Posts By: Sarah Hogan

The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children and Youth

thumb

Left unaddressed, exposure to violence has serious consequences for children’s ability to succeed in school, lead healthy lives, and contribute positively to their communities. This is especially true with exposure to parental domestic violence.

Children who witness domestic violence often experience the same things as the adult victims themselves, such as self-blame, nervousness, fear of abandonment, depression and other forms of behavioral and emotional distress. Additionally, children who have been exposed to violence are at a higher risk to engage in criminal behavior as adolescents.

Here in Colorado, there is a growing effort within our school system to address the trauma of youth who have experienced violence. Introduced by the Center on Domestic Violence at the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs, the END Violence Project aims to better equip school personnel to identify students who have been exposed to, or have experienced, domestic and sexual assault and facilitate access to both intervention services for victims and prevention education services for all students.

Barbara Paradiso, Director for the Center, notes this emerging interest among schools and educators in developing school-wide, trauma-informed policies and protocols.

“Now, there’s much more understanding of the impact of trauma on young people and the importance of addressing it early. Our goal with the END Violence Project is to create long lasting and systemic change in our school communities so that trauma responses are minimized and the educational environment is enhanced for all students.”

Barbara also notes that beyond violence, those working directly with youth are coming to understand how connected many different issues are, from teen pregnancy to youth suicide.

“There are so many risk and resiliency factors that are common to the concerns we have for young people. We’ve begun to realize that breaking down the silos between our responses to these areas of concern is important to building truly effective trauma-informed services, and to creating response strategies that don’t overwhelm caregivers.”

To learn more about the END Violence Project and the Center on Domestic Violence, visit www.cdvdenver.org.

The Kempe Foundation Elects Three New Members to its Board of Directors

AURORA, CO (Oct. 7, 2019) –  The Kempe Foundation is pleased to announce the election of Cindie Jamison, Garrett Johnson and Debora Langer to its Board of Directors.

Cindie Jamison is an experienced board member currently serving on four public company boards. She is active within board committees – audit, compensation and corporate government – and has held multiple officer positions. Jamison has consumer product, retail, restaurant and professional service and consulting expertise and has two decades of experience as a CFO during turnaround and crisis. She has been active as a Kempe Ambassador for two years.

Garrett Johnson, a Managing Principal with Cresa Denver, is an expert in strategic planning, site selection and financial analysis. As part of the world’s largest occupier-only commercial real estate firm, he works with clients to match their real estate needs with their business plans. As a Kempe Ambassador, Johnson has chosen Kempe as the recipient of Cresa Denver’s philanthropic community support and has contributed monetarily and through event sponsorship.

Debora Langer is the North America Professional Services Regional Manager of Ping Identity and the Founder of Inviscid Sales Solutions. Langer leverages her technical and customer facing expertise to facilitate relationship building and business advancement. As a part of a global organization focused on cloud identity management and security, Langer has a unique business perspective and drive to get things done. She has been an active Kempe Ambassador since 2018.

“All three of our newest board members have unique experience and expertise that will enhance our Board of Directors,” said John Faught, CEO of the Kempe Foundation. “We welcome Cindie, Garrett and Debora to the Board and are delighted to have them on our team as we continue to strengthen our organization.”

###

About The Kempe Foundation

The Kempe Foundation is a 501c (3) nonprofit organization focused on the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. Kempe works to keep all children safe and healthy by supporting experts in the field, advocating for children and engaging with communities. www.kempe.org

Juvenile Crime and Restorative Justice

thumb

Over the last decade, there has been a steady increase in awareness and recognition that many youth involved with the juvenile justice system, particularly those who have experienced foster care, have been exposed to multiple types of traumatic events. This can include incidences of physical abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, community violence or neglect that impact youth before they first come to the attention of law enforcement.

Within the juvenile justice system, these youth often experience harsh punishment and incarceration, which can compound their trauma and weaken their ability to succeed in school, obtain employment, and develop healthy self-esteem and long-term relationships. However, by offering an alternative to punishment, there is an opportunity for youth to avoid re-victimization and to decrease re-offending.

