Chicago—Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA America) announced today that its chapters in seven states—Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Virginia—successfully completed the organization’s strength-based chartering process in 2019. Fifteen more chapters—in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Washington, D.C.—are preparing for site visits in 2020, helping to extend the organization’s mission throughout the United States.
“Prevention happens in partnership, and our robust nationwide chapter network resides at the core of the work we do to ensure that all children and families thrive,” explained PCA America President & CEO Dr. Melissa Merrick. “We’re fortunate to have skilled and dedicated leadership and staff in all of these states, and the numerous local partners they collaborate with, which enables us to both extend our primary prevention efforts broadly and tailor them to meet the specific needs of diverse communities across the country.”
During this process, formally called Building Capacity Chartering, PCA America chapters undergo an in-depth self-assessment, combined with on-site interviews and discussions with board members, partners, funders, legislators and others, to evaluate criteria such as the demonstration of a strong mission and consistent brand identity, documentation of sound operational infrastructure and financial resources and evidence of leadership in the statewide scope of influence and activity in child abuse and neglect prevention.
“The comprehensive but focused framework established by these criteria help ensure consistency across the network, as well as define the chapter’s areas of expertise and capacity to focus on and address the needs of its core audiences,” stated PCA America Director of Chapter Services Anita Odom. “The Rhode Island chapter’s Healing Mothers and Babies program, for instance, was developed specifically in response to the adverse impact of the opioid crisis in the state.”
PCA America chapters range from independent nonprofit organizations to entities operating under umbrella institutions such as government agencies, hospitals and universities. For example, the Delaware chapter is registered as a stand-alone 501 (c)(3), while the Idaho chapter operates in conjunction with the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund, in Boise. Regardless of their makeup, chapter programs are frequently developed and delivered in tandem with a variety of public and private partners:
- A provisional chapter for two years, Prevent Child Abuse Connecticut obtained chartered status in 2019 and operates under the umbrella of the Connecticut Children’s Alliance, working closely with the state’s Office of Early Childhood, spearheading child sexual abuse and abusive head trauma prevention efforts and safe sleep initiatives.
- Established in 1978, Prevent Child Abuse Delaware is the lead administrator of community-based child abuse prevention (CBCAP) grants in the state and partners closely with both public entities and philanthropic institutions, including the Beau Biden and Rodel foundations, to provide extensive training and home visiting and safe sleep programs.
- Prevent Child Abuse Idaho partners strategically with community-serving agencies, including faith-based organizations, hospitals, the Commission of State Libraries, the Idaho Association of Young Children, the state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and numerous other early childhood advocates, to deliver a comprehensive system of child abuse prevention programming.
- A leader, convener and coordinator of statewide prevention efforts, Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey works with public entities and community-based organizations, including the Department of Human Services and the Child Wellness Institute of New Jersey, respectively, to address issues such as infant safe sleep, child sexual abuse, abusive head trauma, human trafficking and adverse childhood experiences. The chapter is also the state lead of Healthy Families America, PCA America’s evidence-based home visiting model.
- Through a wide variety of initiatives—Circle of Parents, Incredible Years, Strengthening Families, Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) and involvement in the implementation of the CDC’s Essentials for Childhood framework—Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina delivers wraparound prevention services in conjunction with public and private entities such as the state’s Division of Social Services, Division of Public Health, the Duke Endowment and the NC Institute of Medicine.
- Hosted under the Family Support Network of Rhode Island, a parent-led nonprofit organization, Prevent Child Abuse Rhode Island had its first chartering experience in July, 2019, which lifted its provisional status. Three centers throughout the state deliver programs such as Healing Mothers and Babies and the Rhode Island Fatherhood Initiative, as well as supports for pregnant and parenting families with substance-exposed newborns.
- Two years ago, Prevent Child Abuse Virginia merged with CHIP (Virginia’s home visiting program) to become Families Forward Virginia, which in partnership with the Virginia Department of Social Services and Family and Children’s Trust, among other entities, implements child sexual abuse prevention strategies, such as Darkness to Light, manages the state’s home visiting consortium, is the state lead of Healthy Families America and provides training and technical assistance to all home visiting programs in the state.
“Affiliation with PCA America provides access to a broad network of aligned institutions, which not only helps to amplify the impact of the work widely but also engenders the sharing of information and expertise,” continued Odom. “This is how we provide the safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments that help children succeed and families and communities across the country thrive.”
About Prevent Child Abuse America
Founded in 1972, Prevent Child Abuse America is a national organization with chapters in 48 states and nearly 600 Healthy Families America home visitation sites throughout the country. It promotes services that improve child well-being and develops programs that help to prevent all types of abuse and neglect. Ninety-four cents of every dollar spent goes directly into programs and services, which is why it is rated as one of the top charities for children by Consumer Reports and charity oversight organizations, including Charity Navigator, GreatNonprofits and GuideStar.