How we’re working to prevent child abuse
By Beth McKeithan
Special to the Salisbury Post
Recently we have received many questions regarding our prevention programs here at Prevent Child Abuse Rowan since donations from Erica’s Angel are earmarked for prevention and education here with our center. The first step of Prevent Child Abuse Rowan’s approach to ending child abuse is to prevent the cycle of abuse. There are clear links among child maltreatment and future violence perpetration or victimization; studies show that about 30 percent of abused and neglected children will later abuse children, continuing this cycle. Prevent Child Abuse Rowan believes the key to preventing child abuse is education and awareness, which is exactly what our prevention programs provide.
The Stop-Go-Tell program is a school-based prevention program that is interactive and developmentally appropriate curriculum for all first- and fifth-grade students in Rowan County. The primary goal is to equip children with skills needed to prevent or interrupt physical, emotional, neglect or sexual abuse. The program teaches children how to identify unsafe situations and how to build skills to help them resist child abuse.
Children learn that the overwhelming majority of time, the person who breaks the rules will not be a stranger. Typically, it is someone they know well. The most important part of the plan is to let the child know they have permission to tell one of their trusted adults to get help. We are one of the first counties to adopt this program — with a wonderful partnership with the Rowan-Salisbury School System, Salisbury Academy and North Hills Christian School — and have had excellent results. This program is funded 100 percent by donations and local grants. Melissa Shue is our Prevention and Education Coordinator and facilitates this program; for more information, please call 704-639-1700.
The Nurturing Parenting Program, funded by a grant from Smart Start Rowan, is a support and education group for parents of children ages birth to 5 years old. Parenting is often exhausting, overwhelming, and frustrating, but often parents feel alone in their struggle. This group and home-based program focuses on discipline techniques, growing childhood empathy, developmental expectations and dealing with the independence your children crave in order to smooth out some of the rough spots innate to parenthood. The Spanish and English groups are held one morning a week at no charge, with free lunch and free transportation offered in order to encourage all parents to attend. Please call Anna Whisenant at 704-431-2015 if you have any questions or would like to sign up for our next group!
Beth McKeithan is executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Rowan.