James M. Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America has been actively involved in the development of A Call to Action: The District of Columbia's First Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Plan and we wanted to share the following press release with you regarding completion of that plan and the District's plans going forward.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC—Today, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) Director Roque Gerald launched a three-year initiative to coordinate public, private, and community efforts to strengthen families as a means of preventing child abuse and neglect throughout the city. A Call to Action: The District of Columbia’s First Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Plan describes the District’s strategy for raising awareness about child abuse and neglect, investing in approaches that support healthier children and stronger families, and measuring outcomes of investments.
"As a councilmember, I asked for a survey of existing child abuse and neglect prevention programs that would identify service gaps in the District," said DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. "The city’s first child abuse and neglect prevention plan will serve as a vehicle for filling the gaps. It will also guide investments designed to reduce risk factors that can lead to child maltreatment."
Long-Term Strategy Promotes Healthy Children, Strong Families
Over three years, the plan will integrate prevention efforts into a long-term strategy to promote healthier child development and stronger families, thereby reducing the risk and incidence of child maltreatment. The plan seeks to improve the effectiveness of support for families by more closely aligning District government and community programs. The initial implementation phase will involve:
Building capacity in proven, targeted prevention strategies. The plan identifies approaches that independent research and evaluation have shown to reduce risk factors associated with child abuse and neglect and improve protective factors, including: home visitation, parent education and support, and teen pregnancy prevention.
Aligning District and community services. The District will create an inventory of existing child abuse/neglect prevention programs as a baseline for citywide capacity. The inventory will identifying service gaps and allow future initiatives to avoid duplication of efforts.
Measuring outcomes to ensure resources are used effectively. The District will establish an evaluation process for government and community programs, both to assess achievement of desired outcomes and to determine the efficacy of the District’s financial investment.
Raising community awareness and seeking input. Through a variety of outreach efforts, the District will introduce and discuss the plan, raise public awareness, and engage the community in helping to prevent child abuse and neglect.
City-Wide Effort Supports Positive Outcomes
The Statewide Commission on Children, Youth and Families (formerly the Interagency Collaboration and Services Integration Commission) worked with the national advocacy organization Prevent Child Abuse America to develop the plan. Under the Deputy Mayor for Education, the Commission functions as the body many states call a "Children's Cabinet," regularly bringing together over 25 District government agencies to focus on specific goals that support positive outcomes for children from birth to adulthood. The Commission will play a major role in governing the plan, along with the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Child Welfare.
"District government and community partners currently provide a broad range of services that strengthen families,” said Roque Gerald, Director of the DC Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA). "I look forward to city-wide implementation of this plan, which will improve coordination of existing programs and build capacity in proven prevention strategies."