2018 campaign focuses on recovery from trauma
The marquee event of the campaign was a lecture by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris M.D., the superstar physician whose groundbreaking research has helped practitioners understand how traumatic events during childhood, known as Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs, can cumulatively affect adult health and social outcomes, and how we might buffer against those ACEs and break the cycle of family violence. Dr. Harris focused on how children can heal from trauma, a particularly appropriate topic in the aftermath of the Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow.
Other events included Wear Blue Days, Pinwheel Plantings, screenings of the documentary film Resilience, and a Children's Memorial Flag raising.
Appearance by Dr. Harris
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris M.D. spoke on Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity at UCSB Campbell Hall on Monday April 16 at 7:30 p.m. Sponsored by KIDS Network and other community partners, the event was free. (See this printable flyer.) Attendance was tremendous. (See this Independent article for a brief recap.) Dr. Harris referenced her new book, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity. (See this press kit for more information about the book, including a Q&A with the author).
Since April 2017, CAPC has been hosting screenings countywide of the one-hour documentary film RESILIENCE: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope. Among other showings, it was played in 2018 Carpinteria on March 6 and in a “virtual screening" on April 3. Those who have seen RESILIENCE will recognize Dr. Harris from the film. (As of 2019, she has been named California’s first-ever Surgeon General; here is a 2019 interview with her about that position.)
One takeaway from the work of Dr. Harris, and others in the field such as Dr. Bruce Perry, is the need for trauma-informed care, which calls for a paradigm shift from "what's wrong with you" to "what happened to you." Another is a greater appreciation for the importance of protective factors that buffer against the effects of ACEs, including the importance of relationships with caring adults. These concepts are becoming more widely understood; in fact, Oprah Winfrey discussed them in a March 11 appearance on CBS' 60 Minutes, during which she interviewed Dr. Perry.
Prior to the lecture, Dr. Harris met a small group of community leaders for a cross-sector dialog about incorporating trauma-informed practices in their work. Attendees represented sectors including ECE and K-12 education, health care and behavioral wellness, philanthropy, family support, criminal justice, social services, and disaster recovery. They discussed how to link health care and social services, invigorate the ACEs Inititative, and grow a resilient community.
Information was made available on topics including: 30 ways to build protective factors (handout), the business case for investing in child development (infographic), and helping children after a natural disaster (handout).
For an overview of the ways that our local system of care is changing to better reflect what we know about ACEs, protective factors, and trauma-informed care, see this KIDS Network presentation from March 7, 2018.
Wear Blue days: CAPC encouraged people to “Wear Blue for Kids": that is, to show their support for child abuse prevention by wearing blue for a group photo that can be shared on social media with the #WearBlue4Kids hashtag. (For example, see this photo and social media post.)
Pinwheel Plantings: Like the Wear Blue days, Pinwheel Plantings are an annual CAP Month tradition. Pinwheels exemplify the innocence of youth. Groups raise awareness of child abuse in their area by coming together at a designated place and time to "plant" pinwheels in the ground. Each pinwheel represents 1 in 5 children suspected of being abused. The plantings were sponsored by North County Rape Crisis & Child Protection Center with support from First 5, and they occurred in Lompoc (April 2), Santa Maria (April 4), and Solvang (April 6). (Here are some photos from the Solvang and Santa Maria events.)
Children's Memorial Flag: There was a statewide raising of the Children's Memorial Flag on Children's Memorial Day, Friday April 27, as a way to close CAP Month activities. The flag was flown in remembrance of children whose lives were cut short by senseless violence. The flag was raised that day at the Santa Barbara DSS office, with a brief address from County Supervisor Joan Hartmann. (Here’s a photo of the flag and the attendees.)
Facebook: The CAPC Facebook page came alive to host a message a day (sometimes more) for Child Abuse Prevention Month, enabling members and community partners to share as desired on their own social media accounts.
Dr. Harris lecture:
S.B. Independent article
Press kit about Dr. Harris' book The Deepest Well
Information on protective factors (website)
KIDS Network presentation on ACEs & local system of care (slides)
30 ways to build protective factors (handout)
Business case for investing in child development (infographic)
Helping children after a natural disaster (handout)
Social media / awareness events: