Community Initiative

We believe that the health and well-being of our community depends on how we treat our children.

SAFEchild serves as the backbone of a partnership of youth-serving organizations, government agencies, faith communities and parents working to strengthen our community and protect children by understanding and mitigating risk factors for abuse and other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) while building resilience.

The partnership – the merger of the ACEs Resilience in Wake County Initiative and a group that convened for over a year to craft the 2020 Wake Child Abuse Prevention Plan – is committed to ensuring that all children:

  • are nurtured by strong families;
  • are thriving in stable environments surrounded by caring adults;
  • feel safe and protected.

Together, we as a community can work to prevent ACEs and mitigate their impact for a healthy, thriving and economically strong Wake County.

The Five Protective Factors

The Protective Factors Framework is an integral component of the 2020 Wake Child Abuse Prevention Plan. This framework is the foundation of the Strengthening Families Approach developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

When the following five protective factors are well-established in a family, the likelihood of abuse and neglect diminishes as the family grows stronger. Source: The Center for the Study of Social Policy

Parental Resilience: Resilient parents can cope with the stresses of everday life and the occasional crisis and have developed the flexibility and inner strength needed to bounce back from a challenging time.

Concrete support: Families will not thrive if parents cannot provide basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing and transportation. Also necessary: access to essential services such as child care, health care and mental health services to provide stability, treatment and help for family members during a crisis.

Social and emotional competence: Children and teens who can interact positively with others, self-regulate their behavior and effectively communicate their feelings have stronger relationships with family, other adults and peers. This competence results from children’s early experiences of being nurtured and cared for.

Social connections: Parents who have a social network of emotionally supportive family, friends, neighbors and community members often find it easier to care for their children and themselves.

Knowledge of parenting and child development: Accurate information about child development and appropriate expectations for children’s behavior help parents see their children in a positive light and promote healthy development. Family members and parent education classes, such as those offered by SAFEchild, are great sources.

The Initiative’s Focus on Racial Equity

Initiative partners have long had a desire to name racism as a current form of violence perpetrated against people of color and to inform the connection of trauma-informed practice and the trauma experienced by people of color.

To increase resilience in our community without understanding how race and ethnicity impact feelings of safety is incomplete and will not yield the desired results.

Initiative members have stated the importance of understanding equity and applying a racial equity lens to their work to ensure the following:

1) No additional harm is done to marginalized community members in the pursuit of building resilience;

2) Policy and practice solutions are relevant and benefit all community members;

3) Leadership of the initiative is reflective and inclusive of the diverse community members in Wake County; and

4) There is alignment with recommendations from the Wake County Community Health Needs Assessment and Population Health Task Force.

Find background information on racism, as well as a racial equity resource list, here.

Input and engagement from the community, local businesses and youth-serving organizations will be essential to the success of this community initiative.

Contact Ginger Espino, SAFEchild’s community engagement and training coordinator, at gespino@safechildnc.org or 919.232.5669, for more information about our community partnership initiative and virtual monthly meetings, and how you can become involved in ensuring a safe and stable Wake County!

SAFEchild’s community partnership initiative receives generous funding from the John Rex Endowment.

In the state of North Carolina, anyone who suspects a child has been abused or neglected is mandated to report the suspected abuse. Find reporting information HERE.