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In The News …

Why Kids Drop Out: Identifying The Early Warning Signs (WAMU): “New graduation numbers to be released this month are expected to show that just more than half of public school students in the District actually graduate high school in four years. Students don’t drop out of school for any one reason. It’s usually a complicated mix, including individual traits, home life as well as school and neighborhood characteristics. But many researchers believe children exhibit clear warning signs early on that can help identify those at risk of dropping out. This report focuses on Turner Elementary School in Southeast, whose graduates attend a middle and high school “where approximately 20 percent of students can read and do math at grade level.” Attendance is the most critical challenge, as nearly 20 percent of DCPS students “had more than two weeks of unexcused absences last year.” To learn more about Catalogue education enrichment nonprofits, head this way.

Study: Child Abuse Affects More US Kids than SIDS (TIME): “When it comes to child abuse, the first year of life is the most dangerous for children. Although SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, attracts far more attention, the rate of hospital admissions related to SIDS is actually lower than the rate of child abuse — 50 per 100,000 children under age 1 for SIDS, compared with 58.2 per 100,000 births. [...] Researchers at Yale University found that abuse landed 4,569 children under 18 in the hospital in 2006; 300 of them died.” Locally, SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) of Northern Virginia and Alternative House are working for safe, permanent homes for children in need.

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7 Questions – Michele Booth Cole (Safe Shores)

Good morning, folks! And welcome to … Michele Booth Cole, Executive Director of Safe Shores. With a child-friendly and welcoming approach, Safe Shores (the DC Children’s Advocacy Center) ensures that abused children’s voices are heard in criminal investigations, their needs are placed first, and a safe space is available to them.

1. What was your most interesting recent project, initiative, partnership, or event?

In April 2011, we held a series of free community trainings for adults on child sexual abuse prevention in different wards throughout DC in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Safe Shores partnered with DC Council members Yvette Alexander (Ward 7), Muriel Bowser (Ward 4) Jack Evans (Ward 2), Jim Graham (Ward 1), and Phil Mendelson (At-large), DCPS Parent Resource Centers in Wards 1 and 7, and Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Ward 4, all of whom co-sponsored the trainings to raise awareness about this critical public health and safety issue. The trainings were attended by a really diverse and engaged group of community members who learned how to recognize, respond to and prevent child sexual abuse pursuant to the “Stewards of Children” curriculum.

2. What else are you up to?

After six years of working, we finally completed the renovation and furnishing of Safe Shores’ new home at the former Bundy building. We moved into the newly renovated space last year along with the partners from our public and private Team agencies. Safe Shores’ Board and staff are now energetically engaged in strategic planning to chart Safe Shores’ course for the future. In addition, we’ve recently adopted the Benevon fundraising model to increase the organization’s long-term financial sustainability by expanding our base of individual supporters.

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7 Question – Sonia Quinonez (SCAN of Northern Virginia)

Greetings! Let’s welcome to “7 Questions” … Sonia Quinonez, Executive Director of SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) of Northern Virginia. Last year alone, 7000 children were reported as victims of abuse in Virginia and SCAN is there to stand up for them, offering parental support groups and education and producing creative public awareness initiatives. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, so this is an ideal time to learn more about SCAN’s essential work in our region.

1. What was your most interesting recent project, initiative, partnership, or event?

SCAN of Northern Virginia just hosted our annual Allies in Prevention Awards Luncheon last Friday. It was a wonderful gathering of some 190 advocates for children — from front-line child protective services workers to elected officials. We honored five inspiring individuals, who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to improving the lives of children and strengthening families. Leon Harris of WJLA/ABC7 was a delightful emcee introducing us to the Ally Award winners. From a foster parent to a probation officer to a Deputy Director of Community and Human Services, each of the honorees has demonstrated a lifetime of commitment to protecting the most vulnerable children in our community. Our keynote speaker, Christine James-Brown, CEO of the Child Welfare League of America, engaged us in reflections on national advocacy efforts to focus anew on child welfare and the responsibility and accountability each of us has for playing our role in the systems that support families. It was truly an inspiring event.

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