An autistic 9 year old boy was repeatedly trapped in a converted supply closet by his principal. He begged his parents not to send him back to school.
Testimony like this, and others deemed “horror stories,” by one Senator, were heard by the Virginia State Senate on Tuesday. Lawmakers were voting on a bill that would require the Board of Education to adopt regulations on the use of seclusion and restraint in public schools in the Commonwealth.
It was stories like these, of children locked in dark closets and makeshift holding cells, and forcibly restrained by duct tape, that led the Virginia Commission on Youth to issue a study on the use of restraint and seclusion by public schools in our Commonwealth. The study found that though there are 19 states with policies and procedures related to the use of restraint and seclusions for all children and 32 states with policies related to use of restraint and seclusion for children with disabilities, Virginia is 1 of 10 states with only informal guidelines for the establishment of restraint and seclusion policies in local school districts. These guidelines were not mandatory and merely provided suggestions as to how policies surrounding the use of restraint and seclusion should be formed.
This study led to the creation of the bill discussed on Tuesday. This bill would require the board of education to adopt regulations on the use of seclusion and restrain in public elementary and secondary schools in the commonwealth. The bill requires that such regulations incorporate certain existing guidance documents; include definitions of terms, criteria for use, restrictions for use, training requirements, notifications requirements, reporting requirements, and follow up requirements; and address distinctions between certain student populations.
The Bill passed easily in both the Senate and the House. The next step will be for the Governor to sign it.
Read more on this issue:
PCAV Volunteer Spotlight
April Carter: Why I Volunteer…
With the countless volunteer opportunities available in Virginia, we are continually amazed by the dedication and passion of the people who choose to volunteer for Prevent Child Abuse Virginia. This February, we are placing the volunteer spotlight on one of our PCAV Young Professional Committee Members, April Carter. She tells us Why She Volunteers, and what PCAV means to her.
April Carter began her relationship with PCAV as a summer intern in 2012. Her time as an intern allowed her the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge and hands on experience as to how non-profits operate. She learned about the various ways PCAV works to prevent child abuse, working on such areas as advocacy and legislation, as well as programming aimed at giving parents and care-givers tools and resources to help them succeed.
Organizations whose missions involve helping children were already April’s self-proclaimed “soft spot,” and after “witnessing all that PCAV does to promote the well-being of children, I was inspired to stay involved after my internship.” PCAV’s impact on the community as well as the dedicated staff also motivated April, “you can tell that PCAV’s staff genuinely cares about the work they are doing.”
April Carter is currently the Assistant Director or Petersburg Victim-Witness Assistance Program. She holds her Bachelor and Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is currently a member of PCAV’s Young Professional Committee as well as Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority Inc. She has previously served as a member of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance and the YWCA’s Regional Hospital Accompaniment Response Team (R-HART). When not working or volunteering, April enjoys outdoor activities and traveling.
Thank you April, and all of our volunteers, for your dedication and service to the children in our community and for helping us continue to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect.
Prevent Child Abuse Virginia is a statewide non-profit organization whose mission is to end child abuse and neglect in our Commonwealth. Our Young Professionals Committee is looking for energetic young professionals between the ages of 21 – 35 who are eager to make a difference in their community. Although our office is based in Richmond, we are a statewide organization and encourage anyone from around the state to join. Members of the Young Professionals Committee have the opportunity to network with other young professionals while coordinating activities to raise awareness about the importance of prevention, and most importantly to play a major role in keeping Virginia’s children safe from abuse and neglect.
For more information about how to become a volunteer contact Allison Gilbreath, Community Engagement Manager at 804-359-6166 ext. 312 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
McAuliffe announces creation of Children’s Cabinet and the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success
Governor McAuliffe signed an Executive Order yesterday creating a cabinet solely dedicated to the education, health, safety, and welfare of Virginia’s children and youth. The newly launched Children’s Cabinet will develop and implement a policy agenda that will help better serve Virginia’s children and will also foster collaboration between state and local agencies. As a part of that effort, the Governor also signed a second Executive Order establishing the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success. This Council will be chaired by Lt. Governor Northam and will focus on improving the health, education, and well-being of our youngest children. CONTINUE READING…
Written by: Ashlee W. Roberts, 800-CHILDREN Parent Helpline Director / Public Affairs Manager at Prevent Child Abuse Virginia
September 19th, 2013 – If you’ve watched the news lately, it’s likely that you’ve heard about some type of child abuse incident that has occurred. Did the story include information on how the “incident” could have been prevented? I’m willing to bet your answer is “no”. Unfortunately, there is very little attention given to the question of what it would have taken to have prevented these tragedies from happening in the first place.
