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Child Abuse Prevention Month: Resources and Learning Opportunities from OJJDP and the NMRC

APRIL 9, 2019

Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time for communities nationwide to encourage action to improve the safety and well-being of youth. National Child Abuse Prevention Month is an annual observance that focuses on promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families, and raising awareness about the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect. According to a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report, 3.5 million children were subject to at least one maltreatment report in fiscal year 2017. OJJDP is partnering with the HHS Administration for Children and Families’ Children’s Bureau, the National Children’s Alliance, and OJJDP’s National Mentoring Resource Center to promote community partnerships and support efforts to address child abuse and neglect. Learn more about these partnerships and what you can do to end child abuse.

This month at the NMRC, we are working to highlight mentoring programs and practices that support safe and healthy families. We invite you to join us for a special webinar, called Supporting Child Welfare through Mentoring: Building Effective Partnerships on Tuesday, April 30th, from 1-2:15 PM EST. Register here. This webinar will highlight OJJDP mentoring grantees who partner with child welfare organizations and support the safety and welfare of children and families. Practitioners from Friends of the Children, Family Services of the Merrimack Valley, and the Mentor Connector will share how their mentoring programs support child abuse prevention efforts, and provide recommendations on successful partnerships with child welfare and advocacy organizations to provide coordinated and comprehensive supports to children and families. Register here.

Other resources from the NMRC related to family support and child safety include:

  • In 2015 the Collaborative Mentoring Webinar Series facilitated the webinar A New Lens For Mentoring: Trauma Informed Care. The webinar focused on how young people participating in mentoring programs may have experienced some kind of trauma already in their short lives. How the environment, including significant adults, interacts with these youth can impact the healing process. When programs commit to a Trauma Informed Care approach to all of their services, they are promoting healing environments that will especially positively impact the mentoring relationship. Click the link to watch the recording, find more resources and learn more about how to apply a trauma informed lens of care to all aspects of your program – mentees, mentors, and staff – and specific strategies that mentors can use with their mentees to promote building a safe, trusting, and transforming relationship.

  • A practice study posted on CrimeSolutions.gov on Family Check-Up (FCU) for Adolescents resulted in an evidence rating of Promising Practice. Family Check-Up (FCU) for Adolescents is a family-centered preventive intervention based on a health maintenance model. It is designed to assist families with high-risk adolescents, ages 11–17 by targeting parental engagement and motivating parents to improve their parenting practices. Moreover, it offers a menu of family-centered interventions that support effective family management practices and promote the well-being and improved behavior of children and adolescents. The goal of FCU is to reduce the growth of adolescents’ problem behaviors and substance abuse, improve parenting skills, and reduce family conflict. Read the full review on CrimeSolutions.gov here.

  • A population review on Mentoring for Youth in Foster Care was conducted by the National Mentoring Resource Center Research Board members Dr.’s Heather Taussig and Lindsey Weiler. This review examines research on mentoring youth in foster care and provides an in-depth review on the benefits and risk factors of mentoring youth in foster care

  • In 2017 the Collaborative Mentoring Webinar Series facilitated the webinar Mentoring Youth in Foster Care: Considerations and Strategies: Approximately 400,000 young people in the United States are in foster care on any given day, many of whom have experienced trauma and adversity beyond their peers. These young people face unique challenges, including changing home environments and placements, disruption to their education, and limited access to support and resources as they transition into adulthood. A well-trained adult can support youth in foster care as they navigate these obstacles and plan for the future, but mentoring programs must take special care to design organizational environments that foster empathy and create procedures that respond to the unique challenges, assets, and circumstances experienced by these young people. Panelists will discuss approaches to mentor recruitment, screening, training, and match support, as well as connecting youth with additional resources, preparing youth to “age out” of the foster care system, and nurturing youth voice and self-determination.

  • Check out other valuable mentoring program resources located on the National Mentoring Resource Center website such as Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence as a Mentor, Supporting Young People in the Wake of Violence and Trauma and Mentoring Guide for Life Skills

  • Art Heals! How ART + MENTORS = RESILIENCE is a blog post from Jessica Flowers, Program Director, Free Arts For Abused Children of Arizona. Free Arts uses the healing powers of the arts to help abused and homeless children build resiliency and learn to trust and heal. All of the children in Free Arts programs have experienced combinations of family trauma, homelessness, and violence. To begin to heal, they need services including mentoring, a caring community, and an opportunity to learn new skills and express themselves.

You may find these additional resources from OJJDP and its partners useful as well:

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