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Position Statements and Resolutions

Position Statements

We take an official position on issues vital to the well-being of our nation's children and families.

These position statements and resolutions formalize our viewpoint on public policies and issues that pertain to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. They provide a framework for our staff as it performs such activities as responding to legislation, the media, and judicial proceedings, as well as participating in public activities or events.

We have six position statements which speak to issues core to our mission. Five of these statements were updated and approved by the Prevent Child Abuse America Board of Directors in 2010, and the statement on Bullying/Peer Abuse was approved in May, 2014.

Preventing Bullying / Peer Abuse
Position Statement (PDF)

Promoting Child Development by Supporting Families
Position Statement (PDF)
Fact Sheet (PDF)

Preventing Child Physical Abuse
Position Statement (PDF)
Fact Sheet (PDF)

Preventing Child Neglect
Position Statement (PDF)
Fact Sheet (PDF)

Preventing Child Sexual Abuse
Position Statement (PDF)
Fact Sheet (PDF)

Preventing Child Emotional Abuse
Position Statement (PDF)
Fact Sheet (PDF)

Overview of the Five Position Statements (PDF)

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Resolutions

We also have a body of resolutions that provide recommendations on public policies that are central but not core to Prevent Child Abuse America's mission.

Early Childhood Development (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports directing significant resources to children ages 0-5, the period most critical to human development. We support implementing and evaluating programs and services that start at birth, such as voluntary home visitation, parent education and information and early childhood education programs.

Family Economic Stability and Its Link to Child Welfare (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports providing services aimed at reducing poverty and fostering economic stability. Such services include education and vocational training, substance abuse rehabilitation, housing services, health insurance, domestic violence counseling, and child welfare services, among others to help bring low-income families to self-sufficiency. We also support adding poverty reduction as one of the purposes of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and broadening the set of activities that fulfill TANF work requirements to include mental health and substance abuse treatment, parent support groups, and home-visiting programs and related family support programs.

Parent Mutual Self-Help Support Groups (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports implementing and evaluating mutual self-help support groups that are free, confidential, anonymous, non-judgmental, and promote positive, non-abusive parenting and parent leadership. We support building public awareness of the benefits of parent support groups, such as Circle of Parents, in preventing child abuse and neglect.

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Pediatric and Primary Care Professionals and their Role in Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports an on-going relationship between primary care professionals and parents, whereby pediatricians can monitor and guide developmental progress, address parental concerns, and support parental care, capacities and needs. We also support the implementation and evaluation of services, such as STAGES, which help pediatricians and primary care professionals learn how to communicate better with parents and work with community-based prevention programs to learn about resources available to families.

Prenatal Care (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports funding and research for programs that promote early prenatal care, prenatal bonding activities, maternal stress reduction techniques, and parent education, including voluntary home visiting services that provide support to pregnant women and their families throughout pregnancy and beyond. We also support implementing accessible and affordable classes through hospitals, clinics, and other medical establishments that educate pregnant women and expectant fathers on how best to care for expectant mothers.

Sexual Solicitation of Youth on the Internet (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports educating parents and children about the risks associated with online communication, and teaching parents how to protect their children from the covert techniques used by sexual solicitors on the Internet. We also support educating the public on how and where to report cases of sexual solicitation and providing mental health services, medical attention and tools to help avoid future victimization to those who have suffered mentally and/or physically from sexual solicitation.

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Child Care (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports making high-quality child care affordable and accessible to all families. Prevent Child Abuse America  also supports the provision of child care-related education and livable wages to child care workers in order to build a more qualified, stable and better-paid workforce.

Corporal Punishment (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports banning, in every state, the use of corporal punishment against children in all schools and institutions. Prevent Child Abuse America also advocates for providing initial and ongoing training to all teachers and staff on alternative means of discipline.

Domestic Violence (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports the development of comprehensive, community-based prevention and intervention programs that seek to prevent family violence and support parents. Prevent Child Abuse America  also supports advocacy efforts to increase funding for domestic violence agencies, and to coordinate services among such agencies, the child protection system, and the family and criminal court systems.

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Early Hospital Discharge of Mothers and Newborns (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports allowing parents and their doctors determine the length of post-pregnancy stay and additional postpartum visits, based on the health and stability of the baby and the parent's confidence and ability to care for the child.

Gun Safety (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports using safety devices on guns, educating parents and children about the risks of having guns in the home as well as the importance of gun safety measures, and encouraging parents to inquire about the presence of firearms in homes their children visit.

Home Visiting (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports making home visiting services available on a voluntary basis to expectant parents and families with newborns and young children to promote positive parenting skills and healthy child development, and to prevent child abuse and neglect.

