Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina (PCANC) is in the process of finalizing a new strategic plan focused on making prevention a priority in two key areas – policy and capacity building. Policies that support families are essential for a society where all children and families thrive.
Since beginning the policy work last year, we have worked closely with other state-level partners to support policies that strengthen families and prevent child maltreatment, including opportunities such as:
- Think Babies® NC Alliance policy agenda
- Home Visiting and Parenting Education system work and communications during COVID-19
- Paid family leave advocacy at the state and local levels
- Support for implementation of Senate Bill (SB) 199 which requires child sexual abuse prevention education in schools
- Participation in the creation of the state’s Family First Prevention Services Plan to prevent entry into foster care
As a function of being invited to these tables, PCANC created an evaluation plan for policy work in the next year that includes using an equity lens, being data driven, and working in partnership with other statewide organizations and our Prevention Action Network (PAN).
In October, we were thrilled to promote Senior Partnership Engagement Manager Melea Rose-Waters to the role of Policy Director. She has been a part of the PCANC team since 2016, working with communities to develop the first Community Prevention Action Plan in Cumberland County (Fayetteville), which set the framework for other communities to build their own strategic plans to prevent child maltreatment. Her strong relationships across the state, social work training and advocacy experience make her the perfect fit for this important role.
One policy investment that Melea would like to see happen in North Carolina…
It’s hard to pick one because I want all of the items on our policy priority list to happen, but I will say all families having access to home visiting and parenting education could make a huge, positive difference for families. Evidence-based program outcomes in NC show a decrease of child abuse and neglect by almost 50%, but only around 1% of eligible families have access to any type of home visiting program. Healthy beginnings are critical for babies and parents need support while they’re doing the most rewarding, and most challenging, job – raising a family.
As a result of COVID-19, many families are facing stress and disruption. As this situation continues to evolve, we know that additional support will be needed to help children and families struggling with this crisis. Please refer to our COVID-19 policy page for more information on how we have shifted to advocate for families in response to this global pandemic.