The Upstream Approach
If we took a survey in our community right now I imagine it would show that close to a hundred percent of us share some beliefs about children. We believe that they need to grow up safe and healthy and if they are hurt it is our responsibility to protect and support them. As a society we have been focusing our energy on the after-the-fact help. Helping people heal is important but it doesn't change the fact that they have been hurt in the first place. We need prevention to do that.
We formed Pinwheel Place for that reason, to prevent child abuse and neglect. I worked with children who were abused and believed that with love and support we could help them and end the cycle of abuse in their family. That was very powerful to me. When I became a mom and with time my perspective changed and I thought how are we allowing the abuse and neglect to happen to begin with. We need to come at it with an "upstream approach". We need to look at risk factors and protective factors for abuse. For example, research has shown that living in a warm and connected neighborhood where people feel cared for is a protective factor and that financial stress, social isolation, alcohol and drug abuse and community inaction are risk factors for abuse and neglect.
A home like Pinwheel Place, where we form a community of people who care and help people with their risk factors can be the first step in preventing abuse and neglect in our community. We all have a role in protecting our children. Find yours at www.pinwheelplace.org. What are you waiting for?