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Judicial Proceedings (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports revising courtroom procedures to make them less intimidating to the child. These revisions include: allowing the child's testimony to be videotaped, reducing the size of the courtroom audience, using hearsay evidence in preliminary hearings and/or asking the defendant to leave the room during a child's testimony. Prevent Child Abuse America  also supports fostering multidisciplinary collaborations, such as child advocacy centers, which offer legal, medical and mental health services to children who are victims of maltreatment.

Therapeutic Care for Victims of Child Abuse (PDF)
In order to break the cycle of child abuse, Prevent Child Abuse America supports efforts to offer diagnostic, therapeutic, and remedial services to child abuse victims and their families. Prevent Child Abuse America also supports research and evaluation projects that aim at determining the effectiveness of such services with regard to victims of different ages, cultural backgrounds, and circumstances.

Use of Addictive Substances During Pregnancy (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports educating expectant parents about the risks of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use during pregnancy, and fostering collaboration among child abuse advocates and substance abuse experts in order to address the issue of pregnancy and addiction.

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Violence in the Media (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports reductions in the amount of violence depicted in all forms of media, including but not limited to television, feature films, computer and video games, and music lyrics and videos. Prevent Child Abuse America  also supports ongoing collaboration among parents, educators, advocacy groups, broadcasters and government in order to create additional hours of programming depicting positive, nonviolent themes in media.

Bullying (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports encouraging all schools to create and implement an anti-bullying policy to promote a safe learning environment for all children.

On Mandatory Reporting by Clergy Suspected of Abuse (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports that no state should exempt clergy from laws that mandate the reporting of suspected child abuse except in cases of the clergy/penitent relationship as may be allowed by state law.

On Religious Exemptions to Child Abuse/Neglect (PDF)
Prevent Child Abuse America supports repealing religious exemptions in medical situations that are life-threatening or potentially disabling to a child.

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Spotlight, Shadows and Speaking Truth to Power

 

Spotlight, Shadows and Speaking Truth to Power

CHICAGO, IL, December 3, 2015 – You’re not going to see any superheroes in the new movie Spotlight. Well, at least not the kinds that wear capes or battle space aliens.

Nor are you going to see car chases, tidal waves, earth quakes or even people raising their voices very often.

And for a movie about the Boston Archdiocese child sexual abuse scandal, you’re not going to learn much about evidence-based solutions, or the most effective ways to raise healthy, vibrant children either.

But you will learn something very valuable, however, about how we prevent child sexual abuse from ever happening in the first place: we don’t allow it to exist in the dark, wrapped in secrets that are fostered by adults who are unable, or unwilling, to ask hard questions about what they know is happening right in front of them.

You will also learn that the heroes in Spotlight are the investigative journalists and brave citizens who stood up to a system that thrived on secrecy and intimidation.

If the role adults play in preventing child sexual abuse isn’t clear already, let us be clear here, now – preventing child sexual abuse is not the responsibility of children, it’s the responsibility of the adults who live in the neighborhoods and communities those children live in.

Those adults, all adults, all of us, have to be willing to face things that make us uncomfortable, and as we see in Spotlight, we also have to be willing to confront the institutions which prefer that such actions are ignored.

What Spotlight shows us more than anything, is that many adults, and many people in power, knew exactly what was going in Boston, and as it turns out in countless communities across the nation, and the world, but they refused to connect the dots, or allow those dots to be connected, though even worse, they refused to expose those lies to the light and speak truth to power.

Spotlight also shows us however, what happens when we do expose lies to light.

We transform the lives of children, and the adults they will become, as well as the neighborhoods they call home, and those institutions that had so much sway, no longer look so all-powerful, or unassailable.

Given all this, our request to you is simple:

- Start by seeing Spotlight, encourage your friends and neighbors to do so as well, discuss it and then learn more about what you don’t understand by contacting your local Prevent Child Abuse America chapter, which you can locate on our website;

- Volunteer at your local child-serving and child sexual abuse prevention organizations;

- Ask the hard questions when something doesn’t seem right in your neighborhood or at an organization serving your child and family, and believe children when they tell you something isn’t; and

- Make sure the institutions in your communities have child sexual abuse prevention guidelines in place, and for an example of such policies please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you’re not sure how to do any of these things, please let us know, because we’ll be glad to help, and please note, that we’ve prepared a discussion guide that can be useful for community groups who want to create calls to action.

“Spotlight does something amazing and rare,” says James M. Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America. “It takes a story that could be lost in emotion and pain, and portrays how doing the right thing, being dogged about it, and ignoring the pressures to turn away from the real story, can be just as powerful to watch as any superhero in a cape leaping over a tall building. I’m thrilled Spotlight is out in the world, but I’ll be more thrilled when I know that we’ve all seen it, discussed it and are doing the right things for children ourselves.”

