INFORMATION & RESOURCES

Despite our best efforts, child abuse continues to occur in Lake & Sumter Counties. The best way to prevent further child abuse is by knowing the signs of child abuse and what programs are available through your CAC. You can also help by sharing this information with others and raising awareness in your community about child abuse.

CHILD CHAT NEWSLETTER

Our quarterly newsletter contains a wealth of information regarding our Center and the services we offer, as well as information and resources regarding child abuse and neglect.

July 2021 Newsletter - click to download

  • Family Advocacy: Straight from the Heart
  • From the Editor: In Search of the "Inner Child"
  • CPT Newcomer Introductions
  • KCI: A Most Valued Community Partner

April 2021 Newsletter - click to download

  • Forensic Interviewing: The Artful Search for Truth
  • From the Editor: A Poem “On Becoming”
  • Reminders on Keeping Kids Safe

January 2021 Newsletter - click to download

  • Human Trafficking: Up Close and (Far Too) Personal
  • From the Editor: A Story About “Baby Steps”
  • A Poem: “Santa’s Curbside Christmas”

October 2020 Newsletter - click to download

  • Counseling Corner Supervisor Q & A
  • From the Editor’s Desk: Vote for Children
  • Medical Musings On Kid Care
  • Bids4Kids and COVID: What’s Next
  • Strategic Planning On Vicarious Trauma

July 2020 Newsletter - click to download

  • The CAC Model: Integrated Child Abuse Services
  • COVID 19 & Telehealth
  • A CPT Success Story
July 2021 Newsletter
Child Abuse Prevention Month

CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH

As we all know, April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Each year we re-double our efforts to keep children safe by raising awareness concerning the devastating impact of abuse to the minds, bodies and spirits of victimized youth. Such efforts remind us of the constant vigilance we must exercise to protect our children from those who would rob them of their child- hoods and strip them of their innocence. While we may never altogether eradicate child abuse and the conditions that precipitate it, it is always worthwhile to issue routine cautionary reminders to parents and caregivers in their earnest quest to keep their children safe. Accordingly, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services offers the following instructive pointers to combat abuse:

  • Take an active role in your children’s lives. Learn about their activities and people with whom they are involved. Stay alert for possible problems.
  • Watch for “grooming” behaviors in adults who spend time with your child. Warning signs may include frequently finding ways to be alone with your child, ignoring your child’s need for privacy (e.g., in the bathroom) or giving gifts or money for no particular occasion.
  • Ensure that organizations, groups and teams that your children are involved with minimize one-on-one time between children and adults. Ask how staff and volunteers are screened and supervised.
  • Make sure your children know that they can talk to you about anything that bothers or confuses them.
  • Teach children accurate names of private body parts and the difference between touches that are “OK” and “not OK.”
  • Empower children to make decisions about their bodies by allowing them age-appropriate privacy and encouraging them to say “no” when they do not want to touch or be touched by others, even in non-sexual ways.
  • Teach children to take care of their own bodies (e.g., bathing or using the bathroom) so they do not have to rely on adults or older children for help.
  • Educate children about the difference between good secrets (such as birthday surprises) and bad secrets (those that make the child feel unsafe or uncomfortable).
  • If your child tells you that he or she has been abused, stay calm, listen carefully and never blame the child. Thank your child for telling you. Report the abuse right away.
  • Monitor children’s use of technology, including cell phones, social networking sites and messaging. Review contact lists regularly and ask about any people you don’t recognize.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel uneasy about leaving your child with someone, don’t do it. If you are concerned about possible sexual abuse, ask questions.

SEVEN FUN FACTS ABOUT CHILD DEVELOPMENT

 

  1. At 2 years of age, a child has more than 100 trillion new brain connections, or synapses. However, when a child finally becomes an adult, more than 50% of these acquired synapses disappear. Where, oh where, did my synapses go??

  2. If a baby’s body was able to grow at the same rate as its brain, the average child would weigh as much as 170 pounds at 1 month old. OMG!

  3. By the age of 6, the average child has a vocabulary of about 13,000 words. An average adult has a vocabulary of about 60,000 words. Catching up fast!

