Week of the Young Child April 22-28th

The 2012 Week of the Young Child™ is April 22–28 and the theme is Early Years Are Learning Years®.

The national celebration is sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world’s largest early childhood education association.

The purpose of the Week of the Young Child™ is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.

NAEYC first established the Week of the Young Child™ in 1971, recognizing that the early childhood years (birth through age eight) lay the foundation for children’s success in school and later life. The Week of the Young Child™ is a time to plan how we—as citizens of a community, of a state, and of a nation—will better meet the needs of all young children and their families.

In communities around the state and nation, there will be events and activities that celebrate young children and the ways in which we can help them grow to be healthy, happy, productive adults.  The foundation for successful adults is truly laid in the youngest years of life.

A great resource for tips about parenting is : http://www.parentsknow.state.mn.us/parentsknow/index.html

The site was developed by the Minnesota Department of Education.  There is information on child development and parenting of all children, birth to 18.  Check it out for yourself!

There is also a Facebook page, which will have special giveaways and tips to promote learning in early childhood during the  2012 Week of the Young Child™.


Go over and like their page to learn more!

Until next time: When we help children do better, we all do better! ~PCAMN






April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Every April, Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota joins Prevent Child Abuse America and many other local and national organizations in a campaign to raise awareness of child abuse prevention strategies. 

The newest symbol of child abuse prevention awareness is the pinwheel.  While the pinwheels we use are blue, any pinwheel is a reminder that it shouldn’t hurt to be a child.  The pinwheel is a symbol of the carefree nature childhood is meant to be.  A pinwheel also symbolizes the need for an outside force (wind) to spin.  Like a pinwheel, a child needs assistance to grow up healthy and happy. We owe it to our families and communities to do our part.

What can you do?  Here are some ideas from PCA America:

Anything you do to support kids and parents can help reduce the stress that often leads to abuse and neglect.

Be a friend to a parent you know. Ask how their children are doing. Draw on your own experiences to provide reassurance and support. If a parent seems to be struggling, offer to baby-sit or run errands, or just lend a friendly ear. Show you understand.

Be a friend to a child you know. Remember their names. Smile when you talk with them. Ask them about their day at school. Send them a card in the mail. Show you care.

Talk to your neighbors about looking out for one another’s children. Encourage a supportive spirit among parents in your apartment building or on your block. Show that you are involved.

Give your used clothing, furniture, and toys for use by another family. This can help relieve the stress of financial burdens.

Volunteer your time and money for programs in your community that support children and families, like parent support groups or day care centers.

Until next time:  When we help children do better today, we all do better tomorrow. ~ PCAMN.org

Parent Leadership for Child Safety and Permanency

The Minnesota Department of Human Services is recruiting applicants to the Parent Leadership for Child Safety and Permanency Team.  The deadline for this application is March 23, 2012.  It is important to have some members from outstate Minnesota, so if you or someone you know would be interested in this opportunity, please complete the application (link in article) and get it to Rena Moran (email below) no later than March 23, 2012.

What is Parent Leadership for Child Safety and Permanency? The Parent Leadership Team is a partnership between Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) division of Child Safety and Permanency, Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota, and parent leaders statewide. The result of this partnership will be to co-create a team of ten volunteer parent consultants. These parents will act as partners with the child welfare system. The team will bring their life experience as well as the knowledge from their communities to partner in reforming practice within DHS.

What are the goals of the team?

  • To include parents as key partners in rethinking and improving child welfare strategies;
  • Connect parents to policy and child welfare practice reviews;
  • Advance family strength-centered practice at local level and community level; and
  • Meet federal mandate to include parents in planning, implementation, and evaluation of services.

Who is a parent leader?
The Parent Leadership Team for Child Safety wants parents who have in the past (or are currently) experiencing the benefit of family support programs and who can speak of their experiences and relate them to broader issues. They will need to be able to attend all required team meetings and trainings, can build mutually respectful relationships with a diverse audience, and have had positive experiences participating in community processes and activities.  

