s children.

Every child deserves a happy and healthy childhood, but the fact that there are different definitions, standards and reporting requirements in different states makes the monumental task of finding where we need to concentrate our prevention efforts all the more difficult. This task is not left to the government and school systems alone, but it’s up to all of us. Every child, victimized or otherwise, deserves to be served and counted, and every adult, parent or otherwise, plays a role in the prevention of child abuse.

 

 

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Child Advocates Descend on DC in Defense of Home Visiting and Abuse Prevention

 

Child Advocates Descend on DC in Defense of Home Visiting and Abuse Prevention

Representatives from Prevent Child Abuse America’s 50 state network are in Washington to advocate for two laws that are critical to the healthy development of children and families.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Advocates from every state in the Prevent Child Abuse America 50 state chapter network are in the nation’s capital today, advocating for key pieces of legislation that are proven to improve the lives of children and families nationwide.

Prevent Child Abuse Executive Directors and advocates from around the nation are calling for the reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program and for the Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA) to be fully funded.

MIECHV supports evidence-based home visiting initiatives that provide the support, experience and knowledge critical to success during pregnancy and through the first few years of a child’s life. Among the programs supported by MIECHV is Healthy Families America (HFA), Prevent Child Abuse America’s signature prevention program, that provides more than 86,000 families annually with services that are proven to increase the knowledge and skill of parents, improve the early learning abilities of children, reduce incidences of child maltreatment, and improve overall family self-sufficiency.

Currently, MIECHV is set to expire at the end of March. If Congress fails to reauthorize MIECHV, tens of thousands of families across the country would lose access to home visiting services like HFA, and thousands of family support workers would find their jobs in jeopardy.

CAPTA is a historic law that dates to 1974 and is one of the major ways that the federal government funds state programs that prevent and reduce child abuse and neglect. In fiscal year 2015, CAPTA state grants were funded at a level of $26 million, a number so low that resulted in some states receiving less than $100,000 to cover the costs associated with child protection, reporting, and investigation of claims.

Calling this level of funding “beyond inadequate,” advocates from Prevent Child Abuse America are requesting that Congress fund CAPTA state grants at a minimum level of $30 million.

“MIECHV and CAPTA are two of the major ways that the federal government help ensure that families and children have access to the programs and services that help them thrive,” said James M. Hmurovich, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. “These programs desperately need to be reauthorized and fully funded so that we can not only reduce incidences of child abuse and neglect, but move our country closer to the ideal in which no child is ever abused or neglected and every family is equipped to give their children the best lives possible.”

Prevent Child Abuse America and Chartwells K12 Team to Deliver Healthy Meals and Healthy Social Interactions in the Lunchroom

 

Prevent Child Abuse America and Chartwells K12 Team to Deliver Healthy Meals and Healthy Social Interactions in the Lunchroom

Anti-bullying initiative focuses on the prevention of peer abuse and the promotion of positive social development

CHICAGO, IL, December 11 – Prevent Child Abuse America and Chartwells K12 are teaming up to prevent bullying where it often takes place: the lunchroom. The partnership will deliver healthy messages to students alongside the healthy food choices Chartwells serves in 3,800 schools nationwide as part of a peer abuse (commonly known as bullying) prevention campaign. The campaign supports efforts to positively change youth behaviors in light of the more than 70 percent of students who report witnessing bullying on a monthly basis.*

As part of the partnership, Chartwells team members will receive targeted training to help them recognize bullying behavior and appropriately respond. Training for leadership will also be provided regarding the impact of peer abuse in schools.

"We applaud Chartwells' interest in extending beyond nurturing appetites to also encourage change in youth behaviors, and by teaming up with Chartwells, we have the opportunity to do both," said James Hmurovich, President & CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. "By including abuse prevention messages with these meals, in addition to working with the food service professionals, we have a real chance to make a positive impact. We're delighted about the possibilities that this partnership with Chartwells presents."

As part of the Chartwells' "eat. learn. live." initiative, the school dining service believes that by providing students with fresh and nutritious meals, it can improve the well-being of the students it serves, build sharp minds and strong bodies, and enrich the lives of students and communities in which they live. Because of its work within school cafés, Chartwells has a unique opportunity to make a difference.

"Our number one priority is to nourish the students, to help them make smart choices about food, and also about living healthy, happy lives," said Rhonna Cass, President of Chartwells. "Our partnership with Prevent Child Abuse America is an important extension of our 'eat. learn. live.' promise and will help Chartwells further its goal to improve the well-being of our students and communities."

Research suggests that training Chartwells staff to create a positive cafeteria climate and support students' social emotional learning skills is associated with increases in pro-social behavior and academic achievement and decreases in student conduct problems and distress. In addition to working together on messaging and training, Chartwells will participate in Prevent Child Abuse America's signature spring campaign, Pinwheels for Prevention®, a national initiative customized for local communities that uses symbolic pinwheels to promote healthy, full lives for children.

"Studies show nearly one in three students in grades 6 through 12 experience bullying," said Hmurovich**. "Chartwells is a natural fit to help us spread the message that all people deserve respect, and we believe it is essential to equip food service professionals with education and training to prevent peer abuse before it ever begins."

 

Prevent Child Abuse America and Home Visiting Coalition push for budget extension of MIECHV

 

Prevent Child Abuse America and Home Visiting Coalition push for budget extension of MIECHV and great beginnings for all children

Coalition to send sign-on letter bearing more than 700 signatures to Congress in support of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program

CHICAGO, IL, December 4 – Prevent Child Abuse America and its partners in the Home Visiting Coalition are writing members of congress today to urge their support in extending funding for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. MIECHV supports evidence-based home visiting programs, such as Healthy Families America, that have been shown to improve the early health and development of children and to reduce incidences of child maltreatment.

The coalition, which includes members of state legislatures, faith-based groups, and organizations like the Pew Charitable Trusts and the American Psychological Association, is sending a letter bearing over 700 signatures (including signatures from 29 members of the Prevent Child Abuse America chapter network as well as over 130 HFA sites from 33 states and 4 territories) to each member of the House and the Senate, urging them to reauthorize the MIECHV program at its current annual funding level of $400 million. MIECHV has enjoyed bipartisan support since it was created in 2009, and Congress previously voted in support of continued funding for the program.

"Home visiting programs are pro-family, voluntary, and most importantly, they work," said Jim Hmurovich, President & CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. "Democrats and Republicans worked together recently to pass funding for this program, so today we are simply asking them to work together and fund this successful program again."

Prevent Child Abuse America and the leaders of the other national, state, and tribal leaders are pushing for the MIECHV re-authorization to take place either in the upcoming lame duck session or as one of the first acts of the next Congress. Funding for MIECHV is currently set to expire in March 2015, and any failure to reauthorize the program before then would be devastating to the home visiting programs currently serving children and families in all 50 states, 6 territories, and numerous tribal territories.

"Funding from this program is helping hundreds of thousands of families right now, all across the country, helping to deliver children the great childhoods they deserve and give families the chance to be self-sufficient," said Hmurovich. "We know, and the research shows, that MIECHV is good for the country and will save us money down the line. We hope that all of the members of Congress will take the common-sense step to vote to continue funding for this important program."

You can view the letter at this link.

 

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