Support when needed!

Getting support for yourself and your children can help you move toward a healthier future-event the smallest step is something to celebrate.

While local and national domestic violence programs can help with safety planning and provide referrals to safe shelters, they also provide services for women who may not want or be ready to go to a shelter. Many programs have:

♦ Drop in support groups for women and programs for children.

♦ Classes to build confidence, plan for the future and support your parenting- call Aware to find out what’s available.

254-254-313-9470

How is your health, how are you coping? Ask your self:

Do I feel so sad that I can’t get out of bed? Or take care of the baby?

Am I smoking more to try to calm myself?

Am I using alcohol. prescription medications, or other drugs to make the pain go away?

Do I ever feel so sad that I have thoughts of suicide?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, it may be the result of chronic stress. Talk to a family coach about how to get help.

Exchange Club’s National Project Helps 691,120 families

The organization’s most significant and successful method of countering child abuse is by working directly with at-risk parents through its signature program, the Exchange Parent Aide home visitation model. Through coordination with a nationwide network of community-based Exchange Club Child Abuse Prevention Centers, the program has helped more than 691,120 families break the cycle of violence, thus creating safer homes for more than 1,727,800 children.

Exchange Parent Aide evolved from the knowledge and experience of the dynamics surrounding child abuse and neglect. It is based on the work of Sharon Pallone in Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as research and concepts first introduced by Drs. Ray Helfer and Henry Kempe, 1960s pioneers in the field. Their leading research on the battered child syndrome expressed belief that most parents who abuse their children are not psychotic and were likely to have been abused themselves as children. Most abusive parents grew up without positive role models for good parenting and often have difficulty developing healthy and trusting relationships.

To ensure compliance and current practices associated with the model, Exchange provides training, accreditation, technical support, development and management guidance, and other supportive services to sites utilizing the Exchange Parent Aide program.

Parent Aides are trained, professionally supervised individuals (paid and volunteer) who provide supportive and educational, in-home services to families at-risk of child abuse and neglect.
Exchange Parent Aides act as mentors and provide intensive support, information, and modeling of effective parenting — all in the home of the family. Services are family centered and focus on:
  • Parental resilience is developed through teaching problem solving skills, modeling effective parenting, providing 24/7 support and referrals to services.
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development is encouraged and developed through sharing skills and modeling strategies. Individualized help is provided in the home with the children.
  • Social connections are developed and fostered through social-support, building the individual relationship and connecting the parents to others through group meetings, activities, and referrals.
  • Social-emotional competence of children is developed through strengthening of the nurturing capabilities of the family; interaction of parents with the children is observed and modeling is provided for support of the children’s competence.
  • Ensuring safety of the children, including attention to medical, dental, and mental health care needs, as well as safe housing and freedom from child abuse, neglect, and domestic violence.

Conference highlights rewards, issues for Foster parents

As seen in Temple Telegram April 29. Story by Janice Gibbs, Telegram Staff

Nancy LeChuga was a foster parent for a while without really knowing it.

LeChuga was one of six speakers at the Foster Care Conference held Friday for foster parents and those who serve those families and children.

LeChuga, a primary prevention specialist at Aware Central Texas, whose mission is the prevention of child abuse, neglect and family violence, said that when looking back at her time as a foster parent she remembered how hard it could be.

She took in a sibling group of three, not as a foster parent but someone who wanted to help the children.

“I didn’t know the severity of their abuse, I just jumped in,” LeChuga said.

Fostering is a calling, she said. There is a price in time and emotion.

After some time and the building up of trust, the children began to open up about what they had been through.

The trauma had been severe and manifested itself as psychosis in one of the children, LeChuga said.

In another case, the mother was selling her child for drugs.

“Talk about anger issues,” she said. “When they have a hard time with authority it’s difficult. The nicer I tried to be the harder it was to win him over.”

There are parents who use their kids for sexual pleasure; the trauma and anger is devastating to witness, LeChuga said.

“We know what you do for these children is priceless, standing in the gap for these children,” she told the parents and advocates for foster children.

LeChuga and her husband took in a child who was a month old, weighed four pounds and had a black eye.

