Charlotte Brandin, Executive Director USA

Childhood USA projects visits

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LSC, PHE, SFCAC, FAP, CAC, GRADS are abbreviations of several of the projects that Childhood support in the US. And most of them received a visit in recent weeks, as part of our ongoing monitoring and evaluation process.

The first Children’s Advocacy Center opened in San Francisco on February 26. Before, children who hard been sexually assaulted were evaluated in the basement of SF General Hospital, and then sent all over the city for follow-up services or legal action. Now, the CAC is co-located with the Center for Youth Wellness, and the CPMC Bayview Pediatric Center to assist families in a holistic framework. Read more about trauma and how to prevent sexual abuse at www.centerforyouthwellness.org and www.sfcabc.org.

Peer Health Exchange in New York and San Francisco Bay Area receive support from Childhood, and are two of the 6 cities where PHE is active. In one of the schools in the Bronx, we participated in a 9th class where they were taught pregnancy prevention methods, such as condom use, STIs and Plan B. Many of the teens were knowledgeable of some of the methods but very often lack access to birth control and information about disease. In Oakland, CA, as may as 70% of teens suffer from PTSD due to trauma in their neighborhoods, and in their families. Read more about their work with inner-city youth at www.peerhealthexchange.org.

Legal Services for Children is one of the only legal aid societies in the US that serves only children. Recently, LSC has undertaken an agency-wide refocusing of their services to implement awareness of trauma in all segments of their support to children. The holistic – legal, social and emotional – approach to assist undocumented children, teenage parents or educationally delinquent children, has been instrumental in helping children find a stable home and school environment. And, one of the first programs that Childhood supported, the Detained Immigrant Children’s Project, is now a federally support program under the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Read more about their services at www.lsc-sf.org.

chances for children

Finally, Chances for Children is a small agency, operating out of the Riverdale Mental Health Agency in the Bronx. For almost 20 years, they have provided much needed psychological intervention and social support to teen parents. A few years ago, CFC revamped their model to also include parents over 20 y o. The area of mental health is a growing as new brain research is confirming how vital the first months and years are to adult physical and mental health. CFC is also training social workers in their model to become more acutely aware of the needs of infants and toddlers. Read more at www.chancesforchildren-ny.org.

Text and photos: Charlotte Brandin

Charlotte Brandin, Executive Director USA

The World’s Children Live Here, Too

Right now there is a teenager riding the 4 subway train through New York City, wondering where to go. Her mother kicked her out because she is pregnant. Her teacher told her to drop out of school. Her boyfriend won’t speak to her. She is vulnerable. Nestled between you and me on our train home from work, her belly is too small for us to notice. She feels invisible. But she has rights, and she is not alone.

There are youth facing the challenges of pregnancy, abuse, neglect, violence, isolation, poor education and limited healthcare all over the world. There are young people who need support, resources and skills to realize their own potential in every community.

Inwood House has served young women like her in New York City for 183 years and knows she needs hope, guidance, protection and support to change her trajectory. As a grantee of World Childhood Foundation USA, Inwood House is also not alone. Our partnership bridges work in New York with similar efforts across the USA and the world. Our shared commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child — the belief that every child, no matter the challenges they have faced, or they face now, has the right to “develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity” — is fundamental to our work.

As a long-time partner organization of World Childhood Foundation USA, Inwood House is part of this community of organizations offering effective services for the most marginalized children in New York and across the nation. This April, Childhood convened grantees doing this work in their communities across the USA to share experiences, network and ask together: How do we recognize and foster the rights for all children? How do we ensure a better tomorrow for our city and our country and our communities? The grantees’ work shared at the event demonstrated the value of investing in enriching young people’s lives and how much more effective it can be than trying to “repair” adults.

If this young woman on the 4 subway train makes her way to Inwood House, her well-being will be the first consideration. She will have access to services through the Continuum of Care providing safe housing in a residence, academic support and a counselor to help her build her goals and her confidence in her strengths and talents. She will be able to develop stronger relationship skills, and improve her mental, reproductive and physical health. She will gain tools to build or mend her relationship with her family members and the community. And, she will get parenting guidance, exposing her to experiences she may otherwise never have had.

Teen pregnancy has been a core focus of Inwood House since 1830, but the heart of our work is a focus on empowerment, not pregnancy. Inwood House believes young people deserve the chance to succeed — no matter the nature of their circumstances. Young parents and their babies do not have to fulfill the statistics that predict extreme struggle and dependency. Youth surviving trauma, abuse, disenfranchisement, violence or other symptoms of poverty do not need to be defined by these difficulties. Programs builds on young people’s strengths to help them get knowledge, tools and resources to make responsible decisions and become a positive force in their communities.

The programs Childhood supports around the world aim at preventing teenage parenting, but when it happens, to be there as a source of strength and support. Childhood is committed to investing in innovation and replication of models to prevent harm to children. Inwood House is helping youth realize their dreams. Together we are partners in giving all children a childhood.

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This article has been co-authored by Charlotte Brandin, Executive Director, World Childhood Foundation USA & Linda Lausell Bryant, PhD, Executive Director of Inwood House. The article was published in The Huffington Post Blog June 14, 2013.

Inwood House helps teens take charge of their lives and become healthy, self-reliant adults. By providing a wide range of services to K-12 students, pregnant and parenting teens and their children in New York and New Jersey, Inwood House improves life-long outcomes for thousands of youth from vulnerable communities. Programs develop youth as whole people by supporting their health, mental health, education, family & community relationships, self-esteem, personal goals and talents, employability and ability to evaluate and make choices. Inwood House is a source of hope, guidance and opportunity. Learn more: inwoodhouse.com, on facebook.com/Inwood.house and on twitter @inwoodhouse.

 

Charlotte Brandin, Executive Director USA

Childhood USA approves funding for five projects

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Recently, Childhood USA approved new funding to five projects in the US. All of the grantees were renewals, including two that have received funding for several years.

Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem, NY, was granted a substantial increase in funding from previous years for expanding services of their Creative Arts Therapy program, which helps sexually abused children heal their trauma. Northside, a community-based agency since 1946, provides education and mental health services to thousands of children in NYC.

GRADS, Lawrence County, OH, was granted continued funding help to teen parents in need of childcare and transportation to continue their high school education. The program was at risk for being closed in 2012, when it was granted funding to train a new teacher in order to provide a sustainable basis for the survival of the program.

For the third year, Peer Health Exchange NYC received funding for their health education curriculum taught to 9th graders in underserved inner-city schools around US. PHE is a rapidly growing social service agency, offering peer education opportunities to college students, while investing in replication of efficient models and development of evaluation tools.

Two long-time organizations also received funding for multi-year grants. Together with the Carlson Family Foundation, Childhood is collaborating to assist street children and homeless youth in Minneapolis, MN. The Bridge for Youth and YouthLink have both worked tirelessly to raise the issue of sexual abuse and exploitation as a risk factor for children who have run away for home due to violence or abuse, or who have been kicked out of their homes. Both organizations are also focusing on trafficking for sexual purposes and its impact on the individual, community, stat and national levels.

Read more about the application process here, and the criteria for applying for funding from Childhood. Also, here you can read about other projects that Childhood currently supports.

/Charlotte