Home>Latest Shows>>Child Abuse Prevention

Child Abuse Prevention

Jan 29, 2012|

A discussion with Chris Otis, the Executive Director of the Children’s Relief Nursery, about what their organization is doing to help build healthy families and stamp out child abuse.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

You're listening and just go -- a series of interviews with people of interest in northwest Oregon and southwest Washington I'm your host Ted Douglas. Today I have with me Chris -- the executive director of the children's relief nursery an organization that helps out with the cases of child abuse within families a support network and I also have Michael Sorensen from broad river which is -- insurance brokerage company involved as a sponsor of the children's relief -- how are you both. I'm fine thank -- -- great thing is let's give our listeners a little bit of background on now what you bowls do for your respective companies simply -- star -- Great thank you and thank -- -- for inviting us into the interview in the conversation today. Absolutely it's it's a great -- do. Police mystery is -- I think in its simplest terms that child abuse prevention program and our focuses on children who are under five but has really worked with the entire family to put a variety of supports and services. Around kids and families you're living in very risky situations that -- situations and circumstances that we know put kids at risk for abuse or neglect and you Michael. Probably heard so there's and organizations affiliated with the guardian life insurance company -- New York -- and around Euro -- fifty years and really strong foundation of support Stanley and looking -- there's there's financial security and -- really their peace of mind into the future and the connections at children's relief nursery is there's the same note we're looking -- support organizations that make it different from homeland for families children are dear to our CEOs -- if he would welcome not a follower of our. Howard wanted to be and it never happened -- in some. Yeah -- did that someone could give parents and I'm not how all the skills necessary to be a successful one. Resonates friend so yeah it did of these two things can come together to make a difference for our community assists exactly what is -- doing. Yes seems like a pretty natural fit excellent excellent well let's get a little bit into details of how the children's relief nursery works -- you guys contacted. By a therapist by hospitals who who who gets in contact with the children's relief nursery and and brings the family on board. How we can certainly get referrals from a variety of sources and get this sort of pat provides an additional context -- working with children who are under five. That actually in a precursor stage as well blood entire family can. These are families who -- -- and I'm very difficult situation. They're often living in poverty or without secure housing. They're worried about where they're gonna get their next meal they offer -- our families where there's an adult that has a substance abuse issue right maybe another mental health concern. Or certainly there is domestic violence in the home -- many of our parents have been. The victims of child abuse themselves. And they're often -- you are sort of brushed it brushing up against a child welfare system or other social service systems in our community. So often times we will have referrals from other agencies. Know our work and they understand our work and sort of a comprehensive nature of what we're trying to do. I'm they'll make referrals here and we also have variety. The social service agencies they'll will send people here community health nurses who are working in our community with. At risk families who really understand our work and they will very often and -- -- here. And then we have -- have percentage of families global who'll they'll prefer inflame the nursery and we then in saint John's for. Almost a decade now and have established a presence here in north Portland. And we have -- buses that travel the community because we transport children to the nursery and take him home so. There's a recognition of us in this community and oftentimes parents has seen it. The -- did or they know have a neighbor whose child is coming here and wanna learn something about her services says they will then they'll refer here to the nurse. Street I say it's kind of a volunteer program. Is absolutely a 100% voluntary at this point which is take. A subtle but significant and I think -- about the program nobody in the program is mandated to come hearsay that means sitting inside I'm hard. Any parent has said I recognize that things are difficult for me I recognize that they may not. Understand how their creator relationship with my kids are worried about. You know my real action -- my children because they voluntarily said I need some assistance and some of. -- -- is nobody sets out to be a bad parent little sets out to be abusive and if you see those signs. You see they may be your child is withdrawing from real little bidders are afraid that might be red flag -- Absolutely I think your point is very well made that there are not people generally speaking folks don't sat out. To be bad parent we often think about it these are just really. Tough situations in bad situations for people and and you think about raising children in the best of all circumstances with the resources and with a support system it can be challenging and it can be difficult so you imagine being in a family where you are -- resources -- -- without. But a support network and a real understanding about what early childhood development is Blake -- appropriate development that makes it even more challenging for families. Certainly NA if you're in a situation where you don't have a huge in come your reserves Armstrong. A lot of times the parent has to work multiple jobs doesn't have time to put that time and effort into raising their child. And that is going to be you know neglect which. You might not realizing you're in the midst of neglecting her child because you're doing everything you can't do. Put food on the table and and close them and all that but they do need that one on one