April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month which recognizes the importance of creating safe, healthy environments for children. Children raised in safe, stable, and supportive environments are more likely to prosper academically and financially, and avoid future health and social problems that can result from toxic stress. In cases of child maltreatment, identifying what is happening, supporting the child and their family in their healing process, and keeping the offenders from hurting more children – known as secondary prevention – can help minimize negative outcomes. At 180 we believe that every child deserves a stable, loving, and nurturing home. Sadly, for children exposed to family violence and abuse, they are at an increased risk for physical abuse and other forms of child maltreatment.
During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we would like to remind our community of the importance of 180’s Amanda’s Easel Program which supports children and families through the process of healing after experiencing, or witnessing, years of violence and abuse. The program provides art, play and music therapy that promotes healing by encouraging clients to express and understand their feelings and fears in a safe and nurturing environment. Amanda’s Easel is both an intervention and a prevention too, disrupting and/or preventing co-occurrence of domestic violence and child abuse. Research indicates that in an estimated 30 to 60 percent of families in which either child maltreatment or exposure to adult domestic violence is occurring, domestic violence and child abuse are also being perpetrated.
Our Amanda’s Easel Program uses evidence-based best practices to ensure positive outcomes in children exposed to domestic violence and abuse. The program teaches young people about healthy and safe relationships, improves communication skills, and developmental tasks, in order to break the cycle of domestic violence and familial abuse. 180’s therapeutic interventions also focus on the adult survivor (parent) developing resilience, knowledge of child development, growth of social and emotional competencies, trauma history interventions, and other concrete support for parents and children. We have seen hundreds of children and families rebuild their lives free of abuse and fear through our wrap-around services.
If you are in need of 180 and the Amanda’s Easel Program, please call or email us; the program is free and confidential, and we welcome you to learn more.