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Reaching Children Through Their Parents

Abi GewirtzJune 14, 2017
Research Into Practice
It’s no great surprise that much of our work in advocating for the well-being of children focuses on, well, the children—how to interact with them, how to help them manage stress and trauma, how to recognize symptoms and identify treatments.However, a large body of evidence shows that intervening with parents to strengthen parenting can have enormously positive effects for the entire family, and that those beneficial effects only grow over ti...Continue

Finding Our Voice

Emily Chittenden-LairdFebruary 9, 2017
I’m a millennial. It’s a characterization I balk against for all its negative connotations, but thanks to Mom, Dad, and 1983, I am one. And for all the challenging characteristics of millennials, there’s one I find particularly true of us on the older end of the spectrum—an ingrained belief that the bright-eyed, emerging from college versions of ourselves espoused: we were supposed to do our part in healing the world.I was lucky enough to...Continue

Why I Give

Henry ShiembobDecember 13, 2016
Some might say I don’t fit the profile. I don’t work at a Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC), or even in child welfare. I’m not a researcher connecting the dots between child abuse and a host of lifelong problems. I’m not a police officer or a prosecutor. I’m not a survivor of abuse. I’m not a therapist who helps survivors get their lives back.In other words, some might ask why I support the CAC movement when I’m not directly affect...Continue

The Lifelong Sting of Abuse

Beth BrandesApril 13, 2017
Personal Narratives
NOTE: This story contains graphic descriptions of violence against children.I was 23 years old, in my first job as an assistant social worker in the Atlanta schools, when I was called to the principal’s office of a quiet suburban elementary school. The principal met me with hushed tones outside his office door and said, “I need you to look at Timmy; he is seven, in my office. His teacher thinks something has happened to him.” Forty years la...Continue

An Open Letter to Warriors

Katya EstesDecember 8, 2016
Personal Narratives
At 10 a.m., on July 12, 2016, I was given the chance to use my voice against something that has kept me silent for years. I testified against my grandfather, who took from me my innocence, dignity, and hope. On the stand that day, I wore several pieces of jewelry I received from victims, who endured traumatizing experiences but never had a chance at justice. The pieces symbolized strength, inspiration, and encouragement to show that abuse is a tr...Continue

The Coda of Abuse

Deondra BrownNovember 28, 2016
Personal Narratives
As a concert pianist, I have the opportunity to perform music I love for people all over the world. It is a dream. It is a joy beyond words. But don’t let my smile fool you. My journey has not been without great obstacles, some of which I will face the rest of my life.I would never have fathomed that my father could sexually abuse me. Nothing can prepare you for that breach of trust and the type of sorrow and loss that occurs. When I came forwa...Continue

When Does Abuse End and Assault Begin?

Karen FarstMarch 6, 2017
While child sexual abuse can take many forms, it is typical for the child (and family) to know the offender. The offender uses this relationship to “groom” the child so that abuse can involve more invasive physical contact over time. This grooming process is not only part of the reason that there is often not physical evidence of the abuse once it is disclosed, but is also part of the dynamic that causes more than half of sexual abuse victims...Continue

Is Treatment a Four-Letter Word?

Jennifer ReddingNovember 10, 2016
Sometimes I wonder if treatment is considered a four-letter word. Over the past 11 years, I’ve partnered with the Harford County Children’s Advocacy Center here north of Baltimore, providing treatment onsite and offsite through a nonprofit agency as well as a private practice. One of the most difficult tasks is getting a child and his/her family in the door for treatment. From my perspective, I’ve watched hundreds of children heal from thei...Continue

Treatment Starts with Assessment. Assessment Starts with Engagement.

Jeffrey WherryNovember 3, 2016
Research Into Practice
NCA’s new Standards for Accredited Members call for an initial standardized mental health assessment and periodic re-assessment of children which serve to inform treatment. Every discussion about assessment (or screening) must be prefaced by a definition of what we are screening or assessing. Good practice dictates, and the Standards require, an assessment of other potential traumatic or abusive events, as well as resulting symptoms. Multiple t...Continue

Measuring Success in Addressing Child Abuse

Kristie McKenneyFebruary 24, 2017
How-Tos for Leaders
I’ll never forget the way people used to look at me when I would tell them that we had a successful year at our Children’s Advocacy Center because there was a 25-percent increase in the child sexual abuse cases we saw.  All wide-eyed and somewhat exasperated, their response would sound something like, “More children being abused is considered success?”  Well, not exactly. We were successful because we reached more children. The...Continue