By Partners of the Kosair Charities® Face It® Movement
We live in a world – and state and community – divided. Issues seem to be long on division and short on common ground. And yet, even within this context, certain issues ring out as a moral mandate for us all.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and as the month begins, it is altogether fitting to claim preventing tragedies for our children as a common ground on which we can all stand together. April is a month that we challenge ourselves to deepen the levels of awareness in our communities around the prevalence and impact of child abuse and neglect. Authorities confirmed over 21,000 victims of child abuse and neglect in Kentucky in 2016 in Kentucky, with nearly 2,500 of those children in Jefferson County. Those numbers are intolerable to us as individuals; those numbers are intolerable to us as a community.
Child abuse is a complex issue that takes many perspectives and strategies to prevent and end. The over 40 partners in the Kosair Charities’ Face It Movement have committed to that multifaceted task with enthusiasm and rigor.
The Kosair Charities Face It Movement to end child abuse employs a three-pronged approach, with an emphasis on education and awareness, best practices when working with children and families, and policy change on a local and state level. The partners in the Face It Movement understand that in order to end child abuse, we must work collaboratively and creatively to address issues that are oftentimes out of our control.
With Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, Family and Children’s Place, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana, we have developed videos and materials to help identify and prevent child abuse in schools and youth serving organizations. With the Peace Education Program, we prepare our young people with tools on how to address conflict peacefully within their schools and communities. With Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C), we help child care centers develop ways to strengthen families to decrease the risk of abuse and neglect. With Exploited Children’s Help Organization, Our Lady of Peace, Sunrise Children’s Services, CASA of the River Region, and Lighthouse Community Center—along with several other partners—we helped families across the commonwealth recognize and prevent abuse, and understand how to talk to children about body safety and body boundaries across the commonwealth. And with organizations including University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics, Kentucky Youth Advocates, and Volunteers of America Mid-States, we identify statewide policies that help to prevent or mitigate child abuse and neglect, and advocate for their inclusion in Kentucky law.
As Face It partners, we work with children, families, neighborhoods, businesses, and state agencies to create lasting change. In 2017 alone, we trained over 3,900 professionals on child abuse prevention, recognition, and reporting because better informed adults mean safer kids in their care. We also reached nearly 39,000 children through body safety and other trainings. Additionally, we advocated for policy change in 2017, like Senate Bill 236 that closes gaps in the background checks of adults who work with children in schools, homes, and youth camps. In this legislative session, our policy priorities center on improving how Kentucky responds to and supports families (House Bill 1) and keeping kids safer by allowing judges to consider testimony from a trustworthy adult when a child has told that adult about being abused (Senate Bill 137)—both of which are on a path to the Governor’s desk.
What does that mean for our neighborhoods and for Louisville? For Kentucky? It means we continue to work together to identify ways to keep kids safe. We work together to help strengthen our communities. We work together to advocate for thoughtful and pragmatic policy change in City Hall, in Frankfort, and in D.C. All of us—preachers and principals, business leaders and parents, pediatricians and police officers—can work together to find ways to create strong and resilient kids who grow into strong and caring adults.
Yes, the issue is one of pragmatism because when children are safe from abuse and neglect, our schools, parks, and streets are safer. But even more so, when our kids are safe, so are our souls.
YOU can be the face that ends child abuse!
Learn more at faceitabuse.org.
The Face It® Movement was created in 2012 as a response to the public outcry against the number of child abuse deaths in the Commonwealth, and officially launched in April 2013 as an initiative led by Kosair Charities®.
Partners in the Kosair Charities Face It Movement to end child abuse:
Archdiocese of Louisville
Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana
Boys and Girls Haven
CASA of the River Region
Center for Women and Families
Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C)
The Council on Developmental Disabilities
Doctors & Lawyers for Kids
Exploited Children’s Help Organization (ECHO)
Family and Children’s Place
Family Nurturing Center
Green Hill Therapies
Home of the Innocents
Jefferson County Attorney
Jewish Family and Career Services
Kentucky Humanities Council
KentuckyOne Health, Our Lady of Peace
Kentucky Youth Advocates
Lighthouse Academy at Newburg
Louisville Metro Police Foundation
Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky
RISE (Resilience Initiative for Stability and Empowerment)
Southwest Community Ministries
St. Joseph Children’s Home
Sunrise Children’s Services
University of Louisville, Department of Pediatrics
Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS)
Volunteers of America
YMCA Safe Place