Defending Childhood Recommendations: Engage fathers

DCI report header

Attorney General Eric Holder affirms that children’s exposure to violence is nothing less than a national crisis. With this public health issue comes serious ramifications for the future of our country and the young men and women who will soon be called upon to build that future.

In response to these troubling statistics and others, Holder launched the Defending Childhood Initiative in 2010, which has since resulted in a report on prevalence of childhood exposure to violence and recommendations to address it.

Throughout the month of July we’ll take a closer look at some of the recommendations, what is being done and what you can do to help.

One of the recommendations of the Task Force recommendations is to “ensure that parenting programs in child- and family-serving agencies, including fatherhood programs and other programs specifically for men integrate strategies for preventing domestic violence and sexual assault and include reparation strategies when violence has already occurred.”

A father’s engagement with their children is associated with positive cognitive, social, and emotional development from infancy to adolescence. The father’s role is more than that of economic provider and includes nurturing, caregiving, and emotional support in both obvious and subtle ways.

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Defending Childhood Task Force issues report, recommendations

Defending Childhood task force

Photo courtesy of OJJDP

“We are facing one of the most significant challenges to the future of America’s children that we have ever known. Our children are experiencing and witnessing violence on an alarming scale.”

 – Defending Childhood Task Force co-chairs Joe Torre & Robert Listenbee Jr.

Dec. 12, the Defending Childhood Task Force turned over its final report to Attorney General Eric Holder.

Created in October 2011, the 13-member task force visited four communities across the country, hosting hearings to learn about children’s exposure to violence, an experience co-chair Joe Torre said enriched his life.

Task force members told stories of speaking with gang members, parents and practitioners that resulted in the 56 recommendations that make up the report.

Recommendations include:

1.2 – Appoint a federal task force or commission to examine the needs of American Indian/Alaska Native children exposed to violence.

1.3 – Engage youth as leaders and peer experts in all initiatives defending children against violence and its harmful effects.

2.3 – Include curricula in all university undergraduate and graduate programs to ensure that every child- and family-serving professional receives training in multiple evidence-based methods for identifying and screening children for exposure to violence.

4.5 – Create multidisciplinary councils or coalitions to assure systemwide collaboration and coordinated community responses to children exposed to family violence.

Read the full report here.

According to the report, 46 million children in the U.S. will be exposed to violence this year.

The Safe Start and Defending Childhood initiatives provide funding to organizations across the country that are providing evidence-based programs and interventions to reduce and eliminate childhood exposure to violence and it’s negative impacts.

We compiled tweets from the task force’s presentation, which include related resources here.

What do you think about the report and recommendations? Were you surprised by anything? Are you already doing some of the recommendations? Tell us in the comments below.

Defending Childhood Task Force briefing

Update 5:20 p.m. : A summary of the coverage is available HERE.

Original, posted at 1:15 p.m.: This afternoon, the Defending Childhood Initiative’s Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence will brief members of congress on their work to date.

Over the past several months, the task force has met with practitioners, researchers, advocates and survivors in hearings across the country as they work to shape policy recommendations on how to reduce the impact and prevalence of childhood exposure to violence.

Want to follow along? You can check this blog (the Twitter feed to your left), or follow us on Twitter – @safestartcenter – using #DefendChildhood, where we’ll be live tweeting the briefing.

We’ll check back in after the event with a round-up. In the meantime, below are some resources for a refresher course in children’s exposure to violence and the Defending Childhood Initiative.

Defending Childhood Fact Sheet

Facts About Children and Violence

Understanding Children’s Exposure to Violence

Task Force to Examine Children’s Exposure to Violence In Rural and Tribal Communities

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence will hold its second public hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

See the Announcement here:

OJJDP Releases National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence Publications









You should take a look at some great new resources just released by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) that help combat children’s exposure to violence!

Polyvictimization: Children’s Exposure to Multiple Types of Violence, Crime, and Abuse

Children’s Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence and Other Family Violence

“Questions and Answers About the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence: fact sheet

They can also be found here:

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