Promoting Positive Family and Community Engagement For CAPM

This Child Abuse Prevention Month, TexProtects worked to increase awareness and provide families with ideas and resources.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a special observance to highlight the current initiatives improving the child welfare system. Protecting children is an everyday mission for TexProtects and our partners.

According to the Department of Family and Protective Services DataBook, in 2019:

  • There were 294,739 total reports of child abuse, 23% of which were victims of child maltreatment and 14% of which were confirmed investigations
  • Of the confirmed allegations of abuse and neglect, 55.5% of victims were ages 0-5, 27.1% were ages 6-11, and 17.3% were ages 12-17
  • 72.7% of all confirmed child maltreatment victims were due to neglectful supervision
  • 235 children died of abuse and neglect, an 11% increase from 2018
  • 18,615 children were removed from their families due to child maltreatment

The prevention of child abuse and neglect is especially important due to the challenges that COVID-19 has created. Evidence shows that numerous risk factors, including social isolation, financial instability, and other stressors have high potential to increase risk for abuse and neglect. With the impact of this pandemic, a primary concern is that although reports of abuse may decline, incidents of child maltreatment may be increasing. Educators and medical professionals make up the majority of reporters for suspected child abuse. But with stay-at-home orders leaving fewer eyes on kids, how can we, as communities, help prevent child maltreatment in the midst of this crisis?

TexProtects has proactively created a variety of tools to promote positive family and community engagement. These include:

In addition, through op-eds and statements to the press, we are working to increase awareness of child abuse and neglect prevention strategies. We are also working to provide families and communities with actionable ideas and resources to better support families and ensure children are safe, nurtured, and resilient.

Child Abuse Prevention Month carries a more meaningful purpose during this April, but the solutions remain unchanged. We must ensure that families are plugged into the network of support in their communities because no family can do it all alone. And by supporting families, we can better ensure that every child has a nurturing, responsive caregiver on which to depend. In big and small ways, each one of us has a unique opportunity to be part of this solution especially in times of social isolation. Check on a neighbor, help connect families in need to resources, offer support to the parents in your own life, and of, course, if you suspect child abuse or neglect, make a report.

To report suspected child abuse or neglect, you can call the Texas Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 or report online at

New Push For TX Lege to Support Babies, Toddlers, and Their Parents

For Immediate Release

Austin – Today three Texas nonprofit organizations announced a new effort to work with the Texas Legislature and other state leaders to increase the number of infants and toddlers who are healthy, supported, and arrive at school ready to learn. While Texas is home to 1 in 10 of our nation’s children, our current policies are not doing enough to support them, as Texas ranks in the bottom 10 for child well-being in the country. Despite the overwhelming evidence that a child’s first three years are critical for brain development and set the foundation for a child’s future, Texas does not invest enough to ensure infants, toddlers, and their families can access the health, education, care, developmental, and other services they need to set them on a path to success.

The new project, called the Texas Prenatal to Three (PN-3) Collaborative, is developing policy solutions to address these challenges. Three of the state’s leading children’s policy advocacy organizations — TexProtects, Texans Care for Children, and Children at Risk — are spearheading the new project. The Collaborative has the backing of over 110 partner organizations across the state. The Pritzker Children’s Initiative has awarded a generous $2.5 million three-year grant to the Texas PN-3 Collaborative in support of the Initiative’s work to increase access to critical education, health, social, developmental, and economic services for low-income infants and toddlers and their families.

COVID-19 has presented immense challenges to Texas families, from job loss or depressed wages to social isolation from support networks of families and friends. Now, more than ever, it is critical to support our youngest Texans and their families and connect them to the resources they need to be safe, stay healthy, and get ready for school.

