Some would call Katya Estes a survivor. She prefers "warrior." For her, taking the stand to testify against the grandfather who sexually abused her was like the final battle of a long and terrible war—but she emerged triumphant, scars and all. Read her message of empathy and strength to others who have stood on that battlefield.
You're lovely inside and out. Show it with a gift supporting our movement. If you're one of our first five donors making a gift of $150 or more between now and the end of our Annual Campaign Dec. 31, you'll receive a beautiful piece of Kendra Scott jewelry for yourself or a loved one. Plus give now and double your impact!
Indiana is one of 18 states where all residents must report suspected child abuse. Now, cases have doubled. Is it due to more reporting, or to a rise in abuse rooted in a drug and mental health crisis? No matter which, here's how NCA member Susie's Place Child Advocacy Centers is helping Indiana kids heal.
After Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, it's #GivingTuesday, the day to give back. Two reasons to make your gift to support child victims of abuse today: double your impact with our 2016 Matching Gift Challenge, and get some beautiful Kendra Scott jewelry if you're one of our first five donors to give $100 or more today.
Acclaimed classical pianist Deondra Brown performs before audiences across the globe with her four brothers and sisters. Their love for each other belies a tragic family history. Today, as Deondra fights for other sexual abuse survivors, she pens a letter of thanks to the professionals who help child victims of abuse, and to anyone who speaks up for the voiceless.
Learn about how ACEs affect the brain of a child: the bad news, the good news, and the better news about what you can do to help improve the lifelong mental, physical, and behavioral outcomes of children across the country.
The toxic stress of child abuse and neglect doesn't just change a child's behavior—it can literally change the structure of the brain, preventing learning, causing behavior problems, and leading to poor health outcomes. It can even kill. CACs work to heal the damage of trauma before it becomes permanent.
Virtually every state has laws requiring so-called "mandated reporters"—professionals like teachers, doctors, or police who work with children or whose job requires public trust—to report suspected child abuse to authorities. But just mandating it isn't enough. Advocates like Missouri KidsFirst are working with state authorities to train mandated reporters on how to stop tragedy.
For abused children and their families, getting a referral for the mental health services they need to heal and actually receiving treatment are two separate things. CAC therapist Jennifer Redding draws from her decades of experience treating kids for ideas to overcome stigma and other barriers to treatment.
Military families long had an incidence of child abuse at a rate far lower than the national average. That's climbed in an era of war and deployment. The stressors of long deployments, combat-related stress, financial woes, and frequent moves can contribute to the risk of child abuse. Now there's help for veteran and active-duty families to identify and deal with the stresses they face before they become a problem.
“Too often, teachers and school leaders respond to misbehavior by asking, ‘What’s wrong with you?,’ when instead they should be asking, ‘What happened to you?’ ”
That's from a new report from the Public School Forum of North Carolina, adding to the nationwide chorus of educational leaders beginning to consider children's trauma history—in addition to factors like race and poverty—in helping give children the educational tools they need.
If you have to go in for surgery, you first need a medical history, tests, and screening. Would a brief interview with the surgeon be enough to prepare him or her to open you up? Of course not. Dr. Jeff Wherry from Dallas Children's Advocacy Center explains that treating trauma symptoms in child victims of abuse must start with more than just an interview. In the case of trauma, it requires engagement from the whole family to learn a child's full history and provide real healing.
The weather cools and our thoughts turn to images of family: pumpkins, turkeys, fir trees, and candelabras. Jim Ed Clayton from the Blount County Children's Center, Blount County, Alabama, reminds us, when reflecting on what family means, that not all children are raised by parents—millions are raised by grandparents. Jim Ed writes in praise of "grandfamilies" and highlights resources they need to help grandchildren thrive.
One of the hardest—and most crucial—parts of a Children's Advocacy Center's job is to provide mental health care for abused children. Here's how Chicago Children's Advocacy Center tackled the issue head-on to shorten waitlists, sustainable fund the healing work, and triage clients to serve the ones who most need treatment first.
A ten-month-old girl is dead in West Virginia's most horrific abuse case in recent memory. In this op-ed, a W.V. artist asks fellow Mountaineers to join with West Virginia Child Advocacy Network and turn their anger into hope.
Police officers sometimes serve children as directors of Children's Advocacy Centers. Our Dave Betz did both for decades. Read his insights on how law enforcement fits into the work of CACs, and how officers serving at CACs can go "all in"—helping abused children even after the criminal case wraps up.
An estimated 4.5 million people worldwide are victims of forced sexual exploitation—potentially including millions of children. Here's how forensic data analysts, former CIA agents, tech companies, law enforcement, and nonprofits are working to free them.
Great news out of California! Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a new state law that treats sexually exploited children as victims instead of criminals. Law enforcement now must direct trafficked minors to social services instead of arrest.
Childhood trauma like abuse may accelerate cellular aging, causing premature aging and even early death. A team of researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada found a correlation between traumatic childhood experiences and shorter telomeres, potentially leading to poor health outcomes. Telomeres are "caps" at the end of chromosomes that keeps genes from unraveling.
Honored to be working on this important project with our friends at Midwest Regional Children's Advocacy Center. It's early in the production period, but a training series on how Children's Advocacy Centers can help youth with sexual behavior problems and their communities is forthcoming.
Read our October 2016 Newsletter and see our vision for a safe October for all children. Plus: how we tell stories through data, the latest from our blog, and the great work of member serving children in West Virginia, Baltimore, and NYC.
In an age when virtually every teen and tween has the power to take and share images instantly, exploiters can extort children to do their bidding with the mere threat to expose sexts to family or peers. Learn how sextortion affects children in this new article from University of New Hampshire researchers David Finkelhor and Janis Wolak.
After 24 years spent healing children after the trauma of abuse, NCA's Michelle Miller knows that the best way to address trauma is to stay the course. Read a tale of two children—one whose treatment followed an evidence-based model, and one whose treatment course strayed—and how it affected their road to recovery.
Two men in Erin Merryn's family tried to steal her voice. Now she's dedicated her life to giving children a voice to protect themselves from sexual abuse and to bring abusers to justice. Read Erin's story on the CAC Voices blog and see how Erin's Law is empowering children and families to fight and overcome sexual abuse.
Children's Advocacy Center leaders serving urban populations are meeting in NYC at our Annual Urban Forum right now to discuss common issues facing these CACs as they serve large, diverse populations. Thanks to Safe Horizon for hosting our group and thanks to Kathleen for the great photos!