relationship. Oh absolutely and in fact one of the foundations of our program is trying to build and support. And repair in many cases the relationship between parent and child because there's. Play your research out there that we'll tell you the earliest years is zero to three years here in eight months we -- I think couple developmental time for children. And -- -- her brain development standpoint and their -- in everything that's happening in their environment and that relationship with their parent is probably the most. -- relationship. And the most foundational relationship for them so when that's not happening it's happening in a way that is not positive that can have some really. Detrimental effects on kids. And DOT your point about nick -- community abuses is something that people see and they reacted they respond to immediately. But neglected in many cases. Certainly more prevalent and can certainly has some longer lasting effect that it's often are. President served as director will say. You know neglected to almost like the death of the spirit of someone because it's so insidious and it. They're over the long haul but it is is can be really get -- and and damaging for children. You have as the most difficult to recognize. Actually -- -- so what sort of programs to children relief nursery offer. We have a very comprehensive. Set of services and -- look at our program very much has a program that's designed for families we have certain services that are just for children and we have certain services that are just for parent. But in the main. They're really about trying to help the family so at our facility in saint John's we offer. Small group settings in what we call therapeutic -- and for kids and those are. No more than eight kids together at a time and they work with are trained staff and trained volunteers. You address social and emotional current developmental delays that they might have out of this facility we also offer respite care so that's an opportunity for parents to. How their children stay with us for short periods of time sort of four hour blocks of time. So that they can maybe get to an appointment or spend some time with an older sibling in that family. Or what we encourage allied health care so parents take some time Q recharge themselves to Friday's and can parent can have better more positive kind of way. We offer parent education which is that fairly structured curriculum to really help our parents understand early childhood development. And really what's happening with the child as they grow and how important they are in the relationship that they establish with them and then a lot of our work -- making some of the most critical work that we do is happening. Not in this facility that really no homes of their children and families that we work -- right. Each elitist part of the nursery has saved case manager whose job it is his he's spent time in the home with the family getting to know them getting to understand their needs. Providing advice and support in referral to other services then. Really becoming very much an advocate for the can't mention that we can help them certainly access our services that make connections to other places in the community that might be helpful to them well. And then we offer mental health services there will be screening and assessment and then some very specific therapy that this kind. Getting back to get the relationship declined very specifically to. Repair and restore that relationship between parent child. Well bigotry is amazing work the you're doing thank you if you just joining us you listening to make your scope a series of interviews with people of interest in northwest -- southwest Washington. I'm your host Ted Douglas I have with me today Chris noticed the executive director of the children's relief nursery and organization dedicated to helping prevent child abuse and you know when fighting child abuse. Helping to support those families in May be rehabilitate them I also have with us Michael Sorensen from broad river a insurance brokerage company that's involved as a sponsor. For the children's relief nursery OK so you have these families are coming week involves your program whether in the facility itself or at home how long typically does a family stay involved with the program. Like this stay in the program is about eighteen months but certainly -- -- -- -- here for a shorter period of time and then -- fellow. Stay with us for longer periods of time and we have found is being pretty being very comprehensive. Services and made it in its. Incremental change if you think about you know some of the challenging situations other families are. Are living with the solution to the problem is not based on. One phone call one referral Q another set of services it's really about a day after day you know one step forward in trying to work in incremental ways to make life different for families so. Second take some time to give. -- you also have a program I ever saw here on your website at an ardent music program. Exactly that's a program called music together. And I should give a shout out your friend at the junior league who sponsored it into that program and it's a very specific program designed to create appreciation for music with very young children and parents and we -- fortunate enough to participate in that program attention of our staff can be trained in that. And now I have built that in Q our programming on a weekly basis with the kids in the program and it's really about. I mean it's music enjoying it I guess that it simplest but trying to speak to that party in all of us here each of us -- that is inclined to make music and playing and it's again about trying to. Involve kids in some creative process involved their parents and -- Creative enjoyment with their children and you look weak hand to. Foster then and social and emotional development that we know is so important. There's a lot of times these sorts of situations whether being a collector -- flat out abuse. A lot of times is because there is some sort of communication breakdown between parent child there's us stunted growth in the emotional expression element of of that relationship and so through our music that's certainly one way