Our second grantee highlight of our Summer in a Safe City campaign is the Child Abuse Prevention Program (CAPP) at New York Foundling. CAPP is another one of our organizations within our “Youth and Education” areas of our programmatic pillars.
Since its inception, the CAPP has been at the forefront at the ongoing battle of breaking the cycle of child abuse. The organization raises awareness of the consequences of child abuse and offers strategies for prevention. In an interesting and extremely effective method, the program uses life-sized puppets in skits to teach children how to recognize, resist, and report physical and sexual abuse–educating them about their right to a safe childhood. The puppets relay the importance of the message and the prevention tactics in a manner that does not intimidate the children nor completely undermines the significance of the program. Following each session, children are given a special opportunity to speak with staff and counselors privately. Roughly 1% of all children who participate in the workshop will disclose abuse serious enough to warrant a call to the State Central Register, and 4% of participants are followed up with and connected with community services (such as domestic violence, mental health, etc.) on an as-needed basis in response to information disclosed in these safe and confidential settings. Each year, CAPP prevention specialists visit approximately 150 schools, providing safety information and helping to build a safer community environment for almost 200,000 children in New York City. In 2015, a year after integrating with New York Foundling, the program was able to reach 20,000 kids alone.
Every workshop requires school guidance counselors to attend one-day training that expresses the importance of the program and advises the counselors on spotting the correct identifying markers of child abuse–whether physical, emotional, or sexual. The counselors also learn how to conduct a minimal facts interview which is an integral portion of initiating child abuse cases. Not only are the children learning how to spot and recognize abuse, but the schools’ educators are as well.