The Work of Prevention: What Does It Look Like?
Lots of people call our office because they think that we take care of children who have already been abused. Sometimes they call us to report cases of child abuse or to report people who are on the sex offender registry. They see the child abuse before they see the PREVENT in our name. And while all of that work is important, we focus on prevention, primary prevention. What does that mean? Primary prevention reduces the likelihood of ACEs and toxic stress from ever occurring. We can't control all circumstances in the lives of our children. But we can shift toxic stress to manageable stress and we can help people through their most difficult moments.
When you buy a car, they give you a maintenance schedule -- steps that you can take to make sure that your new car runs well and lasts as long as possible. Over the course of your car's life, you may ask people for help to keep your car running smoothly. From a mechanic who changes your oil, to a neighbor who keeps an eye on it while you're out of town, to a friend who offers to carpool to save on wear and tear-- you take care of your car so it doesn't get damaged or break down when you need it.
That's how prevention works. You surround yourself with Protective Factors-- holistic and wrap-around buffers. Prevention in families is no different. Children don't come with a manual. Everyone can use a little parenting support. Parental stress can contribute to a parent or caregiver's inability to control their emotions and their temper. When that happens, abuse can happen too.
Life circumstances can also leave parents unable to care for their children in the way they would like. The loss of a job, an unexpected illness or injury, or an eviction notice can add pressure to an already stressful family situation.
But there are resources that can help parents alleviate those stressors, improve life circumstances, and strengthen their families. That's where we come in. Think of PCANY as the toolbox that is going to help build, maintain, and strengthen New York State's families.
And what about you? Maybe you are a parent who can be an ally to other parents. Maybe you are a parent who is struggling and could use some assistance. This could look like help finding child care, connecting to the local counseling center, or finding free diapers in your community. Or maybe you're not a parent at all, but that doesn't mean you can't still offer your support.
And that is where prevention starts. With us. And with you. Make a difference today.