Chicago—Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA America) announced today that its chapters in ten states—Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin—successfully completed the organization’s strength-based chartering process, helping to extend the organization’s efforts to ensure the safe, stable and nurturing relationships and environments that enable children, families and entire communities to thrive.
According to PCA America President & CEO Dr. Melissa Merrick, “Our nationwide state chapter network is integral to the work we do. The substantial experience and expertise of chapter leadership and staff, as well as the partnerships they foster and nurture in their communities, help to amplify our primary prevention efforts across the country.”
During this process, formally called Building Capacity Chartering, PCA America chapters demonstrate a statewide sphere of influence that is supported by a strong mission, brand identity, infrastructure and public awareness, advocacy and evidence-based/informed prevention strategies.
“These criteria establish a comprehensive but focused framework that maintains the integrity and quality of the chapter network,” explained Anita Odom, PCA America’s Chief Operations Officer for Chapters. “They also allow us to identify what resources are needed to build capacity in a thoughtful and strategic way and combine them with peer-to-peer learning opportunities.”
PCA America chapters range from independent nonprofit organizations to entities operating under umbrella institutions, such as government agencies, hospitals and universities. For example, the Utah chapter is registered as a stand-alone 501(c)(3), while the South Carolina chapter operates in conjunction with the South Carolina Children’s Trust Fund. Regardless of their makeup, chapter programs are frequently developed and delivered in tandem with a variety of public and private partners:
PCA Florida operates in partnership with the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida and the Florida Department of Children and Families to educate the public on practices and policies that strengthen families and prevent abuse and neglect. The chapter is the state lead for the Circle of Parents mutual support group model and collaborates with state and local organizations to promote home visitation, infant safe sleep, drowning prevention and parent education.
A division of the Villages of Indiana, PCA Indiana addresses the entire prevention continuum, from primary prevention through adoption and older youth services. The chapter is a recognized leader, collaborator and coordinator of prevention efforts with a variety of public and private entities, such as Indiana Kids First Trust, Indiana University School of Social Work, Children’s Policy and Law Initiative of Indiana and Indianapolis Public Schools, among others.
PCA Missouri operates within MissouriKidsFirst, which oversees the state’s children’s advocacy centers and implements programs such as mandatory reporting training, the SAFE-CARE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examination-Child Abuse Resource and Education) network and state-level advocacy. The chapter is the leader and convener of the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children, participates as a member of the statewide home visiting workgroup and supports infant safe sleep and abusive head trauma efforts.
PCA Nebraska is part of the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation and the statewide Bring Up Nebraska prevention initiative. Their work brings all voices in communities together to establish their own priorities and create their own solutions. It also brings local, state and national partners together to improve policy and practice, and to support more opportunities for community-based prevention.
PCA New Hampshire, operating under the umbrella of the New Hampshire Children’s Trust Fund, maintains a statewide presence through Family Resource Centers, a system of community-based agencies that offer a variety of prevention programs and services, and provides specialized trainings and technical assistance based on need. Leadership and staff participate in a number of task forces and coalitions, including the Wellness & Primary Prevention Council and, most recently, the Thriving Families, Safer Children national initiative.
PCA New York is active across the state through a variety of prevention efforts, including Healthy Families New York, the New York State Parenting Education Partnership and the Enough Abuse child sexual abuse prevention campaign. The chapter encourages parent leadership, offering numerous opportunities for caregivers to be involved in committees and advocacy efforts, and works proactively with community-based agencies and schools to provide trainings and technical assistance, implement prevention programs and build capacity.
A program division of the American Academy of Pediatrics of Pennsylvania, PCA Pennsylvania supports the COPE24 program and the OneKindWord campaign, and the director serves on a number of committees and task forces, such as the child fatality review team and the annual child abuse summit. The chapter is also involved in social norms work around corporal punishment and provides information online for the prevention of abusive head trauma.
Situated within the South Carolina Children’s Trust, PCA South Carolina leads the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) and Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) programs in the state and is well respected by a wide variety of public and private partners for evidence-based, evidence-informed and innovative prevention strategies. The organization also serves as a national voice for increasing the number of evidence-based programs for the Family First Prevention Service Act (FFPSA).
With offices in Ogden and Salt Lake City, PCA Utah is active in home visiting, parent education, general prevention education, child sexual abuse prevention, internet safety, healthy relationships and corporal punishment. The chapter’s school-based programs have broad reach and support in communities throughout the state, where they are taught in the classroom with visual aids, videos and other interactive activities such as role playing.
PCA Wisconsin operates within the Children’s Wisconsin Hospital network and is involved in a variety of prevention efforts throughout the state, including child sexual abuse prevention, mandated reporter trainings, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and trauma-informed work and abusive head trauma prevention, utilizing the Period of Purple Crying program. The chapter also delivers home visiting services as a Healthy Families America program site and supports other home visiting models in the state.
To learn more about these chapters, please click on the links above or visit the state chapter network page of PCAA's website.
About Prevent Child Abuse America
Prevent Child Abuse America is a leading champion for all children in the United States. Founded in 1972 and headquartered in Chicago, we are the nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect, working to actively prevent all forms of child abuse and neglect before they occur. Our success is founded on a nationwide network of state chapters and nearly 600 Healthy Families America home visiting sites, which directly provide parents and caregivers a wide variety of services and resources that help children grow up to be productive, contributing members of their communities and society. Our comprehensive approach is informed by science—we translate and disseminate innovative research to promote proven solutions that our vast network then puts into action. And we raise public awareness and advocate for family friendly policies at the national, state and local levels to support transformative programs and promote the conditions and contexts that help children, families and communities across the country thrive.
Posted on PCAA's website by Charles Mutscheller