Topic: Uncategorized

Letter from CEO Jon Kruljac on Child Abuse Prevention Month

April represents renewal in many aspects of our lives, but for school age children it means the end of the school year is just around the corner. While we all long for a return to normalcy as vaccinations for COVID-19 increase and larger social gatherings become permissible, the stressors that many children have experienced during the pandemic are still prevalent in their lives. For many children, social isolation will increase as they lose access to many services and primary supports they receive during the school year.

As a society it is our obligation to protect children from harm and to do so we must first better understand responses to trauma and building resiliency in children to assist them in making progress both socially and academically. Kempe’s Trauma-Responsive Schools program provides interventions and services to school specialists, teachers, and staff to mitigate the impact of trauma and promote healing. One of our goals is to enhance opportunities for all Colorado children to be resilient and equipped to reach their full potential in and outside of school. We know that many children who have experienced trauma do build resiliency when presented with positive experiences. We can all be part of that positivity by fostering inclusion for all and promoting thriving, safe, healthy and nurturing environments through our relationships with children and in the community.

As we approach the mid-point of Child Abuse Prevention Month, it is important to remember the work to improve the well-being of children is pertinent every month of the year. While the heightened awareness during April leads to more discussion and action, we must continue to build on this momentum in the months ahead.

Please support the Kempe Foundation today and help us reach as many children and families as possible.  Thank you!

Kempe Ambassadors March Madness Competition

We are excited to present our first annual Kempe March Madness! Join us for a friendly competition to cheer on our favorite teams and raise money for programs and initiatives to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect. 

The tournament begins on Thursday, March 18th, so make sure to have your brackets completed prior to tip off.  Please invite your friends, family and colleagues!

Exciting Prizes for the Top 5 Finishers:

  • Two tickets to TWO Denver Nuggets games (21-22 Season)
  • Basketball signed by Tad Boyle (CU Head Basketball Coach) 
  • $250 value wine tasting for 10, virtually or in person, at Attimo
  • $250 VISA gift card from MidFirst Bank
  • $150 gift card for the Gastamo Group (Park Burger, Birdcall, etc.)

How it Works:

  1. Set up an account here and complete your bracket.

    Group: Kempe Madness 2021
    Password: Kempe2021

  1. Make a donation here (Suggested donation is $25 per entry)
  2. Sit back and enjoy some college hoops!

Thank you for your generosity and commitment to helping kids!

 

 

 

Kempe Recruiting Providers to Expand the CARE Network

Every year in Colorado, thousands of children are impacted by maltreatment, and yet the expertise to conduct medical exams and behavioral health assessments to evaluate suspected cases of child abuse and neglect is still extremely limited. That’s why the Kempe Center is working to secure more health care and behavioral health providers across Colorado to join the Child Abuse Response and Evaluation (CARE) Network.

About the CARE Network

The CARE Network engages health care and behavioral health providers – pediatricians, family doctors, school nurses and more – with the best education and training on conducting medical exams and behavioral health assessments to identify signs and risks of child maltreatment or trauma. Providers also learn about the resources available to families to mitigate those risks and expand the safety net for children. More information on the CARE Network can be found here.

What Providers Receive

  • Education and training about signs that children may be at risk of maltreatment and information on resources available to families that will position providers to recognize community-specific needs and help prevent child maltreatment
  • Best practice standards for evaluating children suspected of abuse or neglect
  • Review of provider evaluations and feedback to grow each provider’s skill set and knowledge base

Recruitment Efforts

We are working closely with counties across Colorado to identify and recruit medical and behavioral health providers. We encourage city and county human services directors as well as other professionals in the field to share this training opportunity and help us expand the network with referrals. The more providers we have in the CARE Network, the more families we can reach, reducing incidents of child maltreatment.

Learn more about the opportunity to be a part of the solution at kempecarenetwork.org.

Kempe Professional Heather Taussig Receives Fulbright Award

Congratulations to Kempe professional Heather Taussig on receiving a 2020-21 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Award to conduct research on innovative prevention programs for youth with adverse life experiences.

Heather is the creator and Program Director for Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF), a mentoring and skills training program for youth. In her research, she’ll have the opportunity to take a new look at extensive FHF data collected over the past two decades.

Heather plans to conduct research at Cardiff University’s Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE) in Wales in 2021.

Congrats to Heather on this momentous achievement! Learn More.

Trauma-Responsive Schools: A New Frontier for Protecting Children

As the school year begins amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado students, parents and educators are facing new and persistent levels of uncertainty, stress, anxiety and loss. These feelings, especially over a prolonged period of time, can be especially traumatic for children.

Experts point to a large body of research demonstrating negative effects of trauma on students’ cognitive, academic, behavioral and social-emotional functioning in schools. Equipped with this research, child, youth and family serving systems across the state are exploring ways to re-design the educational experience to reflect an integrated school system that fosters healthy, safe, and responsive environments.

Trauma-Responsive Training for Educators

With Dr. Evelin Gomez leading the way, the Kempe Center’s trauma-informed practice team has been at the forefront of creating practices for schools that help mitigate the impact of trauma and promote healing for children. A trauma-responsive approach can also help educators have better interactions with their students and colleagues and even improve their own well-being.

“Training teachers on how to be mindful and fully present in the classroom – it seems simple but has a huge impact on kids and their ability to learn and stay engaged,” said Dr. Gomez.

In an effort to promote trauma-informed practices even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Gomez and her team have provided training, coaching and consultation for educators in partnership with the Office of Behavioral Health in the Colorado Department of Human Services. As the pandemic continues, bringing additional stress and trauma to light, Dr. Gomez hopes to increase trainings across the state utilizing the Colorado Trauma-Responsive Schools Theory of Change Toolkit.

“Many schools already have some trauma-informed practices in place. Our goal is to take what schools are already doing and equip them with the additional tools they need to better serve children, parents and teachers, especially as they navigate through the current crisis,” said Dr. Gomez.

Trauma-Informed Support for Parents

In addition to trauma-informed trainings, professionals are also exploring new ways of addressing trauma in the wake of COVID-19, including small group discussions between parents looking for connection and resources. These discussions, facilitated by school administrators, allow parents the opportunity to solve problems together.

“If you don’t have people helping you and supporting you, how can you feel effective as a parent?” said Dr. Steven Berkowitz, professor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, on the topic of small group interactions. “Connection with one another is the only way parents can handle the uncertainty we’re currently facing.”

Dr. Berkowitz explains that when supported by the right programs that address families’ needs holistically, children are more likely to avoid additional traumatic experiences like abuse or neglect.

“These small group interactions aren’t just helpful for parents – they allow schools to check in on the well-being of students and identify any instances of impeded family functioning or early signs of maltreatment,” said Dr. Berkowitz.

By focusing on the implementation of trauma-responsive and culturally reflective practices within schools, the professionals at the Kempe Center are leading a comprehensive approach to enhance the opportunities for all Colorado children to be resilient and equipped to reach their full potential.

We know the path to healthy childhoods requires aligning and integrating systems to serve all children and families, advancing policies that prioritize children and families, and building capacity to expand programs demonstrated to work. Each of these things requires a commitment to innovation and an ability to incubate new models, like the Trauma-Responsive Implementation and Practice (TRIP) program.

Help us make our vision a reality by donating the critical funds needed to expand this program and build capacity to help all children and families. Support Kempe today.