New Hampshire Children’s Trust’s response to the story WMUR-TV aired on April 11
By Cliff Simmonds Executive Director
The New Hampshire Children’s Trust welcomes any opportunity to promote and participate in the discussion of PRIMARY PREVENTION and its importance in keeping New Hampshire children free from abuse and neglect and building family resilience.
Based on our participation in the Highland-Goffe’s Falls Elementary School news conference on April 11th alongside Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, Dr. Jenn Gillis from the Manchester Public Schools, Manchester Public Health Director Anna Thomas, and Manchester Police Lieutenant Nicholas Georgoulis, we thought it important to further the conversation about PRIMARY PREVENTION, what it is, and how we can all play a role.
The focus of that news conference was on intervention—the intervening after harm has occurred, or an environment or relationship has been deemed “unsafe”.
PRIMARY PREVENTION is when we use upstream thinking—before challenges occur—to identify and employ strategies that prevent harm from ever occurring so all NH children can thrive. In fact, the prevention of harm involves the intentional creation of happy, healthy environments and systems, where children exist surrounded by protective factors and can develop both physically and emotionally.
To move upstream from intervention to PREVENTION, everyone must come together in partnership to build positive futures for children. Solid foundations, built through PREVENTION, happen when the underlying causes that lead to health and social inequities are addressed, and families have the resources they need, when they need them.
That means, together, we must also work to help build parental and caregiver resilience and develop approaches that create access to concrete supports in times of need, that nurture social connection within and around the family unit, that encourage knowledge of parenting and child development, and that foster nurturing environments that build social and emotional competence of children.
Why? Because that’s who we are.
At the New Hampshire Children’s Trust, PRIMARY PREVENTION is what we do. And when we all do it together, research shows incidences of abuse and neglect drop significantly. In fact, New Hampshire data shows that most reports to DCYF are for concerns about neglect, often related to the economic challenges of the family. Thankfully, there is something we can do about that.
Every day, everywhere, Granite Staters are working upstream, so we can minimize the difficulties of fixing problems later. It’s who we are.
So, this April, when you see blue, when you catch pinwheel gardens spinning in the breeze, remember:
PREVENTION IS POSSIBLE and PREVENTION TAKES PARTNERSHIP.
Children and families are the foundation of our communities, and when they are safe, strong, and supported, WE ALL BENEFIT.
To learn how you can partner in PREVENTION and for media inquiries, contact us at Info@nhchildrenstrust.org.