  4. Babies and kids can laugh up to 300 times a day. Adults typically laugh, at most, about 20 times a day. Time to find my “inner child”!

  5. Babies and young kids both have a hard time figuring out and separating background noises from voices speaking. So sometimes, a toddler isn’t ignoring being called. He/she is just dealing with the challenge of lacking response skills. Ok, so how do we explain teenagers?!

  6. Babies to whom their parents speak often typically know 300 more words than their peers by the age of 2 years old. May the grooming for the next spelling bee champion begin!

  7. A child’s brain may be at it’s full physical size by the time he/she reaches kindergarten, but brain development doesn’t slow down until his/her twenties. (There’s my explanation for teenagers!)
I can still be a princess - quote from 5 year old child

SIGNS OF CHILD ABUSE

The following is a brief list of the signs of child abuse. Keep in mind that these signs can be subtle.

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Changes in behavior
  • Returning to earlier behaviors
  • Fear of going home
  • Changes in eating
  • Changes in sleeping
  • Changes in school performance and attendance
  • Lack of personal care or hygiene
  • Risk-taking behaviors
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviors

If you have questions or concerns about a child in your life, please don't hesistate to contact the CAC at (352)323-8303 or info@cac4kids.org. One of our caring and knowledgeable staff can listen to your concerns and offer guidance on next steps.

MYTHS ABOUT CHILD ABUSE

Myth: Child Abuse is a rare occurrence.
FACT: Statistics indicate that child abuse and neglect occur with frequency. An estimated 3 children nationwide die every day as a result of child abuse and neglect.

Myth: Abused and neglected children almost always come from poor, minority and/or inner-city families.
FACT: There is no evidence that links socio-economic status, race or educational level to abuse and neglect. Child abuse occurs within every neighborhood and school community across the country.

Myth: Sexual assault only happens to girls..
FACT: We may not yet know the full extent of sexual assault against boys because of their tendency to not report. Current research, however, estimates that 1 out of 3-4 girls and 1 out of 4-6 boys will be sexually assaulted before their eighteenth birthday.

Myth: Most children are sexually assaulted by a stranger.
FACT: It is estimated that 80-85% of all child sexual assaults are perpetrated by an adult known and trusted by the child. Only a small percentage of perpetrators are strangers.

Myth: Child abusers are easy to recognize.
FACT: Child abusers cannot be easily distinguished from others. Many offenders are upstanding community citizens.

Myth: Most children who are abused do something to cause the abuse to occur.
The child is ALWAYS the victim. The responsibility for the abuse lies solely with the adult.

This is a place that believes kids - quote from 11 year old child

CASE STUDY

Jasmine is an 11-year-old child who came to our CAC after she talked to her teacher at school about "not feeling good" and "hurting." Note: Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of this child victim.

When Jasmine's comments to her teacher indicated possible sexual abuse, the teacher reported the incident to the Florida Child Abuse Hotline. Jasmine was brought to the CAC by a member of Law Enforcement and a Department of Children and Families Caseworker. She was very quiet and wouldn't speak to anyone at first. One of our Forensic Interviewers spent a lot of time sitting on the floor in the lobby playing with Jasmine before asking her if she would come back to the interview room to talk.

Jasmine finally felt comfortable enough to talk and grabbed the interviewers hand and walked to the interview room with her head hanging low. The interviewer began to ask questions and Jasmine was finally able to disclose that she had been a victim of sexual abuse from her stepfather for a period of 2 years - and no one had believed her - not her sister, not her mother, not her grandmother. Following the interview, Jasmine walked down the hall and received a medical examination from the Nurse Practitioner. It was discovered that there was definite physical evidence of sexual abuse.

When Jasmine walked out of the medical room, we were all rather surprised by the huge smile on her face. She walked over to one of the staff and held up 3 fingers. "Do you see this?" she said, "This is how many people FINALLY believe me." She proceeded to name the 3 staff members she had spoken to at our Center.

The end of this story is that Jasmine's stepfather was arrested and prosecuted. He received a sentence of 20 years in prison. When Jasmine heard what the sentence was, she said, "He's going to jail because this is a place that believes kids."