“I met him at a foster family Thanksgiving dinner and my husband and I tried to sooth him so he would quit crying,” she said. “We didn’t know he cried all the time.”

The next day the LeChugas were asked to take him on and she was thrilled to join the mommy club.

They found out his parents were both HIV positive and his medications made him ill.

In the first year, there were 25 visits to the emergency department.

“You really have to watch what you pray for,” she said.

LeChuga said people would look at him and ask what was wrong.

“I didn’t see anything, to me he was perfect,” she said.

They found out he was not infected with HIV and by the second year the parents’ rights were terminated and the LeChugas decided to adopt.

“We were so happy, and then we got the phone call telling us an aunt in Oklahoma wanted to raise him,” she said.

For the next six months LeChuga said she learned how to let go.

“I held him a little closer and I held him a little longer,” she said.

They went to Waco to meet the family where the child’s uncle told the LeChugas that God had told him to leave the child with them.

“I know many foster families outcomes are not as happy as mine,” LeChuga said. “I know the pain and suffering. I know when you love, you love with everything you have. And when you have to let go, you know you are a part of that child’s life and did what you needed to for them to have the best life moving forward.”

LeChuga’s son is now six years old and was just diagnosed with autism, which is just another adventure.

“He’s healthy and happy and we have a good relationship with his family,” she said.

Other topics and speakers Friday were: “Medication Management for the Foster Parent,” Chanin Wright, director of department of pharmacy, Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center; “The Basics and Access to Physical and Occupational Therapy,” Kelli Howell, clinical manager rehab, Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center; “Common Mental Health Issues Seen With Kids in Foster Care,” Dr. Kyle Morrow, child and adolescent psychiatry; “Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: A Community Response,” Dawn Owens, assistant director Bell County Juvenile Services; “Their Socks Don’t Match,’ Lamar Collins, assistant principal Temple High School; “The Strong Impact of Taking Time to Invest in a Foster Child and the Effects That it Can Bring,” Nancy LeChuga, prevention specialist, Aware Central Texas.

Victims Likely to Engage in Criminality Later in Life?

Are victims of child abuse more likely to engage in criminality later in life?
Victims of child abuse are likely to experience a wide variety of negative outcomes throughout their lives. Involvement in criminal activity is one. For children, the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being found that children placed in out-of-home care due to abuse or neglect tended to score lower than the general population on measures of cognitive capacity, language development, and academic achievement (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2003).

Other studies have found abuse and neglected children to be at least 25% more likely to experience problems such as delinquency, teen pregnancy, low academic achievement, drug use, and mental health problems.

In one long-term study of young adults who had been abused, as many as 80% met the diagnostic criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder at age 21. These young adults exhibited many problems, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and suicide attempts (Silverman, Reinherz, & Giaconia, 1996). Other psychological and emotional conditions associated with abuse and neglect include panic disorder, dissociative disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and reactive attachment disorder (Teicher, 2000).

The challenges that victims experience continue as they move into adulthood. The U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics reports the following adult statistics for 2002:

• 31% of jail inmates had grown up with a parent or guardian who abused alcohol or drugs.
• About 12% had lived in a foster home or institution.
• 46% had a family member who had been incarcerated.
• More than 50% of the women in jail said they had been physically or sexually abused in the past, and more than 10% of the men.
• The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that nearly two-thirds of all adults entering treatment for drug abuse report being victims of child abuse or neglect.

Is there any evidence linking alcohol or other drug use to child maltreatment?
There is significant research that demonstrates this connection. Research has shown that among confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect, 40% involved the use of alcohol or other drugs (Journal of American Medical Association, and Children of Alcoholics). Substance abuse does not cause child abuse and neglect, but it is a distinct factor in its occurrence.

Can we prevent child abuse and neglect?
Yes, we can make a difference. There are many types of prevention programs across the country. Research has shown that effective programs share similar elements, such as working with families early and on a long-term, intensive basis. Effective programs offer assistance with family problems, refer families to outside supports when needed, and have a structured framework for staff in working with families. These elements are found in The National Exchange Club Parent Aide program, which is offered at all Exchange Club Child Abuse Prevention Centers across the country.

