Sunday, May 15, 2011

Resources: Child Voices, Zero to Three Reports on Child Maltreatment and Policy

The Child Welfare League of America provides some very useful advocacy resources online, including the Children's Monitor, a very informative e-newletter.
Sign up to receive the Children's Monitor - CWLA's weekly e-newsletter containing the latest information on federal legislation and policy affecting children, youth, and families is now available only online-and it's absolutely free. Link to sign up page
Maltreatment of Young Children: Risk and Response

Attention to the maltreatment of the youngest children was amplified over Child Abuse Prevention Month in April. In particular, two reports were released that together reveal infants and toddlers' elevated risk of maltreatment and resulting harm, as well as policies, programs, and practices to counter both.

Child Trends released Young and Vulnerable: Children Five and Under Experience High Maltreatment Rates, which makes use of data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect, and the National Incidence Study to demonstrate youngest children's disproportionate maltreatment through an array of statistical analysis. The paper concludes with an overview of relevant federal policies.

Additionally, Zero To Three and policy partners, including CWLA's Linda Spears, Vice President of Policy and Public Affairs, published A Call to Action on Behalf of Maltreated Infants and Toddlers. This report represents a collective vision of important policy, program, and practice steps to better address the developmental needs of infants and toddlers who come to the attention of the child welfare system. It is intended to provide a starting point for federal, state, and local policymakers and administrators to assess and identify where and how they can revise or institute policies and practices that protect the development and safety of infants and toddlers.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

SBS Prevention Education: in Iowa, all it takes is a sixth-grader...

As the WCF Courier reports, there are some remarkable sixth-graders in Waterloo, Iowa: they educated a high school class at Columbus High School about the danger of shaking a young child. Link to article

Kudos to students Kaleb Boleyn, Luke Pranger and Jaime Mayerand their teacher, Nancy Hank, of St. Edward School!

St. Edward's class educates fellow students

By ANDREW WIND, Saturday, April 30, 2011

St. Edwards School sixth-grader Kaleb Boleyn shows the proper way to hold and burp a baby with classmates Luke Pranger and Jaime Mayer looking on as they made a presentation to a class at Columbus High School in Waterloo, Iowa, on Thursday, April 28, 2011. (RICK CHASE / Courier Staff Photographer)

WATERLOO, Iowa --- Emily Gilstrap ignored her instincts when handed the crying baby doll.

Instead, the Columbus High School senior began shaking the doll, which fell silent within seconds. Designed to cry regularly to simulate an infant's behavior, the doll also features a transparent head that showcases its brain.

As the crying stopped, several red lights were activated in the front and back of the brain. Gilstrap's class had just learned those areas control emotions, problem solving and eyesight. If it had been a real baby, the amount of force from the shaking would have caused brain damage.

"It wasn't a very comfortable feeling," Gilstrap said, voicing surprise at how quickly the doll indicated brain damage.

Her child development class got a lesson Thursday on shaken baby syndrome from an unlikely source. Four sixth-graders in Karen Nank's St. Edward School class made a presentation on the topic as part of a service learning project.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. The St. Edward students narrowed down their project to shaken baby syndrome once they decided to focus on child abuse issues.

"After we got the facts, we thought it was the issue that needed the most attention," said sixth-grader Brian Knapp. Members of the class, making more presentations today at St. Edward, use the doll on loan from the Family & Children's Council of Black Hawk County to help emphasize their message.

The sixth-graders --- who also include Jaime Mayer, Kaleb Boleyn and Luke Pranger --- told the Columbus class that a child up to 5 years old could suffer brain damage after being shaken for as little as five to 20 seconds. Mayer said that babies typically are shaken by a care giver who is feeling stressed.

"Almost all cases are caused by a baby crying," she said. "A baby would have to fall from a two-story building to get the effect of a shaken baby."

A Black Hawk County prosecutor told the students that someone who causes brain damage by shaking a baby could be charged with child endangerment, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. A quarter of all shaken baby cases result in death, for which the perpetrator could be charged with first degree murder and receive life in prison if convicted in Iowa.

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Members of the St. Edward's class created a brochure with tips on alternate ways to deal with a crying child that will be handed out by the Family & Children's Council.