The Texas PN-3 Collaborative will pursue a strategic agenda, known as The Texas Plan, to increase access to high-quality services for at least 300,000 low-income infants and toddlers and their families by 2026. The Texas Plan builds on and aligns with existing policy efforts and initiatives in the state. The Texas Plan focuses on the following three key areas:

  • Increasing the quality of and access to prenatal and postpartum health services for low-income mothers and health services for low-income infants and toddlers.
  • Increasing the number of low-income infants and toddlers and their families who are screened and successfully connected to necessary services, such as intensive home visiting or Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) for children under three with disabilities and developmental delays.
  • Increasing access to high-quality child care programs serving low-income infants and toddlers.

“Experiences during the first few years of childhood provide the foundation for the rest of our lives,” said Stephanie Rubin, CEO of Texans Care for Children, which is leading the Collaborative’s work on access to health services. “To make sure babies and toddlers get off to a strong start in life, one of the key steps the Legislature needs to take is reducing the uninsured rate for children and mothers.”

“Texas is home to 1.2 million infants and toddlers below the age of three, nearly half of whom are low income,” said Mandi Kimball, Vice President of Children at Risk and Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs. “This grant provides an incredible opportunity to better coordinate and align our early childhood systems to support families and give infants and toddlers the strong foundation they need to thrive later in life.”

“We are truly at the cusp of a PN-3 moment in our state,” explained Sophie Phillips, CEO of TexProtects. “Between the state’s Early Learning Strategic Plan, strong supporters of early childhood in the Texas Capitol, the Texas Early Learning Council, the considerable leadership in community early childhood coalitions, and the Texas PN-3 Collaborative, which acts as an umbrella organization for communities, advocates, and direct service providers, we are confident that we can make a positive impact on the systems and services that support our youngest, and make Texas the best place to be born.”

Texas is one of eleven states selected for funding by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, as part of a competitive grant process.

About the Pritzker Children’s Initiative (PCI)

The Pritzker Children’s Initiative is a project of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Foundation focused on increasing the number of young children who arrive in school ready to learn and succeed. More information about PCI can be found here.

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For interviews, please contact:
Andrea Payne
Prenatal to Five Advocacy Manager
TexProtects | Champions for Safe Children and Texas Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America
Cell (214) 534-4064

Frontline For Children | March 2020

Where Science Meets Policy

In light of the urgent and staggering impacts of COVID-19, this month’s Frontline for Children includes a new “Practice” section aimed at parents as they navigate new challenges with their own children.

Child Protection Research

During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth can help connect home visiting services to families

“Research shows that child abuse, intimate partner violence, and substance abuse increase during times of crisis, so it is now more important than ever to provide support to families who may face barriers to accessing services.” This resource summarizes research-supported technological outreach strategies for home visiting programs.

TexProtects’ Takeaway – Home visiting programs, Early Childhood Intervention, as well as physical and behavioral health services are quickly expanding their telehealth capacities in light of the challenges of COVID-19. Learnings from the field should ensure high quality adaptations that can better serve families with challenges to access both now and in the future and include cost considerations.

Scaling Evidence-Based Programs in Child Welfare (IBM Center for the Business of Government)

This report illustrates how policymakers might scale a pilot program that has been successful in its early stages, using three different child maltreatment prevention services as examples: home visiting, mental health services, and substance use services.

TexProtects’ Takeaway – As Texas develops a comprehensive and effective plan for implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First), it’s critical that evidence from the field is considered. Successful scaling requires active and targeted support from lead agencies and sufficient resources to ensure fidelity to core quality components.

A New Way to Talk about the Social Determinants of Health (Robert Woods Johnson Foundation)

“This guide discusses why we need a better way to talk about the social determinants of health, and best practices to assist in conversation with different audiences around the topic.”

TexProtects’ Takeaway – Our health is influenced by where we live, learn, work, and play so we need to invest not only in where health ends, but where it begins! To do that, it’s essential that we communicate in ways that connect with leaders and voters across the political spectrum. This report has great advice on how to do so!

Preventing and Addressing Intimate Violence when Engaging Dads (PAIVED): Challenges, Successes, and Promising Practices from Responsible Fatherhood Programs

This report addresses how responsible fatherhood programs prevent and address intimate partner violence.

