Picture in your mind, if you will the last image you saw of a child. What was that image, sad or happy? What did the picture make you want to do? What memories did it trigger for you? Perhaps the picture was of a happy child.
Now think of the last picture you saw of a child from a different country. What does that bring to mind? Maybe, it’s a picture of a starving child or children that have witnessed or experienced violence through trafficking, disease, war, and exploitation.
Is that picture of the American child completely true? Are all of our nation’s children always happy, healthy, and vibrant? Or, do some of them really mirror those of children from abroad?
Keeping this thought in mind, the Safe Start Center would like to highlight a very important awareness day. On December 14, 1954 the United Nations General Assembly declared the observance of a Universal Children’s Day. November 20th was inaugurated as the official day because of the adoption of the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child, commemorating the importance of children’s welfare as a worldwide truth. Though the United States was an active participant in the writing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it has not yet been able to ratify it, but many American programs like Safe Start are working to promote the importance of protecting children and their welfare. When writing the We the Children: End-decade review of the follow-up to the World Summit for Children Report of the Secretary-General (2001) it quotes a phrase at the heart of the declaration:
“We were all children once. And we all share the desire for the well-being of our children, which has always been and will continue to be the most universally cherished aspiration of humankind.”
While promotion of children’s welfare is happening across the nation, the state of America’s children is still grim. According to a recent report from the BBC America, America’s Child Death Shame, a picture of a perfectly happy American child is not an accurate one. The report highlights that every five hours a child dies from abuse or neglect in the United States. The importance of understanding that children are at risk is also emphasized by Polyvictimization: Children’s Exposure to Multiple Types of Violence, Crime, and Abuse, a new study by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) that describes polyvictimization, victimization through exposure to many kinds of violence. It tells us that at minimum, 1 in 10 children are exposed to violence in their lifetime, and once a child has been exposed, they are at higher risk of being repeat victims. Most important of all, it repeats that this variety of exposure is far more harmful than multiple exposures from a single source.
The Safe Start Center’s mission is directly targeted toward the ideas promoted by the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child. We do so through the promotion of awareness and prevention of both polyvictimization and overall exposure to violence in children and their families. We work to support the work of clinicians, advocates, communities, and caregivers to help raise awareness about the importance of children as the future and their right to a high quality of life. We have a variety of resources available to help caregivers, practitioners, and the public tackle the problem of violence at home, in schools, and the community. Just a few of these resources are:
The Safe Start Center Trauma Informed Care Tipsheets
These resources provides tips and insight for how parents & caregivers, child welfare staff, early childhood providers, men & fathers, domestic violence and homeless shelters, teachers, and agencies working with immigrant families can identify and care for children and youth exposed to a single or multiple types of violence.
Resources for Families and Caregivers
This page also gives a variety of online resources and websites that can help parents and caregivers better understand their children, their mental health, and how to help them cope with any new situations they might face.
Online Resources for Teens and Young Adults
The above page is targeted toward youth, providing online resources and books that raise awareness about the dangers of violence and tips for safety in school or in dating.
So, today on Universal Children’s Day, we need to remember each child across our nation who is exposed to hurt and violence. So please join us at the Safe Start Center by renewing the commitment to working to ensure that all children have the chance grow up safely and without fear.
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Filed under: Exposure to Violence, Global Child Health, International Child Health, Public Awareness | Tagged: awareness, child health, children, children exposed to violence, global health, Safe Start, universal children's day, Violence Prevention | Leave a comment »