By: Jes Averhart, Prevent Child Abuse NC Immediate Past Board Chair Date Posted: September 27, 2019 In many ways fate conspires with action to lead you into work that is both unexpected and meaningful. I found myself at this intersection in 2013 when I was invited to serve on the board of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina (PCANC). As the daughter of a loving and nurturing single mom and the mother of a teenage son (who is adored), the notion of strong, informed parenting struck me as a ‘no brainer’; and before my work with PCANC, I would have considered myself a champion of parenting and fiercely protective of kids. If I’m to be honest however, I was woefully uninformed and critical of parents who ‘didn’t have it together.’ The truth was, I hadn’t considered the gaps and the inherent obstacles and barriers that exist, preventing many families from flourishing into safe and healthy units. Oh, how times have changed! In my first year of this work, I decided to own my blind spots, listen, learn and ask questions. I learned from our diverse board and expert staff that this work is not just a notion…but the place where real change occurs. PCANC puts proven supports in place for real North Carolina families to grow, make better choices and become more connected – where children are more likely to grow up healthier and ready to reach their fullest potential. YES!! Now that’s good work! That is my story and my evolution. What is yours? For such a time as this…we hear this phrasing a lot. The context, which is a Biblical reference to the Book of Esther, is actually a challenge or rebuke, not an inspiring pep talk. Queen Esther was being reminded that she was set apart to do God’s work, not to get caught up in her title and position as queen. The same can be said for each of us today, as members of a broader community. It’s not enough to say you’re a concerned citizen and pontificate over dinner about the ‘long way we have to go’ to turn things around. I believe we have been set apart for a greater purpose: to meaningfully engage with our children and their families, to keep a watchful eye on our community and speak up around issues of abuse and neglect. To help amplify this calling, PCANC is rolling out a statewide social norm campaign called “Connections Matter,” a game changer for North Carolina. This campaign will demystify and remove the stigma around parental supports and community involvement, because we KNOW that connections DO matter. As part of this campaign, you will learn to increase the Five Protective Factors in your family and community – and become equipped, in partnership with PCANC, to help move North Carolina forward. Take just a second to consider how we are all connected through varying touch points, be it schools, parks and recreation, the YMCA, pediatricians, fire and law enforcement, places of worship, and even your local grocery store. No longer can we be ‘eyes wide shut’ on the topic of our children. They need us to see them and their families need our support and encouragement in such a time as this. I encourage you to review our latest annual report and really consider the work that is taking place at Prevent Child Abuse NC. I think you’ll find it inspired, thoughtful and relevant. As you walk alongside this work, keep an eye out for policy implications, engage with us during Child Abuse Prevention Month (CAPM) in April by planting a Pinwheel Garden and consider a gift to further the mission. It all matters at the end of the day and we’ll all be able to celebrate the wins together! On behalf of our children and families across the state, let’s do this…TOGETHER! In deep gratitude, Jes Averhart Immediate Past Chair, Board of Directors Prevent Child…
By: Sharon Hirsch, Prevent Child Abuse NC President & CEO Posted: September 13, 2019 This message was sent to the NC congressional delegation, urging them to take action to prevent children from being separated from their parents at the border and to keep the well being of children paramount when parents are detained for immigration violations at the border and in their communities. Neuroscience makes it clear that childhood experiences lay the foundation for the quality of brain development, health and prosperity into adulthood. Children who grow up in safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments have the best opportunity to become educated, productive, healthy and engaged citizens into adulthood. The most important relationships children have are with their parents. When parent-child attachment is disrupted, it is extremely traumatic, having a negative impact on brain development. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, conducted more than 20 years ago by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente, made it clear that separation from parents – by divorce, parental incarceration, death, foster care or any other reason – is one of the most traumatic experiences a child can endure. It’s not only challenging emotionally, it creates Toxic Stress which changes the way the child’s brain develops and negatively impacts the immune system. Children who experience trauma hyper-develop their fight, freeze or flight instincts and under-develop the executive functioning portion of their brains necessary for learning, decision-making and relationship building. We can see this clearly in brain scans of children who have experienced this type of trauma compared to those who have not. The legacy of inadequate childhood attachment poses a considerable burden for the individuals themselves, for society, and for public services. It is a key factor in intergenerational parenting difficulties, and predisposes children to substance abuse, temper problems, homelessness, promiscuity, early pregnancy, and criminality. People who have experienced such extreme trauma are more likely to have behavior problems in school, become depressed, attempt suicide, develop diseases like heart disease and lung cancer, and are more likely to have difficulty in relationships. In addition, the downstream consequences of toxic stress costs ALL of us an enormous amount of money – in NC alone, we spend $2 billion every year in health, social services, criminal justice, remedial education and lost worker productivity as a result of child abuse and neglect. This is preventable when we invest in making sure all children grow up in safe, stable, nurturing environments. It’s good policy, it’s good medicine, and it is good for our wallets. We know more than ever before about what helps children and adults overcome tough times. It’s all about the healing power of relationships. Science has revealed that relationships help build healthy brains, families and communities. We must assure that children who come into custody of our government are cared for with an understanding of this science. This is why we are urging you to do everything in your power to take action to prevent children from being separated from their parents at the border and to keep the well being of children paramount when parents are detained for immigration violations at the border and in their communities. If children have to be separated from families, the policy priority must be placed on the well-being of children and assuring the conditions in which they are detained are safe, nurturing and staffed by personnel who use trauma-informed practice to care for the children in their custody. We are not expert in immigration policy, but we are leading NC in protecting all children from emotional, physical and sexual abuse within our communities and families. We urge you to take action to ensure children’s well being is the top priority when their parents are detained, that trauma-informed practice be required in facilities that house children separated from their parents and that every effort is made to prevent children from being separated from their families. We are ready to provide guidance and support as you work to achieve this…
We are thrilled to announce the launch of our new website! After 10+ months of hard work through one of our busiest years, we’re pleased to officially share the new features of our freshly-designed website, with help from our friends at Big Boom Design.
Here at Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, we’re thrilled to be a co-presenter with NC Department of Health and Human Services to host our biennial Learning and Leadership Summit: Connections Matter for Prevention in Raleigh, NC.
Some of our top reasons to attend the #PCANCSummit include: over 350 attendees, 40 educational breakout sessions, 19 exhibitors, valuable networking, and the chance to hear from nationally recognized speakers. Whether you’ve already bought your tickets or are still trying to decide if you should register, we made a list of the four things to expect from the #PCANCSummit on March 5-6, 2019 at the McKimmon Conference and Training Center.
January 23, 1979 is a big day in our history.
It’s the day the North Carolina Chapter of the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse was established. In the late 1970’s the primary goal was to raise awareness about the fact that child abuse and neglect existed – can you imagine?
Fast forward to 2019 and that organization, now Prevent Child Abuse NC (PCANC), is investing upstream in strategies that are proven to strengthen families and help keep children safe.
But what exactly is our strategy? Two words: Capacity building.