Call for Proposals for the 2016 National Conference for America's Children

 

Call for Proposals now open for Sessions at The 2016 National Conference for America's Children


Thank you for your interest in The National Conference for America's Children. Use this link to fill out our survey and submit your proposal. Please be sure to read the below introductory information on the types of sessions that we are seeking for our 2016 conference, taking place at the Hilton Netherland Plaza in Cincinnati, OH.

The goal of this conference is to bring together professionals who work across the social ecology to share information, network, and advance the field of child abuse and neglect prevention and the promotion of child and family well-being.

In order to achieve this goal, the conference planning team determined four focus areas on which the content of the conference will be based:

Focus Area One: Direct Service for Children and Families: This focus area will offer workshops on clinical-level prevention services. Possible topics include home visiting, parent education, infant mental health, fatherhood, prenatal engagement, effective prevention strategies and Circle of Parents/parent leadership.

Focus Area Two: Organizational Success: This focus area will offer workshops on the administrative side of prevention and child well-being. Possible topics include staff satisfaction/retention, managing small non-profits, fundraising, team building, self-care/avoiding burnout, accreditation, program evaluation, ethical and professional issues, building community collaborations and strategic planning.

Focus Area Three: Messaging, Communications and Technology: This focus area will offer workshops on how messaging can be used to move communities to action. Possible topics include the language of child abuse prevention, utilizing social media for messaging, apps for families and children, media training, changing social norms and moving communities to social action.

Focus Area Four: Innovations in Prevention- Community and Policy Strategies: This focus area will offer workshops on new and/or innovative work in the prevention field related to the community and policy levels of the social ecology. Possible topics include ACEs, new legislation, child sexual abuse prevention, grassroots community organizing, the Protective Factors Framework, bullying/peer abuse prevention, traumatic brain injury and CAPTA.

While a single proposal may fit in one or two focus areas, our goal is that all workshops presented at the conference pertain to at least one focus area, as well as the following two criteria:

1. Evidence-Based or Evidence-Informed
2. Diversity/Cultural Competence

Kids and Trauma: Science Over Force

 

Kids and Trauma: Science Over Force 

CHICAGO, IL, November 2, 2015 – The video showing a school police officer subduing an unyielding adolescent with force is yet another reminder that children act out. Sadly, that’s not news. What is news is that there are alternate, appropriate ways to deal with troubled teens that benefit both the child and the community.

There are a host of reasons why a child might misbehave, and while the details of this young woman’s life are rightfully private, her attorney has made a public statement that she is in foster care and that is a sign that her nuclear family has been unable or unavailable to raise her.     

Traumatic childhood experiences are the subject of many studies currently. Findings indicate that these experiences can have both immediate and lifelong effect on social and emotional health. Collectively called “Adverse Childhood Experiences,” or ACEs, these experiences can actually change the chemistry of a child’s brain and can be a cause for dramatic changes in a child’s behavior. 

Prevent Child Abuse America recognizes the profound lessons from the ACE studies and has incorporated the findings into our work at every opportunity. We are particularly proud to be the non-profit partner to the producers of the film Paper Tigers, a documentary showing how the lives of troubled teens are changed when their school adopts a trauma–informed approach. 

The title comes from a story the science teacher shares with the students when discussing the effect of early trauma on their brain after constantly being exposed to real danger or threats, the brain eventually fails to differentiate between “a paper tiger and a real one.” The result can be kids who lash out or otherwise exhibit terribly inappropriate behaviors. 

Trauma-informed schools have moved from asking “what’s wrong with that child?” to “what’s happened to that child?” The school featured in Paper Tigers can be an inspiration and all schools, and communities, can consider taking a similar view to interacting with their students by engaging in the following steps:

(1)  Reminding ourselves that one size does not fit all when it comes to students or behavior;

(2)  Becoming informed about the ACEs, trauma and how they impact child development and behavior;

(3)  Assessing our approach to discipline by asking ourselves whether it is trauma-informed, modeled on what we know about ACEs and based on the simple question, “What’s happened to that child;” and

(4)  Recognizing that this is an issue for not only the schools, but the full community, neighbors, houses of worship and business as well. 

“I want this moment to be heard as a call to action for schools and communities across the nation,” said James M. Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America. “Let’s take advantage of this wonderful new resource, bring Paper Tigers to every community and support developing trauma-informed faculty, staff and police officers in every school district! For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact Prevent Child Abuse America or visit our website for additional resources related to Paper Tigers.”

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