Lisa Merkel-Holguin, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine works with The Kempe Center and touts the benefits of restorative justice, a practice that brings together the young people who offended, their families, victims and the community to address the harms in a non-criminalizing and non-punitive manner. She has been researching, implementing and promoting restorative practices in child welfare and juvenile justice systems for over two decades.

“Restorative justice is about repairing the harm that has been done,” she explains. “With this practice, there is a focus on accountability, responsibility, and righting the wrong which leads to rebuilding positive relationships among the youth, family members, the victim(s), police and the community.”

In the traditional juvenile justice system, professionals ask questions like: What laws have been broken? What punishment does the offender deserve? Under the restorative justice model, questions are framed differently: What is the nature of the harm resulting from the crime? What needs to be done to repair the harm? Who has been impacted and what do they need?

From a restorative justice perspective, rehabilitation cannot be achieved until the offender acknowledges the harm caused to victims and communities and makes amends.

At Kempe, we believe it is imperative to provide this kind of positive support for juveniles who commit crimes so that we can reduce their chances of reoffending and stop their trajectory from the juvenile justice to the criminal justice system. When post-traumatic emotional and behavioral problems are effectively addressed in all services and programs within the juvenile justice system, everyone — youths and their families, adults who are responsible for public safety, and the entire community — can become safer and healthier.

NKBA Holiday Fundraiser for Kempe

‘Tis the season! Our friends at the National Kitchen & Bath Association – Rocky Mountain Chapter are hosting a holiday fundraiser for The Kempe Foundation this November. Join them for a night of fun, food, drink, as well as live and silent auctions all while raising money for Kempe!

NKBA Holiday Party 2019 Details
November 14, 2019 | 5:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Rio Grande Design Center
123 Santa Fe Dr., Denver, CO 80223

Register

All donations will support Fostering Healthy Futures a positive youth development program that uses mentoring and skills training to empower youth who have been placed in out-of-home care to foster their own healthy futures.

Protecting Against Emotional Abuse

According to the Child Maltreatment 2017 report prepared by the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, 2.3 percent of children experienced psychological or emotional maltreatment in 2017. This number underestimates the true scope of the problem, as emotional abuse is more difficult to identify than other types of child abuse.

Children from all backgrounds can be at risk of emotional abuse, especially when a family is experiencing multiple life stressors, such as a family history of abuse or neglect, health problems, marital conflict, or domestic or community violence—and financial stressors such as unemployment, poverty and homelessness. All of these may reduce a parent’s capacity to cope effectively with the typical day-to-day stresses of raising children.

Research has shown, however, that the good can outweigh the bad, and that we can mitigate or eliminate the risk of emotional abuse by developing strong protective factors in parents and families.

The Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors Framework distills extensive research into a core set of five protective factors that everyone can understand and recognize in their own lives. These protective factors work as safeguards that can help parents find resources or supports and encourage coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively, even under difficult circumstances.

Parental resilience is a protective factor that can help one manage stress when faced with challenges, adversity or trauma. Parents who can cope with the stresses of everyday life, as well an occasional crisis, have resilience. They have the flexibility and inner strength necessary to bounce back when things are not going well.

Social connections can also provide emotional support for a family. Parents with a social network of emotionally supportive friends, family and neighbors often find that it is easier to care for their children and themselves. On the other hand, parents who are isolated, with few social connections, are at higher risk for child abuse and/or neglect.

Access to concrete supports for the entire family may also help prevent the unintended emotional abuse or neglect that sometimes occurs when parents are unable to provide for their children. Families who can meet their own basic needs and who know how to access essential services such as childcare, health care, and mental health services are better able to ensure the safety and well-being of their children.

It is also important for parents to understand child development and parenting strategies that support physical, cognitive, language and social and emotional development. Children thrive emotionally when parents provide respectful communication and listening, consistent rules and expectations, and safe opportunities that promote independence. Conversely, delayed social-emotional development may obstruct healthy relationships.

When multiple protective factors are present, a family is better able to successfully navigate difficult situations and moderate the risk of emotional and other types of abuse or neglect.

​Within the Colorado Department of Human Services, the Office of Early Childhood has established the Strengthening Families Network to increase awareness and encourage efforts to embed the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors Framework in family support practice across Colorado.

Learn more about how this framework is being implemented throughout the state here.