Child Welfare Priority Area
Establish an annual training for child protection professional teams
The child welfare group primarily focuses on child maltreatment. According to the 2014 Social Environment data report update, the rate of substantiated investigations for child abuse and neglect has increased by 20.8% since 2008. We also know that some incidents of child maltreatment are not reported to authorities. Adverse childhood experiences such as child abuse and neglect often lead to long-term physical, mental, and emotional health problems that affect individuals and communities. Child abuse and neglect are preventable through education, training, and prevention programs.
What is being done?
The principal work of the child welfare group centers on child abuse prevention. A child protection training center will open to help ensure that front-line child welfare professionals have access to high-quality training to help protect children. Many other local organizations are offering evidence-based prevention programming as well, including in-home visitation programs such as the Nurse Family Partnership, parent support groups such as Parents Anonymous, and parenting programs such as Triple P. Many organizations involved in the child welfare field also provide various trainings and educational opportunities for the community.
Is there an example of success?
USC Upstate is launching a Child Protection Training Center located at The George Dean Johnson College of Business and Economics. The Training Center, composed of a mock house and courtroom, is a collaborative and multidisciplinary initiative with the various child protection agencies in the Upstate of South Carolina. The goal is to prevent child maltreatment while effectively responding to abuse to minimize the catastrophic consequences.
Children who experience traumatic childhoods are at greater risk for lifelong behavioral, emotional and physical problems. A staggering correlation exists between traumatic childhood experiences and poor physical health, behavioral health, obesity, substance abuse, juvenile delinquency, low educational attainment and teen pregnancy. These experiences not only harm the individual, but also the economy with greater health care expenses and loss of human potential. The total lifetime estimated costs that are associated with just one year of child maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse and neglect) is approximately $124 billion, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Prevention is a fraction of the cost. In partnership with child protection agencies in the Upstate, The Child Protection Training Center will provide the training and education that our professionals, parents, and community need to stop abuse before it starts and to minimize the negative consequences if it does.
The mock house component of the Training Center, which will be used for simulated training in investigations and child safety, was made possible through a grant from Women Giving for Spartanburg. The experiential training center will provide hands-on training for child protection professionals in a controlled setting. Professionals will be exposed to real world scenarios and will practice their skills with other professional members.
The Duke Endowment awarded funding to replicate national evidence-supported trainings. Some of these trainings include the investigation and prosecution of child abuse, first responder training, from crime scene to trial and forensic interview at trial.