Together WE CAN
Together WE CAN (Work to End Child Abuse and Neglect) is a community-driven movement with the bold goal of ending child maltreatment within a generation. Founded on the belief that parental wellbeing is inextricably linked to child wellbeing, Together WE CAN works to mitigate the impact of past trauma while preventing future trauma, meeting families where they are to support emotional and economic stability.
Child Abuse and neglect is a profound problem, impacting the health and safety of children and families, and the overall wellbeing of our communities within Scott County.
In late 2017, Scott County Child Protection Services (CPS) and Scott County Public Health came together to begin tackling the increasing numbers of children and families entering the child protection system. The County engaged the community in helping to answer the question, “How do we prevent child abuse and neglect?” Through this effort, two community conversations were hosted, drawing 72 individuals to begin assessing the strengths and gaps within our community.
The Strategic Plan
These conversations and additional community outreach resulted in the draft of a strategic plan in 2018, with four central themes: 1) affordability/economic stability, 2) awareness of and access to services, 3) cultural competence, and 4) service coordination and integration. Supported by the Scott County Board of Commissioners, implementation of the Strategic Plan began in 2019 and continues today. This implementation marked the first time in Scott County history that CPS focused on prevention and community engagement; shifting from reactive to proactive work.
There are five interrelated protective factors that studies show are related to a decreased likelihood of child abuse and neglect, as well as to the promotion of family strengths and optimal child development. Those factors include:
- Concrete Support in Times of Need: Identifying, seeking, accessing, advocating for, and receiving needed adult, child, and family services; receiving a quality of service designed to preserve parents’ dignity and promote healthy development
- Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: Understanding the unique aspects of child
development; implementing developmentally and contextually appropriate best parenting practices
- Parental Resilience: managing both general life and parenting stress and functioning well when faced with stressors, challenges, or adversity; the outcome is positive change and growth
- Social and Emotional Competence of Children: providing an environment and experiences that enable the child to form close and secure adult and peer relationships, and to experience, regulate, and express emotions
- Social Connections: having healthy, sustained relationships with people, institutions, the community, or a force greater than oneself