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The numbers speak for themselves. One out of ten children will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday. To break that down more, in a classroom of 20 children the potential is great that two children have been abused. That should be enough to raise our standards in ensuring that all organizations that are youth serving have child protection policies and procedures in place.

How to Keep Children Safe this Summer!

Trauma is the experience of psychological distress following any terrible and/or life-threatening event such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, witnessing domestic violence, or any situation in which a child feels out of control or distressed. Immediately following a trauma, it is usual to experience shock or denial before transitioning into other emotions such as fear, anger, guilt, and shame.
What are some signs that your child may be experiencing trauma....
What are some ways you can help your child build resilience and heal from trauma.....

The term resilience has become a “buzz” word across disciplines focused on prevention, intervention and treatment of trauma, adversity, and toxic stress. So, what is resilience anyway? How can we better understand the role that resilience plays? And how do we identify and promote the development of resilience? This article seeks to provide insight into these very important questions while acknowledging that we are only scratching the surface of a vital element of healing and hope.

Childhood trauma is not something that I think anyone might wish for. Honestly, I had never even considered myself a survivor, a victim, or anything of the sort for the longest time. It was just something awful that happened, and I put it behind me. Childhood trauma comes in many shapes and sizes, from sexual abuse, physical, emotional, or verbal on top of possible exposure to potentially disturbing situations. While we know that some children are more at risk than others, we also know that everyone is susceptible to these adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
Read more from a survivor on how they overcame the trauma and provides helpful information regarding prevention and building resilience.

I didn’t know that abuse was abnormal as a child. When something appears to be an everyday way of life, you begin to believe that this is exactly how it’s supposed to be. In fact, you feel out of place and unloved and unseen when abuse is not the language being spoken to you. It’s amazing the lessons that we learn as children and the clarity that we hunger for as adults.
Read further the remarkable words from an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

Spring has sprung, flowers are blooming, and pinwheels are popping up all over!
Gardens of bright blue pinwheels are being “planted” in numerous locations around Cumberland County in honor of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The pinwheel serves as a reminder of a happy, safe and carefree childhood, one that every child deserves.
The Child Advocacy Center will be planting a Pinwheel Garden on April 1, in honor of the 959 children that were referred to the center in fiscal year 2020-21. The pinwheels will remain on display throughout the month of April.
Read about all the activities that will be happening in April and don't forget to order your pinwheel garden kit. . https://www.cacfaync.org/how-to-help/pinwheel-gear.html

There is a scary, dark side, to the digital world that is dangerous to children. Covid’s increased internet usage has created more online time and predator focus surrounding issues that are problematic for kids. Instead of discussing all of the challenges and dangers of technology and the internet, this author proposes a possible “digital world safety net” that all parents should adopt. Bark (www.bark.us) is an application that can be utilized as a “watchdog” for internet safety. It is regarded as the best comprehensive parental control tool for families challenged with internet safety.

How has COVID stress impacted you and your family. What are some recommendations to cope with stress within our families.
Googling COVID/pandemic including the phrase mental health results in 2,210,000 hits. Most certainly this is a topic that is relevant and updated daily to include studies that have been conducted around the world. It is truly mind-boggling the amount of information that is available in reference to how COVID stress has affected families worldwide to include our children. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Mayo Clinic, UNICEF, and other agencies around the world have been addressing the pandemic and its mental health impact on families. The articles and studies have a consistent theme in that families are coping with a different kind of stress than they have previously experienced ....

We’ve probably all witnessed this scene play out time and time again, often in movies, commercials, comic strips, and even in real-life instances: a reluctant, hesitant, and sometimes even resistant child is encouraged and yes, sometimes even forced into a hug or kiss from an adult. “Oh, go ahead, give your Great Aunt Ethel a hug!” Learn why it is important to teach children how to enforce their own body safety boundaries.

Child abuse is a community problem, one that affects all of us either directly or indirectly. Research has told us for many years that childhood trauma has long-term negative impact for the child and society. Adverse childhood experiences such as child abuse are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death in the United States, as well as for poor quality of life. Not only do these consequences cost our children their happiness and well-being, they cost our community economically. The rising cost of health care and mental health services, substance abuse, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency and drop-out rates affect all of us and have a negative impact on our community.

Just the mention of childhood sexual abuse startles a person’s senses as a rush of emotions can flood a person’s mind whether you are a victim or know of someone who is a victim. It is not a topic many people want to discuss because discussing sexual abuse means that it is a reality in our world. Unfortunately, it is not only a reality, but it is a commonality as well. Until the last 10 years or so, this issue has been unspoken in public and hushed in families so no one would know. But being able to talk honestly about an issue promotes the ability to cope with emotions and memories of the trauma of abuse. So, let’s talk about it here! There is hope in coping skills. .....

Learn about the benefits and joys of volunteering and how you can assist us at the Child Advocacy Center.

What happens when the child's parent or caregiver is the trafficker? What happens then....Familial trafficking is more common than most people think.

Many people still envision kidnapping when they think of sex trafficking. However, the truth is that kidnapping is quite uncommon. Cultural, economic, and other factors play a role in shaping the manifestation of human trafficking causing the sex trafficking of children to look different depending on geographic areas.
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Let’s take some time to educate ourselves about what human trafficking really is and how we all have a part to play in combatting it.

