2015 campaign focuses on violence against children
In 2015, multiple sports figures were in the media spotlight for acts of violence. Where spousal abuse and/or assault are concerned, there is little debate. Yet when it comes to children, there is disagreement about what is considered acceptable adult behavior.
For April 2015, our Santa Barbara County Child Abuse Prevention Month campaign focused on spanking and alternatives to violence against children.
The fact is, parenting is hard. It can be a challenge to teach children to listen, show respect and behave appropriately. It’s helpful to know what the experts are saying about the best way to help children develop those skills. Just like we learned that hand washing can prevent illness, and seat belts can prevent injuries in car accidents, we now know that spanking is not an effective way to help children learn good behavior. Spanking may temporarily stop bad behavior, but in the long run, it does not teach children the relationship skills they need to thrive in the world. In fact, spanking gives children confusing messages about trust and love and the use of aggression to solve problems.
CAPC wants parents to know that there is a better way to help children grow into responsible adults. Positive discipline is the key. We sought to help people understand why children misbehave, how parents can address it without spanking, and where they could find parenting classes for more information.
Throughout April 2015 and beyond, CAPC members took the message public with a flyer and poster, talking points (like these), tip sheets (on topics like positive discipline and positive daily acts that reinforce Protective Factors), and media appearances (including an April 15 appearance by Barbara Finch of CAPC and Deborah Homes of CALM on the "About Education" show sponsored by AHA! and co-hosted by Neil Kreisel of SBCC and Ben Romo of First 5).
Additionally, the Santa Maria Times carried an article on the County's Front Porch program, a key ingredient in child abuse prevention. If a family is referred to Child Welfare Services because of suspected abuse or neglect, the department may find it isn't a clear case of child abuse but that the family is struggling. That family then is referred to Front Porch, which helps connect them with the third-party services and resources.
CAPC also gave a presentation on May 12, 2015, to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, on the Santa Barbara County Partnership for Strengthening Families. The purpose was to provide information about the County's strategy for child abuse and neglect prevention, and encourage Board support for policies helpful to that effort. This interagency partership of CAPC, the Child Care Planning Council, and the Network of Family Resource Centers, focuses primarily on families with young children, as they are the most vulnerable to abuse and most impacted by toxic stress. The partnership uses the research-based Strengthening Families approach, which calls for building networks of family support so that families in crisis or at risk are linked to resources that help them build the protective factors that move them toward safety and self-sufficiency. You can find all the information and materials from that presentation here.