By: Sharon Hirsch, Prevent Child Abuse NC President & CEO
Date Posted: January 23, 2019

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.

  • We build the capacity of prevention professionals across the state who host *evidence-based family strengthening and parenting programs that build strong families and keep children safe.
  • We build capacity for public support of upstream investments that have proven they will prevent abuse from ever happening.
  • We build capacity for communities to focus resources, time and talent on child abuse prevention plans.
  • We build capacity for faith communities, educators and the general public to build the connections and relationships that are vital to preventing and buffering the impact of *Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Capacity building is at the heart of the work we do at PCANC in 2019.

We’ve come a long way from the days of public awareness campaigns with themes like “don’t be a slugger, be a hugger” or pictures of lips with “the only smack your child ever needs” to today where we focus on ACEs, trauma, childhood brain science, the importance of connections and investing upstream in programs and strategies backed by science.

Celebrating our 40th anniversary this year is possible because of visionary leaders like Dr. Ronald Keeney, Evelyn Williams, Alene Dawson and other early PCANC board members who felt it was possible and important to raise awareness about healthy child development.

Our first CEO, Jennifer Tolle Whiteside, led the charge in the 1990’s and built the institutional capacity and expertise of PCANC staff as recognized experts in child maltreatment prevention. In 2008, President & CEO Rosie Allen continued the momentum with an emphasis on supporting evidence-based programs across the state.

Today, with a team of 22 experienced, talented staff, Prevent Child Abuse NC is working in all 100 NC counties – by providing technical assistance and coaching for parenting programs like Incredible Years or Triple P; training on the Protective Factors; hosting Resilience documentary screenings with community conversations; providing technical assistance to build Community Child Abuse Prevention Plans; supporting communities in recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Month by planting Pinwheels for Prevention in April; or leading webinars on policy changes at the state and federal levels to support prevention.

We’re excited about how far we’ve come – and thrilled that so many of you are connected with us and this critical work to build the safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments we know NC’s children need to grow up safe, healthy and loved.

Join us in our continued efforts to build NC’s capacity to be the best place for children to grow up by participating in one of our events this year to help us celebrate this milestone:

Thank you for being a part of our past and future success!


*Evidence-based – An evidence-based program is one supported by rigorous research demonstrating its effectiveness.
Adverse Childhood Experiences – Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are stressful or traumatic events, including abuse and neglect, that may cause a Toxic Stress response.