Russian Time Magazine

Empowering Our Community to Be the One

By the Yolo County Child Abuse Prevention Council


As we enter Child Abuse Prevention Month, it is essential to recognize both the progress we've made as a community and the work that lies ahead in safeguarding our children. This year's theme, "Be the One," speaks volumes about the power each of us holds to make a positive difference in the lives of children in our community.

Yolo County, like many communities, grapples with the reality of child abuse and neglect. In 2023, Yolo County Child Welfare Services investigated allegations of suspected child abuse and/or neglect involving 1,044 children. While not every allegation was determined to be substantiated, the 135 Yolo County children who entered foster care that year underscore the ongoing challenges we face. Particularly concerning is the disproportionate representation of Black children in foster care entries; despite constituting just 2.44% of Yolo County's child population, Black children ages 0-5 accounted for 13.33% of entries into foster care in 2023.

As members of the Child Abuse Prevention Council, we are actively engaged in national initiatives aimed at reducing entries into foster care. Recognizing the pressing need to address this disparity, we have honed our focus this year on preventing both child abuse and entries to foster care for Yolo County children – with a focus on preventing entries to foster care of Black children ages 0-5. This aligns with Yolo County’s Comprehensive Prevention Plan that seeks to incorporate culturally responsive strategies to safeguard our most vulnerable children and mitigate the disproportionate risk they face of entering foster care.

Poverty, while not deterministic of neglect, often exacerbates stressors on families, increasing the risk factors for child maltreatment. In California, 31% of families do not have their basic needs met, while in Yolo County, 24.3% of single-parent families experience poverty, highlighting the intersection between socioeconomic factors and child welfare (U.S. Census Bureau, 2020). The Yolo County Child Abuse Prevention Council continues to advocate for local initiatives that will improve the ability of families to be self-sufficient and applauds the efforts of the Yolo County Basic Income Program (YOBI) that seeks to serve Yolo County’s most vulnerable residents. Educational initiatives aimed at strengthening household financial security can also play a pivotal role in reducing the incidence of child abuse and neglect. By improving parents' ability to provide for their children's basic needs, access developmentally appropriate childcare, and alleviate parental stress and depression, we can create more stable and nurturing environments for our children to thrive.

It is essential to recognize that child abuse prevention is not solely the responsibility of social services or law enforcement. It's a collective effort that requires community-wide engagement and education. Research by renowned psychiatrist Dr. Bruce Perry underscores the critical importance of positive relationships in mitigating the risk of child abuse and promoting resilience. Supportive connections with caring adults can serve as a powerful buffer against the effects of trauma, offering children a sense of security and stability in tumultuous times.

This year, all Child Abuse Prevention Councils in Northern California have joined forces under the "Be the One" campaign, uniting our efforts to prevent child abuse and promote child well-being. It's a testament to the strength of our region's commitment to protecting our most vulnerable members. It's remarkable how a single positive connection with just one person can change a child's life for the better. We feel the profound influence of social connections in our day-to-day lives. A hug from a friend or a smile from a stranger on a difficult day can alleviate stress and uplift our spirits. Research confirms the importance of strong social supports in promoting the mental health of parents and children alike. We encourage you to extend a caring connection to someone today. A simple smile, a listening ear, or a gesture of kindness can help alleviate the negative impacts of stress and foster resilience.

Throughout Child Abuse Prevention Month, we invite you to join us in learning more about the efforts of the Yolo County Child Abuse Prevention Council. Visit www.strongfamiliesyolo.org to explore resources and information on how you can contribute to our collective mission. Whether you're a parent, educator, healthcare professional, or concerned citizen, your involvement can make a meaningful difference. By becoming informed about the science of resilience and learning how to create more caring connections, we can provide support for those who need it most. Prevention goes beyond awareness; it requires action. Together, let's heed the call to "Be the One" who steps in for our children and ensures they have the safe, nurturing environment they deserve.

In closing, we urge you to join us in our collective efforts to create a brighter, safer future for the children of Yolo County. Together, we can empower our community to prevent child abuse and build a more resilient and compassionate society. Let's stand united as advocates for our children, because every child deserves to grow up in a world where they feel valued, cherished, and safe.
About the Authors

The Yolo County Child Abuse Prevention Council includes representatives from:
CAPC Chair: Tony Kildare, Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency- Child Welfare
CAPC Vice-Chair: Rachelle Gayton, Yolo County Probation
Celina Alveraz, Empower Yolo
Gina Daleiden, First 5 Yolo
Yolo County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
Sara Gavin, CommuniCare + Ole
Cecilia Lopez, Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center, Yolo County District Attorney’s Office
Maria Isabel Mandujano, Community Partner
Sonia Rambo, Yolo County Office of Education
Rob Strange, West Sacramento Police Department
Brian Vaughn, Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency- Public Health
Tessa Smith, Community Partner
References:

Yolo County Child Welfare Services. (2023). Yolo County Child Abuse and Neglect Investigations Dataset, 2023. [Internal Data Set].

Perry, B. D. (n.d.). Childhood Trauma: The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics. Child Trauma Academy. Retrieved from https://childtrauma.org/

U.S. Census Bureau. (2020). 2016-2020 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. Retrieved from https://data.census.gov/
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