Visit the photo gallery from the 2018 Legislative Breakfast! Thanks to Kristopher Kohler.
TO THE NYS CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION (June 21, 2018)
Prevent Child Abuse New York, together with the undersigned organizations, wishes to convey extreme distress that the recently signed Executive Order regarding U.S. policy to separate immigrant children from their parents at the Mexican border fails to outline a plan for reunification. Not only has this practice of forcibly detaining children done irreparable harm, but that trauma will continue even after families are reunited.
The trauma experienced by these families is practically unimaginable. We know that any separation from a parent can be stressful; but in these cases, children traveling great distances to escape often violent circumstances were being torn from their families just as they reach what they hoped was safety. They committed no crime and should not have been punished.
We urge the implementation of a reunification process immediately.
Citizens Committee for Children
Early Care and Learning Council
Empowerment Collaborative of Long Island, Inc.
Family Leadership Network
Families Together in New York State
Good Shepherd Services
New York State Association for the Education of Young Children
New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault
New York State Network for Youth Success
New York Zero to Three Network
Parent-Child Home Program
Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts
Prevent Child Abuse New York
Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy
YMCA of Greater New York
Ellen Butowsky (NYS resident)
Jennifer Curry, Ed.D., Principal, Jennifer Curry Consulting
Isabel DaSilva (NYS resident)
Brittany Enekes (NYS resident)
Lisa Galatio (NYS resident)
Heather Larkin, Associate Professor, SUNY School of Social Work
Tamae Memole (NYS resident)
James Porter (NYS resident)
Beth Starks, Executive Director, Chautauqua Lake Child Care Center
Albert and Stacy Wilson (NYS residents)
TRAUMA IMPACTS SEPARATED FAMILIES (JUNE 21, 2018)
Albany, New York (June 21, 2018) – Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY) is deeply concerned about the trauma inflicted on children by the recently rescinded policy to separate them from their parents at the Mexican border. This policy resulted in a 20% increase in children being held separately. The trauma experienced by these families is practically unimaginable. We know that any separation from a parent can be stressful; but in these cases, children traveling great distances to escape often violent circumstances were being torn from their families just as they reached what they hoped was safety. They will continue to experience long-term consequences. Please contact PCANY for more information on trauma and child abuse.
Jenn O’Connor, Director of Policy and Advocacy, firstname.lastname@example.org, 880-3595
Tim Hathaway, Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse New York: “The forcible separation policy met the clinical definition of child abuse. Separating children from their parents is a traumatic experience, the implications of which will follow them through their lifetime. These children are suffering harsh and unjust consequences for a decision they did not have control over. We urge a trauma-informed reunification of families.”
Harvard’s Dr. Jack Shonkoff: “Two crucial points about early child development stand out from decades of scientific research. First, for babies and young children to develop sturdy brain architecture, they must have responsive, supportive, consistent relationships with a parent or primary caregiver. Second, high and persistent levels of stress can be toxic to young children’s brain development, with serious negative impacts on learning, behavior, and health across the lifespan. Sudden, forcible separation of children from their parents is traumatic for both, and triggers a severe, biological stress response in the child, which stays triggered until that familiar caregiver returns. And it removes the most important resource a child can have to buffer the effects of toxic stress—a responsive adult who’s known to that child. Each day we fail to return them to their parents, we compound the harm. There are ways to mitigate the damage, but the best thing we could do for them by far is to reunite them with their parents. If children were being fed poison and we asked, “What's the best treatment?”, the best answer is not to come up with an antidote, it's to stop poisoning them in the first place.”
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney: “Snatching children from their mothers’ arms and throwing them in cages is child abuse and it has to stop. Now. We’re fighting Trump down here with everything we’ve got – and we won’t stop until these innocent children are reunited with their
families – that’s a promise.”
Meredith Chimento: “As executive director at the Early Care and Learning Council, I want to express that this is not about where these children are housed. These children could be held in a five star hotel and this would still be inhumane and inappropriate. This trauma will impact their success in life.”
