Child Abuse Prevention – It Takes A Village

By Glenda Henman, Behavioral Health Counselor

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Most people avoid thinking or talking about child abuse and neglect because it is upsetting and difficult. However, in 2014, there were more than 700,000 children who were victims of child abuse and neglect. Knowing how big the problem is means we can take action to reduce this number and support these children as they recover.

We know now that child maltreatment (a phrase that includes abuse and neglect) can have lifelong and even generational impacts on physical and mental health known as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). It might be Child Abuse Prevention Month, but at NOAH, we work to prevent and heal child abuse every day.

Impact on Children

People usually think of visual, physical abuse or injuries, but child abuse takes many forms. Emotional neglect, medical and educational neglect, and sexual abuse are other forms of child maltreatment. Too often, these children are also facing other negative experiences like parental substance abuse, domestic violence, and poverty.

What to look for:

  • Talking about the abuse
  • Sexual knowledge beyond their age
  • Withdrawing, running away, or avoiding a specific person
  • Nightmares, bed wetting
  • Changes in mood or appetite
  • Being fearful of a parent or caregiver
  • Sudden changes in behavior

Preventing Abuse and Neglect

Many of us here at NOAH, like doctors, nurses, dentists, psychologists, and others are Mandatory Reporters and must report abuse or suspected abuse of children or vulnerable adults. Reporting abuse is an essential step, but we can all be an advocate to prevent child abuse.

The best way to prevent child abuse is by promoting protective relationships and environments. Protective factors are tools and support that help a family stay strong so they can face challenges together like:

  • Social connections
  • Parenting knowledge
  • Reliable and safe support in times of need

If you or someone you know needs additional support, NOAH is a great place to start! Our Community Resource team can connect families to resources, and our Behavioral Health team is here to support parents develop resiliency to face challenges.

Actions for everyone

Whether we have children in our lives or not, we can all take steps to help protect children and support families in our lives and our communities.

  • Read books or articles, attend trainings or classes on parenting, or get involved with trusted resources like community leaders, schools, libraries, clergy, or these organizations:
  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • Offer to help people in your life who are parents or raising young children.
  • Be a friend to a child you know; remember their name, show them you care.
  • Teach children how to be safe from sexual abuse with age-appropriate, open conversations with your children about bodies, sex, and boundaries. If you need help in having these conversations, or how to prepare, our counselors can help.
  • Find out about local resources and refer families. Learn more on 211arizona.org.  

The phrase ‘it takes a village’ is thrown around a lot when talking about raising children. But all too often, people who need that ‘village’ the most, don’t know where to find it. The best way to make sure children are safe and cared for is with a safe, healthy, supported family.

If you have questions, NOAH’s Community Resource team and Counseling team are a great place to start. Request an appointment today!

Turn to NOAH for Access to Healthcare

Enroll in health insurance with Crystal

At NOAH, our patients are the most important thing. And for the Community Resource team, caring for patients is an often complex and very individualized job. Helping patients live healthy lives might sound like simply going to an appointment with your healthcare provider, but it starts with access to healthcare but is so much more than that.

A few things to consider:

  • What if a patient doesn’t have health insurance?
  • How does a patient without a car get to an appointment?
  • What if an appointment with a doctor is important, but the patient is too stressed because the family doesn’t have enough food for tomorrow?
  • How will a patient schedule an appointment without a computer, internet service, or other technology?

The Community Resource team helps find answers to these questions that benefit individuals and families. One of the most valuable ways to connect with patients – or future patients – is through health insurance enrollment.

Crystal, NOAH’s Community Resource Supervisor shares what to expect from her team.

Access to healthcare

“We meet people a few different ways, from the Hospital to NOAH program, patients just calling or submitting our appointment form, or from one of our NOAH providers referring a patient,” explained Crystal. “We’ve met people this past year who are without insurance for the first time, or people who are underinsured, overpaying for insurance, or those who need insurance for their children. Whatever the situation, NOAH can help find the health insurance program or resource to help.”

Crystal and her coworkers can help English and Spanish-speaking patients enrolling in:

  • AHCCCS Medical Assistance (Medicaid)
  • NOAH Discount Program
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • KidsCare
  • Health Insurance Marketplace (ACA)
  • Temporary Cash Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Medicare Savings Program

And, the good news is that enrollment for Health Insurance Marketplace reopened until August 15th. More people can enroll if they didn’t during the fall, or if someone’s had changes in work or income and need health insurance.

“This extended ACA or Marketplace enrollment gives us an opportunity to help even more,” said Crystal. “Now the ACA gives people more options to get the care they need. For example, people might be over income for a program like AHCCCS – which is a terrible feeling – and the ACA is their only option. These people earn too much to qualify for one program, but don’t earn enough to see the doctor or specialist they need. There are more options now and we can help people find what works for them.”

If you’d like an appointment to help with your Health Insurance Marketplace (ACA) enrollment, call 480-882-4545 or complete this online form and Crystal or one of her teammates will schedule your appointment.

Access to more than healthcare

Having health insurance is so important, but so often, our Community Resource team helps individuals and families connect with other resources.

“It is really rare that we meet with a patient for one thing, and they end just getting just that ONE thing,” said Crystal. “We ask everyone a few questions that bring up other opportunities to help.”

Other services like housing needs, food assistance, and transportation for medical appointments, are just a few of the resources available from the Community Resource team.

“We have all worked with patients who are stressed over real issues like how to feed their families, or where to find a job,” shared Crystal. “Once someone meets with us, we can help them find so many other resources and even services like our NOAH counselors to help through some challenging times. We are a tight community and love helping others.”