As the country struggles to process the news of a couple in Riverside who were charged with physically and emotionally abusing their 13 children, Home Start CEO, Laura Tancredi-Baese spoke with Nichelle Medina at CBS News 8 this morning to discuss child abuse prevention.
Click Below to Watch the Video:
Or Read the full interview below:
Nichelle Medina: “So how can we spot the warning signs and how can child abuse be prevented? Joining me right now from Home Start, is CEO, Laura Tancredi-Baese. Good morning to you and thank you for your time today. You know this is a case that has really gripped the nation. You know, we just heard people, family members say they didn’t see any signs. Is that really even possible? ”
Laura Tancredi-Baese: “It’s hard to imagine, because these are horrific situations for these poor children in this family. I think people are afraid to recognize that child abuse and neglect is here in our country, in our community, and they want to not believe that it’s happening, but there are some signs and symptoms.”
Nichelle: “Let’s talk more about that because as a parent, I know my child and for a lot of viewers too, our children, that’s our world, but the statistics are shocking. Nearly 700,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect. These are our stats from 2015, but what do we see locally? It is a problem.”
Laura: “It is a problem, it’s a reality and it’s something we have to talk about. San Diego County gets about 70,000 calls to the child abuse hotline, so that’s to report a suspected child abuse report, and then the county takes over and does the investigation. I think it’s just a small portion of what really goes on”
What are the signs?
Nichelle: “So what are the signs? What do we as a society need to be on the lookout for?”
Laura: “Well there are different types of abuse. Of course physical, sexual, neglect. You’re going to look for odd behaviors in a child. You know a child that has been sexually abused is going to have unusual connections to sexuality. Physical abuse is more obvious, although sometimes the bruises might not be visible. But you’re going to see a child who’s perhaps very withdrawn. You’re going to see a child who’s more aggressive. Clearly with neglect, they’re going to be hungry a lot. They don’t look like they’re clean. They might be wearing the same clothes time after time. They don’t want to return back home if they are at school or another place. They don’t want to go home, that’s a real warning sign.”
Nichelle: “And you really just said it too, because the warning signs, it doesn’t just come down to bruises anymore. Those physical aspects. Talk about what your organization does, Home Start. It is a non-profit and how you guys step into help.”
Laura: “Well we’ve been in San Diego for 45 years and our mission remains the same since then. It’s about preventing child abuse and neglect and strengthening families who have some risk factors. We really want children to be safe and to be nurtured, and that is our vision. We have about 7 program areas from prevention and early intervention, housing, supportive services, all the way to therapy using evidence-based methods of providing therapy for children or families who have experienced abuse or neglect or some kind of trauma.”
Nichelle: “I know you can’t speak about the specifics of this case, but what kind of help, even treatment do you think these siblings are getting right now. You know from allegedly being abused physically and mentally, I mean where do you even begin to even help these children?”
Laura: “Well, you know it breaks everybody’s heart, but there are some treatments out there, that are proven to be effective. So when we say evidence-based, it’s been researched. With children you have to address the trauma, so TFCBT, which it Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Helping children process the enormous trauma they’ve experienced in a safe and nurturing place is one example, but of course it depends on the age of the child. Some of these young people are actually adults, but they appeared to be children because of how emaciated they were.”
Nichelle: “Right, and you hear that some of them didn’t even understand the role of what a police officer does, like getting help such as that. And you know we hear as parents we’re supposed to protect our children, but really, as in your role, it takes a village to protect children.”
Laura: “It really does. We’re all in this together. You know whether you are a neighbor or a social worker or just a family friend, pay attention to the signs. You can file a report. It’s always anonymous, so they won’t know who filed that child abuse report.”
Nichelle: “And how can people find out more about what you guys do and the work that you guys do here in our community?”
Laura: “Go check out our website, www.home-start.org. Get involved, give us a call, you can see our website. We have all kinds of information about our programs and our services. And we take volunteers for all kinds of things.”
Nichelle: “Thank you so much for your time”
Laura: “Thank you for having me Nichelle.”
[Aired on 01/19/17 at 7:14 AM]
Save The Date
In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month Don’t forget to SAVE THE DATE for Home Start’s 46th Annual Blue Ribbon Gala on Saturday, April 21st, 2018.