What is Child Abuse?

What is child abuse?
Child abuse can include any behavior, action, or omission by an adult that causes or allows harm to come to a child. Abuse can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and/or neglect. Individual states and other government agencies have specific legal definitions that are used to substantiate reports of alleged maltreatment.

What does it mean to “substantiate” an allegation of abuse?
The term “substantiated” means that an allegation of maltreatment was confirmed according to the level of evidence required by the state law or state policy. The term “indicated” is sometimes used by investigators when there is insufficient evidence to substantiate a case under state law or policy, but there is reason to suspect that maltreatment occurred or that there is risk of future maltreatment.

What are the most common types of maltreatment?
The majority (59%) of victims suffered from neglect. Child Protective Services investigations determine that 10.8 % of victims suffered from physical abuse, 7.6% suffered from sexual abuse,4.2% suffered from emotional maltreatment, less than 1% experienced medical neglect, and 13.1% suffered multiple forms of maltreatment. In addition, 4.1 percent of victims experienced such “other” types of maltreatment as “abandonment,” “threats of harm to the child,” or “congenital drug addiction.” States may consider any condition that does not fall into one of the main categories — e.g. physical abuse, neglect, or emotional maltreatment — as “other.” These maltreatment type percentages total more than 100 percent because children who were victims of more than one type of maltreatment were counted for each incident. Although the percentage of emotional maltreatment appears low, this statistic may be misleading. The Child Welfare Information Gateway states, “Emotional abuse is often difficult to prove and, therefore, CPS may not be able to intervene without evidence of harm to the child. Emotional abuse is almost always present when other forms [of abuse] are identified”.

How many children die each year from child abuse?
During 2011, an estimated 1570 children died from abuse or neglect. Of those, 75.7% were younger than four years old. This number may not accurately reflect the actual number of fatalities due to abuse and neglect. Many researchers and practitioners believe child fatalities due to abuse and neglect are still underreported. Studies in Colorado and North Carolina have estimated that as many as 50 to 60 percent of child deaths resulting from abuse or neglect are not recorded as such (Crume, DiGuiseppi, Byers, Sirotnak, Garrett, 2002; Herman-Giddens, Brown, Verbiest, Carlson, Hooten, et al., 1999).

Who abuses and neglects children?
In 2011, exactly 81.2 percent of perpetrators of child maltreatment were parents, and another 12.8% were relatives or caregivers of the child. Caregivers includes foster parents, child daycare providers, and legal guardians.

Mothers comprised a larger percentage of perpetrators, 36.8% compared to fathers, 19%, however 18.9% of cases indicated both parents were involved. Nearly one-half of all victims were White (43.9%), 21.5% were African-American, and 22.1% were Hispanic.

Child maltreatment occurs across socio-economic, religious, cultural, racial, and ethnic groups.

What makes people abuse children?
It is difficult to imagine that any person would intentionally inflict harm on a child. Many times, physical abuse can result when the physical punishment is inappropriate for the child’s age, and parents have an unrealistic expectation of their child’s behavior. A parent feeling undue stress may also react inappropriately. Most parents want to be good parents but sometimes lose control. Child abuse can be a symptom that parents are having difficulty coping with other situations, such as those involving finances, work, or housing.

A significant factor in many situations relates to a parent’s inexperience with or lack of understanding of typical child development. Many childhood behaviors can be frustrating but are normal. Lack of understanding about normal behaviors may lead a parent to react in a punitive manner. Parents with their own negative childhood experiences may not have healthy role models to follow.

Other stress factors in the home may increase the risk of abuse or neglect, also. These can include drug or alcohol abuse, family crises, marital difficulties, domestic violence, depression, and/or mental illness.

Are victims of child abuse more likely to engage in criminality later in life?
Victims of child abuse are likely to experience a wide variety of negative outcomes throughout their lives. Involvement in criminal activity is one. For children, the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being found that children placed in out-of-home care due to abuse or neglect tended to score lower than the general population on measures of cognitive capacity, language development, and academic achievement (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2003).

Other studies have found abuse and neglected children to be at least 25% more likely to experience problems such as delinquency, teen pregnancy, low academic achievement, drug use, and mental health problems.