How do you become a parent leader team member?
The prospective team member must submit an application form and two (2) references: one from an agency/organization where they have benefited from a family support program service and the other one from a personal contact or community member who they have known at least one year.  

Where can you find an application?
Follow this link to a pdf of the application. If you have any questions, please contact Rena Moran at 651-757-0087 or email rmoran@pcamn.org.

Parent Leader Consultants:

  • Monica Bravo de Carbajal
  • Lisa L. Deputie
  • Deb Diver
  • Charles Dixon
  • Hannatu Green
  • Kathie Kinder-Goble
  • Donna LaDuke
  • Matt LaFave
  • Iman Mohamud
  • Larene Randle
  • Saciido Shaie

Until next time:  When we help children do better today, we all do better tomorrow. ~ PCAMN.org


Blue Ribbon County/Tribe Awards

Each year, Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota recognizes Minnesota Counties and Tribes that are developing and maintaining projects within their communities that promote strong families of all types and aid in preventing child abuse and neglect. This year will be the 10th year we have presented the Blue Ribbon County/Tribe awards. We encourage you to nominate your County or Tribe if you feel it is meeting this criteria. We have many Minnesota Counties and Tribes that win this award every year. You can find the nomination form and more information here.

Until next time:  When we help children do better today, we all do better tomorrow. ~ PCAMN.org


Mission and Vision

Today I will introduce you to our mission and vision.  While they may speak for themselves, the work that we do and services we provide, centers around our mission and vision, and information you find on our blog will reflect this vision and mission. 

There has been much research done around the lifelong effects of children’s healthy and nurturing beginnings and/or lack thereof.  From these findings, we know that a strong commitment to raising healthy, safe, and nurtured children will pay huge societal dividends in the long run, through a more peaceful and economically prosperous society.

You may be familiar with the saying: It Takes a Village to Raise a Child.  This belief is not new.  It has been around for thousands of years and is as important today as ever.  While we are all aghast at the horrors of child abuse that are reported, quite often there is abuse that goes unreported.  There may be children suffering in your own neighborhood, or families that are on the brink, due to various pressures building up in their life.  What can we do to help them before abuse happens? 

We try to reach out in many different areas to educate families and community members.  We have advocates working tirelessly throughout the state to speak up for children and families.  We offer free support groups, Circle of Parents®, so parents can talk with other parents about the triumphs and challenges of raising children. 

As we carry out our vision and mission across this great state of Minnesota, we ask that you join us.  For more information, visit our website:  www.pcamn.org  or contact me at sthomes@pcamn.org.

Until next time:  When we help children do better today, we all do better tomorrow. ~ PCAMN.org

When Children Do Better, We All Do Better!

Welcome to the inaugural edition of “When Children Do Better…”

The idea for this blog was born when Ashley White, of the West Central Tribune/FCC, put out a call for community blogs.  I said to myself, “Wow, what a great way to reach out to a large audience in the territory our organization covers.”

Let me first start by introducing myself.  My name is Susan Thomes.  I am the South Central Coordinator of Prevention Services for Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota, or PCAMN, as it is often known.  My area encompasses 17 counties, which I will provide a link to at a later time.

Our organization reaches out to parents and communities in an effort to provide resources, education, mutual self-help support groups (Circle of Parents®), and parent leadership development opportunities focused on creating and maintaining strong families.  Our work is based on The Five Protective Factors and is steeped in evidenced based practice.  (You will learn more about the Five Protective Factors as you follow this blog.)

The goals of this blog are to offer a place where readers can learn more about PCAMN’s services, get tips on common parenting concerns, learn about child development and positive discipline, find resources available to parents, be the first to learn about events in your area and beyond, and enjoy spotlights of activities, people, and communities that are accomplishing great things in line with our vision and mission. 

While I am the initiator of the blog, you can expect to see articles and information from my coworkers across the state, as we are all eager to share our experiences, as well as members of the community at large, when available.

Although I have not fully determined a specific publishing schedule, I am looking at 2-3 times weekly.  In the next few days I will visit about our Vision and Mission, and the work we do at Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota.  Until next time:

When we help children do better today, we all do better tomorrow.  ~PCAMN.org