Christy’s Story…

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by Bonnie Allen, MA (TAPPS Program Supervisor)

& Jessica Brumbaugh, LMSW (Evaluation & Programing Director)

It’s October.  Around here at SPCC, you’ll see a lot of people wearing purple ribbons pinned to their shirts to honor and draw notice to Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  As many know, those ribbons represent people.  Millions and millions of hurting people worldwide who have found themselves in harmful relationships that never started that way.

Some of these people are children – an estimated 3.3 million each year are silent witnesses and/or direct victims of domestic violence.  We’d like to share with you the story of one young girl served in SPCC’s program for teen parents – TeenAge Parent Support Services (TAPSS) who was able to escape an abusive relationship and find safety, opportunity and hope for a different kind of life.

Christy* was 16 years old and had just given birth to a new baby when she was referred to TAPSS by her pediatrician for supportive counseling and services.  Christy was receiving very little consistent support from her biological parents and was in an abusive relationship with the father of her newborn baby girl.  Christy immediately connected with her TAPSS counselor and was able to talk about the things that she would like in life for herself and for her daughter – things that many of us take for granted.

Safety.  A home.  A job.  An education.

The support to be a healthy parent.

Throughout her work with our program, there were times that her counselor lost contact with her as she “bounced” from house to house and struggled to find a place she could safely call home.  Through TAPSS’ ongoing counseling support around abusive relationships, and practical assistance navigating the police and court system, Christy was able to removed herself from the abuse and obtain a permanent order of protection.  Finally, the dangerous relationship had ended, and Christy and her daughter were safer.

Despite a trauma history as a child, then as a teen, as well as lack of support and unstable housing, Christy never lost focus of her commitment to her young daughter.  She would often say that her daughter was her motivation for ending her abusive relationship.  In time, Christy established safe housing in an apartment of her own, and successfully earned her GED. She worked hard with her TAPSS worker through the Parents as Teacher’s Evidenced Based Model, learning about her daughter’s development and needs, and how to be the best parent she can be. Christy closed with services this past spring, having been successful in her housing, education, safety and parenting goals.  The future is much brighter for Christy and her daughter, and SPCC feels honored to have played a part.

* Christy’s name has been changed to protect her safety and confidentiality.

Women, Infants and Children Threatened by Government Shutdown

By: Cindy Walton, SPCC Vice President, WIC/VMA
Cindy has been with SPCC for over 20 years and has worked as a WIC Nutritionist, Breastfeeding Coordinator and WIC Director. She also serves as Chairperson for the WIC Association of New York State.

There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children. Nelson Mandela

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

WIC has improved the health, growth and development of at-risk women, infants and children for almost 40 years and has always had bipartisan support, but with the current federal shutdown, our local and national WIC Programs are in jeopardy. Over 9 million pregnant women, new mothers, infants and preschool children are enrolled in WIC nationwide. The Society for the Protection and Care of Children’s WIC program serves almost 5,000 people in the Finger Lakes area. Families rely on WIC to help them feed their families.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a federally funded program designed to address nutrition and health issues faced by low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, infants and children up to age five. Each person enrolled is prescribed a food package which includes specific food items designed to provide nutrients such as protein, calcium, iron, and Vitamins A and C. In addition to the supplemental foods, families are offered nutrition and health assessments, nutrition counseling, breastfeeding support, and referrals to health and community services.

Since the government shutdown, WIC participants and representatives from health care providers and community agencies have been flooding our phone lines to ask if SPCC’s WIC program is open. National news has reported that the WIC program has been shuttered and some local media has incorrectly reported closures in our area. For now, WIC programs in New York State are up and running. The New York State Department of Health has stated that there is funding available to operate through mid-November. If the government shutdown continues beyond then, the status of WIC is unclear.

Last week I spoke to several families about what the program means to them. The names are fictional, but their stories are real. Here is some of what they shared:

Karen is a 30 year old married woman with 3 children ages 4, 2, and 6 months. She and her husband work full-time and she is enrolled in nursing school. Their 4 year old was born with a heart defect and recently had open heart surgery; eventually he will need a heart transplant.

Karen told me that she depends on WIC. In addition to her son’s medical condition, all of her children have milk protein allergies. The baby has to have soy formula and the older children need soy milk, which is more expensive than regular cow’s milk. Fortunately, according to Karen, they are able to get the formula and milk they need with WIC checks. Karen said that they don’t qualify for SNAP/Food Stamps, so WIC is crucial to them being able to manage every month. She said:

“WIC is an excellent program, we need it!”

Rebecca is a 25 year old married mother of a 4 week old infant. She told me that she works full time, but is out on maternity leave. She hasn’t received any disability payments yet, so having WIC here to help is essential. She breastfeeds, but will return to work in early November and plans to supplement with formula.

She doesn’t know how she would afford to feed her 4 week old without WIC.

Jennifer and her husband have three children, ages 10, 5, and 9 months. Jennifer works part-time and her husband works full time. She said that if WIC wasn’t there to help her with formula, she wouldn’t be able to buy it. Her baby would have to drink plain milk. She said:

“WIC saves me. It’s really important to us!”

Terry is a single mom of a 3 week old infant. She lost her job a few months ago and has depended on WIC to help her buy healthy food during her pregnancy. Since the baby was born, she has been getting some formula from the baby’s pediatrician, but is depending on WIC for the formula she needs to supplement breastfeeding.

When asked what she would do if WIC wasn’t available 

she took a deep breath and said, “I really have no clue.”

These are just 4 of the stories out of the 5,000 families served by SPCC-WIC program. All across the country families like these rely on WIC for nutritious foods, help with breastfeeding, nutrition guidance and linkages to other important services. Without the healthy foods and other essential services, WIC participants are at risk for nutrition related issues.

Numerous studies have shown the cost saving and positive health effects of WIC participation. If the government shutdown continues and WIC is forced to turn people away, it won’t be long before we begin to see the results of poor nutrition and lack of services. This in turn will end up costing far more in health care services in the future. The health and well-being of our nation’s women, infants and young children are at stake.

this moment

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment we want to pause, savor, and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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This moment

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment we want to pause, savor, and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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A Brief History of Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Monroe County Executive, Maggie Brooks at the 2013 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Press Conference.

Monroe County Executive, Maggie Brooks at the 2013 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Press Conference.

Representatives from the Rochester, Monroe County Domestic Violence Consortium who represent many of the local domestic violence agencies will gather Tuesday October 1st at the Victim Recourse Center for the reading of the proclamation by Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity observed in October, 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect battered women’s advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became a special week when a range of activities were conducted at the local, state, and national levels.

These activities were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those who work to end violence.

In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year the first national toll-free hotline was begun. In 1989 the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Commemorative Legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress. Such legislation has passed every year since with NCADV providing key leadership in this effort.

In October 1994 NCADV, in conjunction with Ms. Magazine, created the “Remember My Name” project, a national registry to increase public awareness of domestic violence deaths. Since then, NCADV has been collecting information on women who have been killed by an intimate partner and produces a poster each October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, listing the names of those documented in that year.

The Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday in October. NCADV hopes that events in communities and regions across the fifty states will culminate in a powerful statement celebrating the strength of battered women and their children.

Please visit SPCC’s website and ‘like’ our Facebook page to learn more about the events being offered throughout Monroe County in honor of the Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Lisa Butt, CEO

Society for the Protection and Care of Children