Anne Erickson, President and CEO of Empire Justice Center said “As Americans and New Yorkers, we all can agree that the sanctity of families and the rule of law are fundamental values that we hold dear. The actions of the federal government in tearing children away from their families at the southern border runs directly counter to these values. It is particularly horrifying that refugee parents are being prosecuted by the federal government for seeking a better life for their children, further traumatizing the family. Empire Justice stands in solidarity with immigrant communities across the country and are actively seeking ways to provide legal assistance to children housed here in New York”.
Paige Pierce, CEO of Families Together in New York State: "It is indisputable that separation of children from their family is deeply traumatizing and will cause lasting irreparable damage that will impact them throughout their lifetime. The administration's choice in April to enforce a blanket policy of prosecuting every undocumented family that crosses our nation's borders is simply unconscionable. While we support the intent of keeping these families together, it remains unclear if this most recent executive order will reunite the children who have been separated to date and if new incoming families will be held indefinitely. That is why we urge the President to simply return to the previous policy that they enforced before April."
Kelly Sturgis, Executive Director at New York State Network for Youth Success: "The stress and trauma inflicted on the children who have been separated from their parents at our border is unnecessary and immoral. After traveling thousands of miles to escape violence and death, these children are met with concrete and cold steel in a facility that lacks the proper number of trained staff to address the developmental needs of children who have undergone this type of journey. While the first step in ending this practice was taken yesterday by the president, every child must now be reunited with their parents immediately, and given the attention and care they need to address the trauma they have already experienced."
Robin Chappelle Golston, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts: “Separating children from their parents at the border is unconscionable, inhumane and only further traumatizes families fleeing violence and unimaginable hardship. The effects of this cruel and unjust policy may only be fully revealed decades from now. Every effort must be made to provide the skilled support these children require and to immediately reunite them with their families.”
Rifat Filkins, Executive Director, RISSE: "We stand in agreement with the Prevent Child Abuse NY concern for the hardships on children who are removed from their parents at the border. We urge everyone to respond as they see fit to government officials and humanitarian organizations."
Heather Larkin, Associate Professor at SUNY School of Social Work: "A vast body of research on adverse childhood experience (ACE) reveals powerful relationships between accumulated early life adversities, including loss of a parent, with serious, high cost health and social problems later in life. Many policy and community leaders are translating this knowledge of ACEs, toxic stress, and trauma to inform policy and practice approaches that build resilience and advance health. These policies and programs could serve as an example for alternative immigration policy in order to support the healthy development of all people — this is really a bipartisan concern in many communities across the country."
Dede Hill, Director of Policy, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy: “At Schuyler Center, our mission and passion is to advance policies that strengthen families and reducechildhood trauma. We are therefore shocked and dismayed that the federal government - in its deliberate and systematic separation of immigrant children from their parents – has pursued a policy intended to leverage children's trauma to achieve a political end. We urge our elected leaders to be guided by compassion, not politics, and ensure that children whohave been separated from their parents are reunited immediately. These families - many of whom are fleeing unthinkable violence in their country of origin - should be treated with humanity and respect as their immigration cases are processed.”
Healthy Families New York featured in LiveSmart
To describe and promote the work of HFNY in the Capital District, Laurie McBain, LCSW-R, Program Manager, Healthy Families of Rensselaer County wrote:
"Access to Community Resources, Services Makes for Healthier Families, a LiveSmart article for the Times Union. She highlights that parents who receive home visiting with Healthy Families have healthier babies, demonstrate better knowledge of parenting and child development, create positive family bonds, develop connections to community services, and have children who do better in school, among many other benefits and positive outcomes."
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month:
Five Steps We Can All Take to Protect Our Children
From the discovery of the 13 Turpin children in California to the conviction of USA Gymnastics team doctor, child abuse has been making headlines – and leaving many feeling helpless about
how to prevent another tragedy.
In New York State, 65,000 children suffer abuse each year. In the U.S., five children die each day from injuries related to child abuse. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Tim
Hathaway, Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY) says there are five key steps we can all take to better protect all children:
1. Build relationships with children in your life. Whether family members, neighbors or children you see at church, start a conversation. Then, Hathaway says, listen more than talk,
ask open ended questions, avoid judgment, pay attention to any behavior changes, know their friends and show you care about their world. Children need adults outside the home
that they can trust.
