April 21, 2014

Conference focuses on preventing child abuse

Professionals from across the state are in Des Moines today for a child abuse prevention conference. Prevent Child Abuse Iowa spokesperson, Sarah Welch, says they have a couple of simple goals.

“Inspiring people with their work, and also to arm them to take a bigger role in their advocacy,” Welch explains. She says they are bringing in a keynote speaker who has been very involved in child and food advocacy, and will share how to prepare, how to have your voice heard among local leaders in the community.

Welch says they will share information on the some of the best ideas that are out there. “One of the things we’re doing new this year is bringing together a lot of different kinds of programs and services and giving people really a taste of a lot of different work that is going on across Iowa so they can then follow up on. And so it’s a lot of different programs, services and initiatives that people will hear about and be able to take advantage of in the future or be able to bring back to their communities,” Welch says.

Welch says her organization focuses on arming people to prevent the abuse before it happens, and believes they are making progress. “We really look at it as the five protective factors. so do families have resiliency against stress, knowledge of child development…do they have a support network and the concrete support that they also need,” Welch says. She says they reach about 60,000 children each year and 15,000 families.

The Jerry Sandusky abuse case at Penn State has brought national attention to the issue of child abuse. Welch says the good side of that case is that it has shown people the importance of organizations like hers.

“You know it’s a very difficult case and has been hard to follow, but it has provided a lot of awareness for our work and it has sparked a lot of initiatives to bring adult sexual abuse prevention training to Iowa,” Welch says. “So it’s led to some positive initiatives in that way.”

You can find out more about Prevent Child Abuse Iowa at: www.pcaiowa.org.