Taking a Stand to End Abuse
Jonah’s Journey caregivers provide loving, safe homes to children from a variety of backgrounds. One of the realities of foster care is that many times children have experienced abuse or neglect before being placed in a caregiver’s home. While that is certainly not true of every child that is placed with Jonah’s Journey, we want our caregivers to be aware of the toll that abuse can take on a child, so that they can be better prepared to provide for children who have experienced its harmful effects.
April is recognized as National Child Abuse Prevention month, and in honor of that, we encouraged our caregivers to attend a webinar hosted by Whole Child Initiative, who provide initial and ongoing training for all of our foster families. Whole Child Initiative offers a holistic approach to caring for children, designed to address their physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs at every age.
The webinar, entitled Sexual Abuse and Sexual Behaviors: Facilitating Healing while Ensuring Safety in the Home, educated caregivers on best practices and proper responses to a child who has been exposed to sexual abuse. Director of Training, Lauren Strickland, guided attendees through a proper understanding of sexual abuse and the forms it can take, explaining the physical, emotional, and behavioral responses to abuse children often exhibit. She reminded caregivers that, contrary to stereotypes, children with sexual behaviors are not always victims of abuse and that children who have been sexually abused do not always become abusers themselves.
It is important for any individual working with children to understand that there is no “typical story” of abuse. Sexual abuse is reported across all socio-economic, racial, and cultural groups. In fact, ninety percent of children know their abuser personally. Conservative estimates indicate that by the age of 18, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will experience some form of sexual abuse. Through their Whole Child training, Jonah’s Journey caregivers have the tools necessary to not only help prevent abuse, but to help facilitate healing in children who have experienced past abuse.
The same tools available to our caregivers are offered by Whole Child Initiative to any individual who is involved in caring for a child. Follow Whole Child Initiative on social media at @realwholechild on Twitter or Whole Child Initiative on Facebook, and visit their website to learn more about how you can access the resources we depend on to equip our Jonah’s Journey caregivers to give their best to the children in their care, including a recording of this webinar.