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Why victims don’t tell: Sandusky case sheds light on complexities of sexual abuse

boy-one-tear-mediumAbused children don’t always tell someone what’s happened to them. Learn why in this article from The Livingston Post.com. Towards the end of the article, you’ll find:

– ways to protect your child from abusers,

– signs that a child may be a victim of sexual abuse, and

– what to do if a child tells you he’s been abused.

Learn how the CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region addresses child sexual abuse locally. Call Bonnie Skornia at (989) 752-7226.

Text4Baby a FREE Text Message Service for Expecting & New Mothers

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If you’re pregnant or a new mom, there is new free service called text4baby that can help keep you and your baby healthy. Text4baby will send 3 text messages each week to your cell phone with expert health tips to help you through your pregnancy and your baby’s first year.

  • • It’s free to sign up and the messages are free.
  • • To sign up, text BABY to 511411.
  • • To sign up for text4baby in Spanish, text BEBE to 511411.
  • • You can also sign up and find more at www.text4baby.org.

Text4baby helps new and expecting mothers give their babies the best possible start!  Text4baby is an educational service of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition.

Saginaw has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the state. Consider spreading the word about text4baby to your clients, congregants, program participants and patients.

If you are interested in getting more involved with text4baby, there are posters and other promotional materials available for your outreach efforts.  Please contact info@text4baby.org or 703-837-7548 for more information.

Each year in the U.S.,

  • • more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely, and
  • • an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday, signifying a national public health crisis.
  • • The infant mortality rate in the U.S. is one of the highest in the industrialized world, and
  • • prematurity is often cited as being a leading cause of infant mortality.

Children See, Children Do Video

kids-watchA picture is worth a 1,000,000 words in this case. This Children See, Children Do video illustrates the importance of what we as adults do when children are watching.

This is the first Television and Cinema Commercial released by NAP CAN through Child Friendly Australia. Produced with the generous and creative support of our Business Children’s Champion, DDB this campaign challenges every adult to exhibit only positive behaviour to children.

Free New Online Safety Resources for Parents from the FTC

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Source: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention e-newsletter

Guide Helps Parents Inform Their Children About Online Safety

Published by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), “Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online” offers parents practical tips to guide their children in navigating the online world.

As the guide notes, online means of interaction come with certain risks, including inappropriate conduct, contact, and content. The information that “Net Cetera” provides can help parents empower their children to reduce these risks.

This free resource is available via OnGuardOnline.gov, a Web site maintained by the FTC with support from its partners, among which is the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs.

Resources:

“Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online” is available online at www.onguardonline.gov/topics/net-cetera.aspx.

The guide is also available in Spanish at www.alertaenlinea.gov/pdf/stec04.pdf.

Bulk print copies may be ordered at bulkorder.ftc.gov/.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is a component of the Office of Justice Programs in the U.S. Department of Justice.


Child abuse drops sharply in U.S.

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We at the CAN Council are guarded but optimistic about this report.  It means that many of you have gotten involved in the prevention of child abuse in our county.  However, within the last few months, many of our family support programs have been cut or eliminated such as home visitation, family support and education.  We are making a difference but need to continue our efforts to keep our children a priority!  Thanks for caring so much!

MSNBC updated 5:38 p.m. ET, Tues., Feb. 2, 2010

NEW YORK - A massive new federal study documents an unprecedented and dramatic decrease in incidents of serious child abuse, especially sexual abuse. Experts hailed the findings as proof that crackdowns and public awareness campaigns had made headway.

An estimated 553,000 children suffered physical, sexual or emotional abuse in 2005-06, down 26 percent from the estimated 743,200 abuse victims in 1993, the study found.

“It’s the first time since we started collecting data about these things that we’ve seen substantial declines over a long period, and that’s tremendously encouraging,” said professor David Finkelhor of the University of New Hampshire, a leading researcher in the field of child abuse.

“It does suggest that the mobilization around this issue is helping and it’s a problem that is amenable to solutions,” he said.

The findings were contained in the fourth installment of the National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect, a congressionally mandated study that has been conducted periodically by the Department of Health and Human Services. The previous version was issued in 1996, based on 1993 data.

The new study is based on information from more than 10,700 “sentinels” — such as child welfare workers, police officers, teachers, health care professionals and day care workers — in 122 counties across the country. The detailed data collected from them was then used to make national estimates.

 What’s behind the decline?
The number of sexually abused children decreased from 217,700 in 1993 to 135,300 in 2005-2006 — a 38 percent drop, the study shows. The number of children who experienced physical abuse fell by 15 percent and the number of emotionally abused children dropped by 27 percent.

The 455-page study shied away from trying to explain the trends, but other experts offered their theories.

“There’s much more public awareness and public intolerance around child abuse now,” said Linda Spears, the Child Welfare League of America’s vice president for public policy. “It was a hidden concern before — people were afraid to talk about it if it was in their family.”

She also noted the proliferation of programs designed to help abusers and potential abusers overcome their problems.

Finkelhor, whose own previous research detected a drop in abuse rates, said the study reveals “real, substantial declines” that cannot be dismissed on any technical grounds, such as changing definitions of abuse.

He suggested that the decline was a product of several coinciding trends, including a “troop surge” in the 1990s when more people were deployed in child protection services and the criminal justice system intensified its anti-abuse efforts with more arrests and prison sentences.

Finkelhor also suggested that the greatly expanded use of medications may have enabled many potential child abusers to treat the conditions that otherwise might have led them to molest or mistreat a child.

“There’s also been a general change in perceptions and norms about what one can get away with, so much more publicity about these things,” he said.

Released to little fanfare
One curious aspect of the study was the manner of its release. Although HHS had launched the study in 2004 and invested several million dollars, it was posted a few days ago on the Internet with no fanfare — neither a press release nor a news conference. Finkelhor, noting that experts in the field had been impatiently awaiting the study, described this low-profile approach as “shocking.”

The findings might be disconcerting to some in the child-welfare field who base their funding pitches on the specter of ever-rising abuse rates, said Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform.

“The best use of scarce child welfare dollars is on prevention and family preservation — not on hiring more people to investigate less actual abuse,” Wexler said.

The study found some dramatic differences in child abuse rates based on socio-economic factors. Poor children were three times more likely than other kids to experience abuse, and rates of abuse in African-American families were significantly higher than for whites and Hispanics.

Family structure also was a factor — for example, children whose single parent had a live-in partner faced an abuse rate 10 times that of a child living with two parents.

 The main author of the study, Andrea Sedlak of the Rockville, Md.-based research firm Westat Inc., said she was heartened by the overall findings of declining abuse rates. However, she was troubled to find that more than half of child maltreatment incidents are not investigated by child-protection agencies.

“Is the system still so strapped?” she asked. “There’s still a lot of material here saying the system has a long way to go.”

The study does not cover the recent period in which the United States plunged into a recession, prompting some reports of increased domestic violence and abuse in hard-off families.

How You Can Change the Lives of Children in Your Community

Find out more on Suzanne Greenberg’s Blog

National Groundbreaking Study on Children

Go to From the Desk of Suzanne Greenberg to read more on this study regarding the effects of exposure of violence on children.