2. Connect with people. Too often, we close the garage door behind us or stay glued to our phones – never speaking with our neighbors. Hathaway points out the abuse in California
happened for years, right under peoples’ noses. He suggests getting to know those living and working around you, walking around your neighborhood, making eye contact in your
building and starting conversations.
3. Be aware of resources. Support local groups that are creating positive experiences for kids and families, through donations, volunteering or spreading the word. Know where to go for
support and be ready to direct others, if needed. New York State offers a free, confidential 24-hour helpline: 1-800- CHILDREN (or 1-800- 244-5373). If you or someone you know
suspects child abuse, it can be reported at: 1-800- 342-3720.
4. Vote – and hold elected leaders accountable. Ask what your local, state and federal representatives are doing to help children and families. Hathaway suggests signing online
petitions, calling and writing to legislators in support of policies and funding that help kids. To schedule advocacy training in your community, contact Jenn O’Connor at: email@example.com. To stay on top of issues, sign up for PCANY’s free e- newsletter at: preventchildabuseny.org.
5. Raise awareness through “Pinwheels for Prevention.” A pinwheel, Hathaway explains, represents carefree childhood and serves as the national symbol for preventing child abuse.
In 2017, over 200 groups created “Pinwheels for Prevention Gardens” in public spaces across New York State to raise awareness. Talk to your town, club, school or sports program
about joining the effort. Visit: preventchildabuseny.org for a free seed kit.
“These five tips are actions that we can all take to make our communities stronger and safer for children,” Hathaway says. “Every child deserves to grow up safe and happy. If we pledge to be
more aware, share information and support organizations, policies and programs that benefit families, we can prevent child abuse in New York State.”
Throughout the month of April, events are planned across the state to raise awareness about child abuse prevention. For a list, or events in a specific city or region, contact Wendi
Brandow at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518.880.3587.
As the only statewide not for profit dedicated exclusively to preventing child abuse and neglect, Prevent Child Abuse New York has successfully advocated for policies that target root causes of
abuse. Created in 1980, the organization also provides trainings across the state and works to build greater awareness about child abuse in our communities.
**PHOTO OF PINWHEEL EVENTS, HEADSHOT OF TIM HATHAWAY AVAILABLE**
Statewide Home Visiting Orientation/Training Coordinator Proposal
New York State’s home visiting staff, representing six research-based programs (Early Head Start, Healthy Families New York (HFNY), Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), Parents as Teachers (PAT), and The Parent-Child Home Program, Inc. (PCHP), provide services to thousands of families. Still, only about 5% of eligible children are receiving services. We must increase staff/program capacity. This can be achieved by providing increased support of staff and better preparing them for their jobs. By increasing staff retention, we will provide more consistent supports for families—which, in turn, will increase family retention rates.
Read the full proposal here.
New York 2018 State ACEs Profile
As knowledge about the science of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) spreads, ACEs initiatives have launched in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Hundreds of cross-sector collaboratives are educating and engaging organizations and policymakers about ACEs science. In turn, these organizations are implementing trauma–informed and resilience-building practices and policies based on ACEs science; many legislatures are passing resolutions and/or bills.
Follow this link to visit the 2018 profile of resources in the State of New York.
Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY) began a process of self-examination in 2016; asking tough questions about what we hope to accomplish, who we are reaching, and how we can best achieve our mission to end child abuse in New York State.
Kudos to the entire Healthy Families New York Central Administration and the operations of the system serving programs in the field, including all partners; New York State Office of Children and Family Services staff, the University at Albany, SUNY Research Team, local sites and Prevent Child Abuse New York following their assessment by the Healthy Families America National Accreditation team. The reviewers made comments like "seamless administration of programs" and "best system in the nation!"
Prevent Child Abuse NY is pleased to announce that we are accepting applications from local coalitions to mobilize community-wide efforts in the prevention of child sexual abuse in New York through the Enough Abuse Campaign! The Enough Abuse Campaign is a grassroots movement, originally developed in Massachusetts, that is now gaining momentum across the country. Currently, Maryland, New Jersey, Nevada, California and New York all have active Enough Abuse Campaigns throughout their states. Information and forms are available through the links below. If you have any questions, please contact Brittany Enekes at email@example.com.