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month - What is the role of Children's Advocacy Centers (CAC) in identifying, preventing and raising awareness around this issue. Read how one Children's Advocacy Center in Gaston County is approaching this problem.

Individuals being trafficked are people just like you and me. They are family members, friends, neighbors, etc. Individuals need to learn how to recognize the signs and how to report if suspected trafficking is taking place.

A new year can bring about many changes as we look forward to what the year may hold. It may include things such as a new job, new classes at school, new baby, new family members through marriage, etc. And the list can go on and on.....

For many the holidays bring out lots of food, family gatherings and celebrations at school, home, with friends, etc. For some those things that are identified as fun and exciting can actually be triggers for those who have experienced trauma due to abuse. The usual things that we hear and enjoy as we celebrate like Christmas carols, certain scents, maybe even a place where family gatherings take place can bring an onset of triggers.

The holidays can be a very stressful time for families. Families are pulled in so many different directions. Suzi has her Christmas program at school. Johnny has his band concert. Then there is the church musical on Sunday. Don’t forget the presents—we must pick out the perfect gift for all those on the list. And the list goes on, and on, and on.
Holidays are meant to be a fun, exciting time for children and adults alike. However, as stress increases it can lead to child abuse and neglect. Many factors can play a part such as children being home more, traveling to see family and friends, the financial stress the holidays can add and more........

If you're a military family you have probably spent time away from you extended family - probably more than once! Holidays can be extremely challenging for military families especially when a family member is deployed. Finding ways to stay connected is very important.

The holidays can be a time of excitement, laughter, surprises and making memories with our family and close friends. It also can be a time of added stress which can lead to domestic violence and child abuse. What can you do to keep your children safe during the holidays.......

Figuring out how to celebrate the holidays after a divorce can be extremely stressful for all family involved but it can also be a wonderful opportunity to establish new holiday traditions.

We are often quick to thank those who dedicate their lives to military service to our country. We recognize how they put their lives on the line so they may protect and serve the land we love. And yet, anyone who lives on a military base or is part of a military family knows our heroes face distinct challenges that civilian families simply do not encounter. More specifically, the children of our military heroes are at particular risk.

A child you care about has reported being the victim of a crime, what will happen? What should you expect? What agencies will be involved?

My son disclosed child sexual abuse to me (his mom) at the age of nine. The abuser was a “friend” and colleague of my husband. Our family was quickly thrown into a world that was not familiar to us. Here are some things I learned that I didn’t want to know:

Learn more about children who have experienced trauma or neglect and how the exposure can result in misunderstood distressed and dysregulated behavior, often leaving the parent or caregiver helpless and frustrated. In cases where children experience trauma or neglect, research shows that the experience results in a chemical and structural change to the child's developing brain. This article offers a look into the causes of this and how to properly understand and address.

Depending on the local context, certain groups in society may be particularly susceptible to experiencing mental health problems, including households living in poverty, people with chronic health conditions, minority groups, and persons exposed to and/or displaced by war or conflict.

The importance of slowing down and recognizing the importance of the crucial and critical details in working with criminal justice cases involving children.

Read the following blog to learn about twenty "Great Comeback" suggestions from Cumberland County school social workers as we navigate our way through the new school year.

"As we make our way through a new school year in Cumberland County Schools, we have embraced “The Great Comeback” as our motto. We are coming back with new goals, hopes, and plans. We need the community to join us with ongoing support “on deck” to make this vision a reality!" Pamela Story, MSW Social Work Coordinator/Homeless Liaison, Cumberland County Schools

In honor of National Grandparents Day, Sunday, September 12th, we wanted to recognize grandparents and the special role they have in children’s lives. There is a special connection between children and grandparents that has been proven for longevity in grandparents lives and in emotional resilience in children.

Grandparents Day is a great opportunity to to treasure that connection and to spend quality family time at a family gathering or connecting by phone, Facetime or virtually for a “Zoom” date.

"Child abuse is a community problem, one that affects all of us either directly or indirectly. Effective prevention and intervention holds potential for lessening the suffering and trauma experienced by children and greatly reducing these economic costs.

The Child Advocacy Center offers many programs to teach the community how to Recognize and Report Child Abuse and Neglect, and how to protect children from sexual abuse. Hundreds of thousands of children are sexually violated by adults they know and trust every year. More than 90% of the time, the child is abused by someone the family knows and trusts, and that is why it is crucial for every adult in our community to become educated on how to prevent and recognize child abuse and how to make a report if they suspect abuse."

"We are learning a lot more about the effects of social determinants on childhood resilience (the ability to withstand or bounce back from harmful and even toxic events). It turns out that impacts created by social determinants can be improved through strong personal and professional social networks." Robin Jenkins, PhD, Guest Blogger

Spring is here! As you look around you see flowers blooming, trees are budding, birds are singing, and the freshness of Spring is in the air...

The Fayetteville Running Club (FRC) and the Fayetteville Area TriWarriors presented Roberta Humphries...

To learn more and for a list of resources on Human Trafficking, please visit the following links:

As we approach the end of the year, there are current legislative proposals that need to be revised before they are passed by the end of 2020...

A warm and soothing environment where pediatric patients and their parents can feel comfortable and safe...

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