the UK and express those emotions. Absolutely I think there's you know a lot of good research that would point kid that would underscore exactly what you just said that there are ways that we can bring that down. And Foster you know good connections between parent and child -- and clearly music and art appreciation you are a couple of ways of doing that. His children certainly you know the don't really have a filter when telling you what they think of US AG is they'd you know the drop picture daddy and if that picture's not so flattering in -- tell you something. -- right and what we're trying to -- -- even in our therapeutic class injury and that music together program. -- to create an environment for children that is. Very open and free for them to explore and then they do as you mentioned you know express themselves and in an environment that's very nurturing meant that and that is very sort of yes oriented around that. Many of our kids come from homes where. Not only is they're not a lot of the communication and language development happening between parent and child but -- physically fit surroundings are cramped or -- -- Creative place being for children or there is no known space for a child so what we can provide for them here. -- -- predictable environment a creative environment and nurturing place for them to be and one that really encourages them in the classroom -- Explored Q if you wanna take all those toys off the shelf then do you batter you wanna go to your eight -- an -- then do that. But it's really is about helping them explain their environments and everything it that's created in Africa. And then on the other end of the spectrum you have for you know the -- families much deeper issues do their substance abuse a one sided Q how do you guys handle that. But we are good at knowing what we're good -- and you know when can make referrals and we are. Often an agency that will be involved with the family. That may be one of the first to uncover schooler with the -- that there really is sort of it may be a larger issue as you mentioned your examples of abuse. Not that many killings don't don't come here. Saying I haven't had to get these problems cameras with them they come because I don't know what to do with my -- year old or -- having. You know issues with how to manage my children and and we get to know them -- as our case managers spend time with him in their homes. They may discover that there really are larger issues that clearly are having an impact on the relationship in the family dynamic in general. So when it's a situation like substance abuse for instance we will make a referral QB local organizations that can. Addressed that in product provides them treatment. If the same thing if there's that mental health concern and we certainly can provide a measure of those services that when appropriate will make a referral out Q. Another source. -- -- in saint John's for about a decade and we touched on kind of community -- awareness of being aware of your truck going around and and knowing you guys are there. But how does the community get involved with the children's relief nursery. Whether it release -- knowledge so freely is built on and public private partnership again there are. And relief nursery in this state right now and for a new others -- Clearly communicated said. We think we are concerned about children in our community were concerned about young families in our community and what can we -- partner with you. To make that happen and that's where organizations like broad river are so we can really critical Q what we're trying to do because we have. Members. Local organizations to support us through volunteer efforts in May be part of our volunteer leadership for they help look at it -- so they made coming because they have volunteers to come and work in our classrooms here. But critically they -- of the many of the organizations that are financially supporting our rights are -- four. And you gotta pay the bills -- yeah yeah and they and that's where a company like broad river comes and Michael how how old are you guys involved with the children's relief nursery. Let's -- broader participated as a sponsor of the major gala event that the release the pressure put phone -- the Iron Chef right. And actually just happened this past weekend and congratulations. Again do you Chris because it was does a fantastic success sold out crowd I think it was indeed yes thank you Michael. And what did you guys that this year we were down -- say Hilton downtown little sensitive reality of intensity and very -- idea in the past two. Dennis sponsors slowed our seal has been the board chair of winner street welcomed and many of the -- participate as volunteers. Your and doing things on the back end over it just sound mean just office yeah and I'm not. Actually having folks like myself -- also from the aboard for a little while myself. Well it's it's nice to know that you know I I'm I'm a big proponent of companies it seemed like there is kinda big companies don't imagine being involved in community suffered. A lot of times he pulled back the curtain you find out that these corporations or or massive financial companies -- They are involved in giving back to the community and it's it's always nice to find that out. On the practice child abuse affects everyone gas in if you aren't seeing -- your child's name in school openly touting his experience in child abuse. Not that child struggle is preventing your child from learning you may have somebody who you work with -- experienced child abuse to me and I able to be consistent at work here or performance could suffer maybe they aren't going on to -- me got a brother sister or relative or friend who. Has experience is never an -- and that struggle to be successful life in the nurseries focus on and zero through age five. Really were so little brain development idea learned this year I'm young enough and can still run in the process of developing who you are. Negative things that may have happened here early on personal were terrible. There comes a point and and I honestly don't know that point I'm not a clinician but there comes a point when some of the things that have happened Q. Kind of stick in the you