No child should ever be a victim of abuse or neglect. Yet risk factors such as poverty, job and housing loss, family isolation, and community and family violence are a daily reality for too many of our city’s children and families.
For decades, families have turned to the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center as a vital lifeline. We provide support in moments of crisis and over the long term, helping fragile families gain stability to thrive.
The San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center serves as an essential anchor institution by leading strategic partnerships, delivering high-quality services, and raising awareness to prevent abuse. Our services empower children, strengthen families, engage the community, and broaden the community safety net for children.
In 2013, we served 13,477 children, parents, and community members. The children and families we serve come from all neighborhoods and ethnic backgrounds – reflecting the diversity that is San Francisco.
We are implementing a comprehensive approach to end child abuse and are partnering with families, schools, community organizations, local government, and civic leaders to increase our impact every day.
Expanding our reach – Educating the community to spot and stop abuse. Changing mindsets to create a community of action, awareness, and prevention.
Deepening our impact – Building protective factors, including family resiliency, parenting education and skills, and overall family strength and wellness.
Tracking our success - Measuring the results of our innovative model of intensive, coordinated care for at-risk families.
Strengthening the safety net - Leading unique public-private partnerships to effectively harness expertise and communication so children can begin to heal quickly.
Every child should be taught what to do if they are in an unsafe situation. We are currently working in 40% of the public elementary schools in San Francisco with a focus on those with aggregate risk factors related to poverty, violence, and social isolation.
An intensive training, along with a pre-test and post-test scheduled at the beginning and end of the school year, allows us to measure the impact of our Child Safety Awareness lessons on the children who receive them.
Real prevention begins when children remember what they learned and put it into practice.
A 6-year-old sits attentively as our Child Safety Awareness trainer teaches the class about safe and unsafe touching, and how to tell a trusted adult if something bad is happening to you. After the lesson, the child quietly approaches and reveals abuse that has been kept secret for too long. Our trainer knows just what to do, and works closely with the school to make sure the child will be safe, that the abuse will stop, and that healing can begin.
San Francisco continues to have the highest rate of child abuse in the Bay Area. We believe that the city should lead in child abuse prevention, not in child abuse. Therefore, we have deepened our impact by designing and piloting an innovative new model of intensive treatment for our most at-risk families.
Indicators—measuring parental resiliency, knowledge of parenting, child development, levels of social isolation, access to basic needs, and children’s social and emotional intelligence — allow us to evaluate our families’ progress on a regular basis and target treatment plans to the areas that need strengthening.
With this new team approach, we can reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect and help build stronger families overall.
A family with a generational history of abuse reaches out to us in crisis to discuss heated conflicts around registering their five-year-old for kindergarten. Our counselors listen to their story and evaluate their protective factors and risk factors for abuse. A targeted treatment plan is established to strengthen the areas of greatest vulnerability.
As time goes on, a measurable pattern emerges and counselors recognize that the mother suffers from mental illness and the child is best cared for by her more stable grandmother. Our intervention disrupts the cycle of dysfunction, keeps a little girl safe and in school, provides needed support for a mother, and allows the family to live a happier life together.
A long-held dream of strengthening the safety net became a reality with the opening of the city’s first Children’s Advocacy Center, a project built on a longstanding and successful history of advocacy and partnership.
Here, a child who has experienced abuse receives trauma-informed care and long-term support in one child-friendly place. In the aftermath of abuse, a care network is activated. Law enforcement, Child Protective Services, mental health, and medical professionals each have an important role to play in removing children from risk and helping them heal.
The Children’s Advocacy Center is the heart of this network. It connects and coordinates these services with the family, ensures strong inter-agency collaboration, and acts as the hub for the many support services that the family may need. Most of all, it is a safe and welcoming place where a child is heard and protected—and where he or she can start on the road to healing.
100% of San Francisco’s eligible forensic interviews will be conducted at the Children’s Advocacy Center by the end of 2014 – ensuring that 250 children receive forensic interviews, multidisciplinary crisis care, and follow-up care in the Children’s Advocacy Center’s first nine months of operation.
The Children’s Advocacy Center has applied for national accreditation, outlining safety, legal, and medical protocols and agreed-upon procedures necessary to coordinate investigations of child abuse. We are on target to receive national accreditation and recognition by the end of 2014.
A nine-year-old boy arrives with his parents for an interview. He is scared and unable to make eye contact. In the waiting room, the little boy begins to read a book and starts sharing things he learns from the book with our caregiver. As he does so, his body relaxes, his eye contact improves, and he smiles and asks questions.
Noticing that he has a stuffed animal with him, our forensic interviewer asks if he wants to pick out another from our toy chest to have as a friend. Despite becoming upset while telling his story during the interview, he soon plays and talks with our caregiver and partners, leaving with the knowledge that adults will be there to help him.
We envision a San Francisco in which 100% of our children are safe from abuse.
Every day, we witness extraordinary transformations. We hear families begin to laugh again. We see relief on the faces of children who were once afraid or had no voice to speak up.
We believe that 100% of our community’s children should be safe from abuse. While we can never undo the trauma that children have endured, we can diminish its impact. And we can work together to ensure kids never get hurt in the first place. We can show families a future filled with compassion, strength, and hope.
There are thousands more families who need our help to heal, thousands who can be spared the heartbreak of abuse. Together, we can end child abuse in San Francisco. We owe it to every child to begin today.
Fiscally responsible stewardship is a commitment we make to ensure that the money we raise goes to our programs and helps make a better life for the families and children we serve. Our work is made possible through the generosity of private donors, corporate and foundation grants, and government contracts.
* Interest & Other Income -$2,962
Our 2013 income includes $1.7M raised in prior years to support the renovation of 3450 3rd Street, the home of the Children's Advocacy Center and our co-located partners. As a result of this effort, all partners were fully moved in and serving children and their families by early 2014.
* Contribution or a portion of contribution represents a multi-year commitment .