For every story of child abuse and exploitation we see in the news, there are thousands of other stories, just as real, just as horrifying, that receive no media coverage at all. If you think this type of “stuff” is happening somewhere far away, to people you don’t know – think again! The odds are actually quite high that each one of us knows several people who have been affected personally by child abuse. All around us there are people who have suffered from abuse or neglect and live with the lasting impact on their emotional and physical health. And there are children suffering today. Why do we tolerate this? Why do we let it go on? Here’s why… because we don’t put enough emphasis on prevention!
Last week, The Washington Post featured an article discussing the latest research on the untreated effects of child abuse and neglect. The research clearly shows the need to support prevention programs like PCAV’s 800-CHILDREN Parent Helpline, Circle of Parents support groups, Healthy Families Virginia, and the Hugs & Kisses child sexual abuse prevention play. Click here to learn more about the services offered by Prevent Child Abuse Virginia.
Research is great, but when the findings continue to show the same trends over and over again, it’s time to stop trying to prove that the problem exists, and focus on how to prevent it from ever occurring in the first place. I think we’ve been successful in raising awareness that child abuse and neglect is a major issue in our society – now it’s time to switch gears and raise awareness that child abuse is preventable. We need the political will to do what works best to raise our children to be healthy, strong, proactive adults who will become productive, caring, and contributing members of society, and live life to the fullest – every child deserves that opportunity!
Child abuse is heart breaking. Most people can’t think about the issue without feeling pain. It’s dramatic. It’s frightening. It brings on feelings of outrage, along with a desire to punish the offender and rescue the child. The moment a child is injured or killed is often when people jump to get involved – at exactly the wrong moment, because it’s too late. Often times when a loved one dies, we feel some type of guilt and question ourselves about what we could have done to prevent him from losing his life. In my opinion, child abuse is no different. When a child experiences abuse or neglect he loses part of his life. A part of him dies. His life is forever changed. We should all experience some form of guilt because the fact is, we could have prevented it! So instead of watching those dramatic stories on the news and responding with thoughts like “people are sick”, “how could someone do that to a child” or “that is so sad” … do something about it!
Remember that “research” I was talking about earlier? Well, it also shows that every 83 minutes a child is abused or neglected – in Virginia alone! Since Prevent Child Abuse Virginia is the only statewide organization dedicated solely to the prevention of child abuse and neglect, we have a lot of work to do – but we can’t do it without you!
Please consider supporting Prevent Child Abuse Virginia during The Amazing Raise. Your tax deductible donation will directly support the programs and services that PCAV provides to families and children throughout the Commonwealth (not just those in the Richmond area). This 36-hour online giving challenge makes it possible for $25 to turn into $1,000 or $50 turn into $20,000! Pretty AMAZING, huh? For example, the organization that receives the most donations of $25 or more from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, will be awarded the “Procrastinator’s Prize” – an additional $2,000 given by The Community Foundation . See the Complete List of Prizes
Primary prevention of child abuse and neglect isn’t “dramatic”. It isn’t the lead story on the six o’clock news. Yet, prevention strategies have been proven to be successful. When we work together in small ways to make our community a safe and supportive place for families, we can make a huge difference – Prevent Child Abuse Virginia strives to do just that – every day!
~Ashlee W. Roberts
*The Amazing Raise is a 36-hour online giving challenge hosted by The Community Foundation, and has raised more than $1.8 million for local charities over the past two years. It is an AMAZING opportunity for friends, family, neighbors and colleagues to come together and raise as much money as possible for local nonprofits (like PCAV) in just 36 hours and, in turn, celebrate the generous spirit of giving that helps define the state of Virginia. Learn more
We have updated PCAV’s Community Partner Affiliates page on our website! Take a look and learn more about some of the wonderful programs that we work with. PCAV is grateful to all of these organizations for their hard work and dedication to families and children across the state! Click on the link below to visit the page.