County: Placer County
April was Child Abuse Prevention month, a time to raise awareness around the critical issue of child abuse and neglect and to educate the public on prevention. Placer County has been at the forefront of promoting the social and emotional well-being of the children and families in their county, developing a county-wide system of coordination around child abuse prevention. First 5 Placer has shifted from a focus on what services would be funded (health, education, parent support, etc.) to how services are delivered, developing the agency's capacity to serve families holistically and to address issues of concern in Placer County.
Maternal mental health and child welfare have been two areas of particular concern for the County. The Placer Maternal Depression Task Force--in partnership with Strategies Northern California Region--developed a series of regional trainings and webinars for direct service staff, home visitors, clinicians and nurses on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Also in partnership with Strategies and the Office of Child Abuse Prevention, First 5 Placer supported events over three days on early childhood trauma and resiliency. Parents, early childhood educators, CASA volunteers, social workers, and probation officers were among the 200 people who attended trainings by Dr. Mark Katz on insights from those who have overcome childhood risks and adversity.
The culminating event, the February 8th Childhood Trauma Conference, was attended by 115 leaders from 15 counties and state agencies. It included speakers with first-hand experience on early childhood trauma; psychiatrists and experts on reach and treatment related to early trauma; and showcased The Children's Place (Kansas City) and its holistic approach to treatment of abuse, neglect, and other childhood trauma. At the end of the day, participants engaged in a lively discussion regarding a coordinated regional approach to early childhood trauma care.
First 5 Placer is now focused on working with other regional leaders and community groups to establish a center of excellence for the treatment of early trauma in the Sacramento region. Such efforts are vital in increasing awareness of child abuse and neglect, boosting public support and educating the community on its prevention.