TexProtects’ Takeaway – A father’s role in promoting safety and well-being for children cannot be underestimated; however, there are numerous barriers to effective fatherhood engagement in programs that could offer support. When offering support to fathers who use violence, it’s important to help them understand the impact of violence on their children and to help them process their own trauma. Trauma-informed approaches are critical.

Child Protection Policy

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information, News, & Resources for Child Welfare Professionals and Others (Child Welfare League of America; CWLA)

This link features tips, sample (state) policies and protocols, and resources that CWLA has collected regarding the outbreak.

TexProtects’ Takeaway – Child Welfare agencies, including our own Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, are having to rapidly respond to the changing environment as a result of COVID-19 while still ensuring child safety. TexProtects is closely monitoring and offering recommendations along the way and will continue to keep you updated on important developments and concerns as they arise.

Child Care is Essential and Needs Emergency Support to Survive (National Association for the Education of Young Children; NAEYC)

This position statement describes NAEYC’s response to COVID-19 and 10 steps for states and districts to support child care during this time.

TexProtects’ Takeaway – The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted how essential and under-resourced our early childhood systems are. Now more than ever, we need to ensure that these centers and staff are supported and protected to ensure their sustainability during this crisis and beyond it.

State Fact Sheets: How States Spend Funds Under the TANF Block Grant (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

“In 2018, states spent only about a fifth of the funds on basic assistance to meet essential needs of families with children.”

TexProtects’ Takeaway – In contrast, Texas only spent 6% of their TANF funds on basic assistance. TANF funds provide essential funding for not only basic assistance, but also childcare, child welfare, and Pre-K. However, the TANF block grant has been frozen since its creation and has lost 40% of its value due to inflation.

New Recommendations Released – Historic Opportunity for Reform in Child Welfare: Quality Residential Services (FosterClub)

The National Foster Care Youth & Alumni Policy Council recently released a statement with six priorities, including Quality Residential Treatment Centers (QRTP) and moving towards “a 21st Century Child Welfare System”.

TexProtects’ Takeaway – The Family First Prevention Services Act offers unprecedented opportunities to increase quality in congregate care settings. The voice of youth with lived experience should be a driving force in the process of determining the most impactful improvement to the child welfare system.

Child Protection Practice

Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Coronavirus Disease (National Child Traumatic Stress Network)

“This resource will help parents and caregivers think about how an infectious disease outbreak might affect their family – both physically and emotionally – and what they can do to help their family cope.”

TexProtects’ Takeaway – In addition to physical health and safety, families have a unique challenge in helping themselves and their children deal with the stress of the isolation and anxiety due to COVID-19. Remember to take care of yourself, take a break, and offer yourself and your children more room to breathe and relax than normal. And stay connected! Your presence and calm will be the largest determinant of how they experience this time.

Coronavirus Resources & Tips for Parents, Children & Others (Prevent Child Abuse America)

This webpage offers tips on staying emotionally and socially connected while physically distancing during the COVID-19 crisis.

TexProtects’ Takeaway – Even when we are apart, we can get creative and stay connected to family, friends and neighbors, our culture, and ourselves. Our connections are protective and will be the ties that hold us together during challenges. Find ways to make this time fun when you can. We are in this together.

Resources for Supporting Children’s Emotional Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic

… research on natural disasters makes it clear that, compared to adults, children are more vulnerable to the emotional impact of traumatic events that disrupt their daily lives. This resource offers information on supporting and protecting children’s emotional well-being as this public health crisis unfolds.”

TexProtects’ Takeaway – Reassurance, routines, and regulation can do so much for supporting children’s emotional health. And remember that reactions and behaviors will likely vary depending on the day.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency: Information and assistance for young people in and from foster care (FosterClub)

This website provides links to resources, information, and opportunities for young people who experienced or are experiencing foster care to find support during the pandemic.

TexProtects’ Takeaway – Older youth in the foster care system as well as those who have aged out are especially vulnerable during this emergency. Access to information and resources will be critical to help them establish safety plans during this time.