In one long-term study of young adults who had been abused, as many as 80% met the diagnostic criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder at age 21. These young adults exhibited many problems, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and suicide attempts (Silverman, Reinherz, & Giaconia, 1996). Other psychological and emotional conditions associated with abuse and neglect include panic disorder, dissociative disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and reactive attachment disorder (Teicher, 2000).

April is Child Abuse Prevention month!

April is Child Abuse Prevention month!  In 1982, Congress resolved that June 6–12 should be designated as the first National Child Abuse Prevention Week; the following year, President Reagan proclaimed April to be the first National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a tradition that continues to this day. The National Exchange Club honors Child Abuse Prevention Month through events and activities to raise awareness and support children and families.

Aware has a couple of events going on during the month of April. Check out our FB page and our website. Join us in preventing child abuse and family violence!

Parent’s Corner – What If’s

3-12-17

 

Dear Sue Ellen

 

I don’t have any children yet, but we are thinking about it.  What if we are bad parents or our baby is born with a handicap?  I don’t know if I have what it takes to be a parent.  Any words of encouragement?

Alex

 

 

Dear Alex,

 

It seems to me, the “what-ifs” in life can take us down dark rabbit-holes we have a hard time crawling out of.  “What-ifs” can lead us to depression, anxiety, fear, and hopelessness.  We can become defeated.

 

Life is full of uncertainty.   How we navigate through the twists and turns of our journey on earth helps to build our characters.  What are your strengths?  What is causing you to question your ability to be a good parent?  Good parenting usually passes from generation to generation.  We mostly learn how to be a parent from our own parents and grandparents.  How do you rate your own parents and grandparents?  The good news is, we can easily be taught better parenting skills if need be.  It just takes an investment of time and thought.  Parenting classes are available in most communities.

 

I have the privilege of knowing parents with handicapped children, and have learned so much from both the parents and their kids.  I believe the world needs children with special needs because of what they teach us.  I also believe parents are chosen by a higher power to be entrusted with the care of special needs children.  Does that make it easy to be that special parent? No.  If you are looking for a good time as a parent, you might want to get a pet instead.  Being a good parent isn’t for the faint of heart.  It can be the best and worst experience of your life.

 

Here are my words of encouragement for you. If you are a person of faith, rely on what you know about love to guide your decision.  If you aren’t a person of faith, find some.  You will need it if you decide to become a parent.

 

 

Please email your parenting questions to sejackson@awarecentraltexas.org and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

Volunteers Needed

If you are interested in being a volunteer for Aware Central Texas, please contact Nancy Jane Holder, our Director of Volunteer Services.

We are currently looking for :

Family Coaches- working directly with families and helping them access resources.

Education Volunteers – Teachers and Assistants

 

Please call – 254-702-0772 or email njholder@awarecentraltexas.org

 

Exchange Parent Aide Model

The evidenced-based Exchange Parent Aide Model is a family home-visitation model. Parent Aides are trained, professionally supervised individuals (paid and volunteer) who provide supportive and educational, in-home services to families at-risk of child abuse and neglect.

Exchange Parent Aides act as mentors and provide intensive support, information, and modeling of effective parenting — all in the home of the family. Services are family centered and focus on:
  • Parental resilience is developed through teaching problem solving skills, modeling effective parenting, providing 24/7 support and  referrals to services.
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development is encouraged and developed through sharing skills and modeling strategies. Individualized help is provided in the home with the parents’ children.
  • Social connections are developed and fostered through social support building the individual relationship and connecting the parents to others through group meetings, activities and referrals.
  • Social-emotional competence of children is developed through strengthening the nurturing capabilities of the family. Interaction of parents with the children is observed and modeling is provided for support of the children’s competence.
  • Ensuring safety of the children including attention to medical, dental or mental health care needs; safe housing; and freedom from child abuse, neglect and domestic violence.
The Exchange Parent Aide program has been replicated since 1979, in over 80 communities in more than 28 states and Puerto Rico.  It is utilized in rural, urban, and suburban areas serving diverse populations in a culturally responsive manner.