have to work around them or worked with some and to the nursery is still working with at age group that put the family's struggle through terrible. And the damage that may have heard -- could happen to the child. Is this you're terrible or preventable and -- -- talk about wanting to prevent things from happening can't fix something that has been a struggle and often we don't put our money where our mouth as we want to punish people who supposed to help him get a leg up and the nursery is is really helping I don't think it'll make up the success what's happening there as what Stanley. And now with clinicians with -- elected officials that it's really the families making a difference for their children. Right and then this really the key because if you can get these things off its past your -- -- be helped prevent a lifetime of troubles. And also to help prevent there being troubled people out there as part of our community then that might be causing problems either personal or or larger than that. So I think here you're dead on -- he would get to it at the beginning and help get these kids it. And I still have the struggles and I still have the financial issues -- if emotionally. They can be together it's gonna help them have the tools to to get through all that so fundraising -- you have you response is certainly like broad river. Chris and then do what are the types of events do you guys do for fundraising. But the action is clearly our biggest her signature event and that happens annually we have launched however a second smaller event kind of like a little brother Q iron shaft called the -- bartender. And that's not happened January of every year that he was done having a couple of times now. -- with increasing popularity which has been great fun and and it's an opportunity for us to. Introducing new event and and -- targeted new demographic a little bit of a younger crowd and they have not only embraced the event but. It's been a wonderful point of entry into the nursery an interview this idea of of who we are and what we're doing to. Another audience and that's our Q primary eventually have in the community or other fundraising really comes from working as much as we can with individual than inside organizations like broad river K energy. Who we are and it's amazing MET your earlier point about inside large organizations there are what you find there really are a lot of people who care about this issue. Who are interested in making -- life different in making our community different -- We're working as much as we can -- engaged in a person by person those folks in our work. And we're also fortunate to have we live in Portland and Portland is a community. Even at the local government that has supported programs like ours were very fortunate recipient of funding to -- Portland children's Levy. And they recognize and support child abuse prevention services general for supporting some of our work now as we. Engage with children who Arian Foster care. So me and my earlier comment about this really being a public private and community get through then. Effort I would underscore that again to say that -- working with individuals in our community and businesses in our community and government in our local community in this and in the state to make these services possible. Now it's really a great city and it is -- after. I -- if somebody wants to get involved with the children's relief nursery how to go about that. They can give us a call they can find it on our website and we have staff here who's the part of their job is to. Did you know folks can understand them and give them an opportunity can't link up with us so I would. Encourage people to do that we have a beautiful facility in saint John's and it's really is one of those seeing is believing kind of things right. Take a tour out here and you will come to love the nursery regulator estimates skills. And then if somebody's listening and that you recognize that. They're having some issues in their family what is the best way to to contact you then get involved -- that way. They can call us at the nursery at her main number five three Q8 34776. And let her and administrative staff know that you'd like to talk to somebody about the program and services in an episode where their forum we have intake staff who are. Available to talk with folks and then to meet with them cages you know find out what's going on and well there are many many folks who come here on that first interview and conversation we find yes our services are appropriate if we find that. What do -- needs -- what do you need to he'll need is something other than what we have to -- we are. Very good at making referrals to other services and support in our community. Fantastic well believe it or not we're out of time. We we haven't filled the whole show have a pretty -- as well well done. Well I think you both for joining me on the show today I'm happy to get the word out about such a fantastic program and then certainly about companies like broad river that are supporting them because. Without companies like that organizations like -- couldn't happen. Thank you thank you so much I appreciate the times. Absolutely and if you do -- -- in contact -- -- web -- for children's relief nursery is CR in the number four kids dot org that'll do it for another edition of -- just open Entercom communications public affairs program have been your host -- Douglas if you have a nonprofit -- public affairs organization that you would like let others know about please email me. At microscope @entercom.com. And intercom starts with a neat and please let me just up in the subject line so it doesn't get snagged by my spam -- -- go directly to the station's website click on the community link and submit your information there. Also if you'd like to hear this program again you can visit our podcast agent metro still PDX dot com we'll find this in the last couple of months worth of episodes. And please feel free posted to your FaceBook you MySpace blog what have you. Let's try and get this information about this wonderful organization to as many people as possible. Thank you again both for joining me today thank you all so much for listening. This has been metrostars.