After nearly 27,000 votes, we're thrilled to announce that 7x7 readers voted the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center as San Francisco's favorite charity. In addition to our $700, they received an additional contribution from Gump's as recognition for the wonderful work they're doing to protect and nurture San Francisco's children. They will also be profiled in the February issue of the magazine as "A Charity You Love."
The other 6 finalists - KEEN, Summer Search, DISH--Delivering Innovation in Supportive Housing, The Shanti Project, Project Night Night and A Good Idea also received $700 from us and were honored yesterday at an event at Gump's.
Many of the charities told us that San Franciscans have reached out to them to help through this exposure. All 61 charities who were initially nominated are doing great work in the city and we encourage you to contribute or volunteer in any way that you can.
Congrats to the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center and thank you for the work that you're doing in our community.
Read a little more about the SF Child Abuse Prevention Center in our Q&A with Executive Director Katie Albright and President of the Board Christopher Keane.
What kinds of work do you do beyond the center itself?
Christopher: Through our Child Abuse Council, we have terrific education and outreach programs, in addition to our direct services. For example, Mandated Reporter training. There’s a list of people, like pediatricians, social workers, dentists, police officers, teachers, physicians, janitors at schools, who are required, if they have a reasonable cause to suspect child abuse, to report it to the Child Protective Services. The problem is that most people don’t feel they have the competence to know when they should suspect abuse, or how to report it. We train people on how to spot it and report it, and we do that free of charge. It helps strengthen a very important safety net for kids.
Do other child abuse centers do this?
Katie: We're unique in a lot of ways, in that we focus on high-quality direct services and public education and advocacy. Our TALK Line is a 24/7 open crisis and counseling phone line -- parents can call (415) 441-KIDS for round-the-clock support. Families come to our Family Support Center for a range of supportive services such as counseling, emergency needs, family-friendly events, and substance recovery support. We also provide nurturing respite child care and our SafeStart program reduces the impact of violence on children age six and under. Our Child Safety Awareness educators visit schools to teach kids how to be safe, and how to protect themselves.
We work with a third of the public elementary schools in the city. We have reporters and trainers that speak both English and Mandarin, and little bit of Cantonese and Spanish, so we're really able to cover a broad spectrum of children.
There are 5,600 cases of child abuse reported here every year, and that's with a significant amount of underreporting (about 20% of cases are reported). We feel like we’re doing a good job when the number of reported cases actually goes up because we are raising the awareness and are connecting with people so they can reach out for services.
What is the message in particular that this center wants to send out to families who may be dealing with issues of abuse? What does this center really excel in?
Parenting is tough, and we’re here. Everyone needs help in parenting and we’re here 24/7.
Can you guys tell me some of your most rewarding experiences while you’ve worked at the center?
Christopher: You actually see the results of the work come through the TALK line. I can just tell you from the work that I do, that if you can stop just one of those kids from being shaken, there’s obviously a benefit for the baby, but there’s also a benefit to society. The cost of taking care of that baby for the rest of his or her life exceeds $10 million if they can't walk or talk.
How vocal are the kids? Do you guys ever get feedback from the kids themselves?
Katie: We see the positive effects of our work every day, in our Children’s Playroom, Respite Care, Children’s Counseling, Child Safety Awareness and SafeStart programs. One teacher told us recently about a little girl in a playground during an after-school program and a man called her over to the fence and started taking pictures of her. The little girl's friend said, "No. You’re not a safe adult," and ran to get a teacher. The teacher called the police and the police were able to confiscate the camera and give the man appropriate warnings and patrol around the school. And when the child who ran and got the teacher was asked afterwards 'How did you know?' she said 'I knew what to say because of the safety awareness classes'.
We really are connecting with kids in a meaningful way and strengthening our community one family and child at a time.
People can get involved by joining their auxiliary committee, become a TALK line volunteer, donate pro bono hours (finance, legal, marketing, handiwork, etc.), volunteer in their Children's Playroom and more.
Profile by Laura Mason
If you'd like to see the SF Child Abuse Prevention Center profiled in our February issue as a "Charity You Love," vote here.