What is the Child Abuse Prevention Council?
A Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAPC) is an organization that works to move the prevention work forward at the community level. They function as the catalyst, convener, and coordinator of the countywide activities and approach to prevent child abuse. CAPCs focus on bringing together county and community partners to work in unity because not one system or entity can prevent child abuse.
CAPCs focus on:
- Promoting community engagement to protect children and reduce rates of child abuse.
- A collaborative approach to developing traditional and non-traditional partnerships for reducing child maltreatment.
- Developing prevention efforts through public awareness and education.
(Source: Strategies 2.0, Best Practice Guidelines for California Child Abuse Prevention Councils)
The Social Ecology Model and Protective Factors
It is important to observe the inter-connectedness of individual, relationship, and community/society. This model shows that risk factors can be at any level and that when prevention practices are being developed, action needs to be taken across all levels simultaneously.
Focusing on the protective factors is a strengths-based approach and ensures that caregivers can meet basic needs, have strong support systems, and communities where parents can access any services/resources needed to mitigate the risk factors that lead to child abuse and neglect.
Risk Factors for Child Abuse and Neglect
Last year, approximately 500,000 children experienced abuse or neglect in the US. In San Bernardino County, over 32,000 referrals for suspected abuse or neglect were made. Some risk factors for child abuse are:
- Children under 4 years old
- Children with special needs
- Caregivers with drug or alcohol issues, mental health issues, including depression
- Caregivers who are young or single parents or parents with many children
- Families that are isolated from and not connected to other people (extended family, friends, neighbors)
- Communities with high rates of violence and crime, poverty and limited educational and economic opportunities
- Communities with high unemployment rates, easy access to drugs and alcohol
- Communities where neighbors don’t know or look out for each other and there is low community involvement among residents
If you suspect a child may be experiencing child abuse or neglect, call 2-1-1 to report. Reporting can remain anonymous.
Here in San Bernardino County, the Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAPC) has collaborated with the San Bernardino County Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Taskforce to work to prevent child abuse and neglect. Some of the CAPC/ACEs Taskforce partners are:
- Loma Linda University Medical Center
- Victor Family Support Services
- Learn 4 Life
- Autism Society
- San Bernardino County Department of Public Health
- San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health
- First 5 San Bernardino
- Safe Kids – Inland Empire
- Inland Empire Health Plan
- Reach Out
- Uplift Family Services
- Uplift San Bernardino
- Reach Out and Read
- Molina Health Care
Child Abuse Prevention efforts in San Bernardino County
In order to best address the ongoing child abuse prevention needs of San Bernardino County families, Children’s Network brings County departments and community partners together each month at our Child Abuse Prevention Committee meeting. These meetings serve as a training platform where providers who serve children and families can learn about current prevention efforts, review child abuse data/trends and collaborate on new programming ideas and opportunities. It also gives organizations a chance to share their own program and outreach opportunities with others. These meetings are open to anyone wishing to attend. The dates/times can be found on our calendar.
During each April, which is designated as Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month, Children’s Network hosts or participates in a number of activities to raise awareness of child abuse and prevention efforts. Some of these include:
- The Shine A Light on Child Abuse Prevention Awards Ceremony
- Speaking at City Council meetings throughout San Bernardino County
- The Children are our Future event in collaboration with Children’s Fund
- The Children’s Memorial Flag Raising
- Distributing educational and awareness items (such as information on positive parenting, how to recognize and report child abuse, blue pinwheels, etc.) at public events
- Holding many training and speaking engagements on child abuse prevention, ACEs and mandated reporting
What to do when you suspect child abuse?
- Question the child. This can lead to the child being in danger and even giving false reports.
- Investigate the matter yourself.
- Want to slow down the process of this child receiving the help they need if there is abuse in the home. You want to remain objective and be an ally to the family. You do not have the skills or resources necessary to assist families.
Let professionals look into the situation and find ways to assist the child and family.
To Report Child Abuse
Online mandated reporter training available: Child Abuse Mandated Reporter Training
- San Bernardino County residents can dial 2-1-1 to anonymously report if they suspect a child is being abused and/or neglected.
- Child Abuse Hotline for San Bernardino County is 1(800) 827-8724.
- Child Protective Services (CPS) Hotlines: CPS Hotlines for all 58 counties in California. Information on how to report child abuse or make complaints.
- Adult Protective Services (APS): Each county has an APS agency to help elder adults (65 years or older) and dependent adults (18-64 who are disabled) when they are unable to meet their own needs, or are victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Contact your County Hotline.
- California Family and Domestic Violence Referral Directory: This publication lists county-specific resources for family and domestic violence: domestic violence and sexual assault hotlines, domestic violence shelters, domestic violence programs, counseling services for victims, counseling services for batterers, victims services, legal services, district attorney, victim/witness, sexual assault, child abuse and elder abuse.
- Child Welfare Services Complaints: The Children and Family Services Division is responsible for providing statewide oversight of county Child Welfare Services (CWS) programs. If you suspect that a child’s health or safety is jeopardized due to abuse or neglect by parents or other caretaker who has custody of the child, contact the appropriate emergency response hotline number for County Child Protective Services to report the details.
- Child Abuse Prevention Services: The Office of Child Abuse Prevention funds and coordinates local services that help strengthen and preserve families; develops and distributes information to individuals and organizations; and administers state and federal grants and the State Children’s Trust Fund.
- Child Protective Services: CPS is the major system of intervention of child abuse and neglect in California. Existing law provides for services to abused and neglected children and their families, with the goal of keeping the child in his/her own home when it is safe, and when the child is at risk, to develop an alternate plan as quickly as possible.
- The Social Security Administration (SSA), Office of the Inspector General (OIG), fraud hotline provides an avenue for reporting fraud waste and abuse within SSA’s programs and operations.