The Child Abuse Prevention Council SJC
The vision of the San Joaquin County Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAPC) is to eliminate child abuse and neglect through prevention, intervention and education programs.CAPC has been in operation since 1978 as a result of a grand jury investigation into the death of three-year-old Latanya Smith, who was beaten to death by her mother’s boyfriend.We are an agency dedicated to preventing child abuse, ensuring safety, education and treatment for abused and at-risk children, and abusive and at-risk parents.
The Child Abuse Prevention Council is committed to protecting the children of our community, strengthening families, and giving hope to those seeking to break the sometimes-generational cycle of physical, verbal, sexual, neglect, and emotional abuse.CAPC is a place where parents can learn to be better parents, where children can heal from the wounds of abuse and neglect, and where families can improve their quality of life.
While the CAPC is committed to responding to crises to ensure the safety of children, we are not in the business of offering temporary band aids that don’t address the core issues that bring families to that point of crisis.Many of the families we serve face multiple barriers to their success:substance abuse, domestic violence, unemployment, lack of education and life skills, and/or homelessness.
Now more than ever, San Joaquin County families need our help; the CAPC is ready and able to provide the guidance, counseling, and assistance to help them get back on their feet.But this is not easy work for families – this is life-changing work that takes significant commitment, time, and energy.
The Child Abuse Prevention Council offers direct services through three Departments to residents in Stockton – and throughout San Joaquin County:
Our approach to addressing family challenges is multi-disciplinary, cooperative and ensures that all services are delivered from a trauma-informed perspective, are relationship-centered and always strengths-based. This work cannot be done for families, but rather CAPC staff work with families to make the necessary life changes through these available direct services:
Preschool: Offering both state subsidized and Head Start programs, the CAPC provides early education services in licensed facilities to more than 900, 3-5-year olds throughout San Joaquin County, including 8 unique sites in Stockton. Programs include both part day and full day options for families based on their needs, family size and income. Priority is given to families with children at risk of abuse, neglect, exploitation or who are homeless. Classroom curriculum includes developmentally appropriate goals and objectives for children within four main categories of interest: social/emotional, physical, cognitive and language development.
Infant & Toddler Care:Provided at 4 licensed facilities located throughout San Joaquin County, serving children 0-2 years old. Curriculum focuses on healthy attachment development through intentional & responsive care, and is designed to focus on routines and experiences – allowing the unique demands of each individual child to be successfully met.
Home Based Programs: This program offers in-home education services to 51 families with children between the ages of 0-3 and uses the Parents as Teachers (PAT) curriculum to support parents in becoming their child’s first teacher through weekly home visits and a variety of planned group socializations.
Behavior Modification Services: Classroom Consultants provide behavioral support services to at-risk children ages 0-5 years old and their families, resulting in improved behaviors, parenting techniques and decreased need for intervention.
Crisis/Respite Care: No cost crisis care and respite care for children birth through 12 years old. Our Respite Care program is the only one of its kind in San Joaquin County and funding for these services is very limited. This program provides quality care for children of families (regardless of income) who are not eligible for subsidized child care, but are either required to participate in a treatment, care plan, or parent education class, or are facing an immediate short-term emergency and have no other resource to turn to for child care. Services also provided at the San Joaquin County Courthouse for families engaging in official court business or accessing the self-help center.
Family Intervention Program:An intervention and support program for families facing challenges that threaten their ability to cope. This program is focused on keeping children safe, families strong and out of the child welfare system. A similar program, Safety Net, is provided for families engaged in the child-welfare system, but who do not meet the threshold for Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement.
Project HOME (Homeless Outreach & Meaningful Engagement): A homeless outreach, intervention and support program for families. In partnership with various local community-based agencies and the District Attorney’s Office, this program is focused on identifying homeless families, connecting them to housing resources and providing intensive case management services that keeps them off the streets and able to live independently.
Parent CafeSince January 2012, CAPC has hosted Parent Cafes throughout San Joaquin County – including our most rural areas. Parent Cafes are free parent support groups which serve as a guide for parents to have their own conversations about keeping their families strong based on the Strengthening Families Framework: The 6 Protective Factors. This program also serves as a mechanism for the emergence and training of neighborhood/parent leaders who can continue the Parent Café after the CAPC has laid the groundwork.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program:A program that recruits, trains and manages volunteers who mentor and advocate for children in the foster care system during the dependency court process. CASA’s act as fact-finders for judges and ensure that foster children are not forgotten, but rather are afforded every opportunity to have a healthy and happy life.
Over 9000 hours were spend advocating for youth in 2019.
This is also the only program of its kind in San Joaquin County, and also challenged by limited funding opportunities.
Family Finding Program The primary goal of this program is to make connections for children referred to the CASA program with the intent of identifying people who are willing to offer a lifelong home and/or an unconditional commitment to being a part of a lifetime support to children in the foster care system. Research has shown that identifying these supports takes months, sometimes years from identification to connection per child. The CAPC is dedicated to finding connections for youth in long term foster care to allow them the dignity of growing up knowing family and establishing lifelong connections.
Home Visitation Services: provides services to children 0-3 and their families with the aim of increasing access to early education resources and improving the child’s overall health and development. Services are offered at the family’s home.
Journey WORKS: provides case management services to families with children 0-5 who have past, current or are at risk of alcohol, drug and/or mental health challenges. Must be Cal-Works (Welfare to work eligible or exempt).
Outpatient Mental Health Services: Provided to children and youth 0-18 years old through Individual and family-based services. Treatment is provided through attachment-based modalities, including Thera Play informed strategies aimed at strengthening the parent-child relationship & reducing the likelihood of abuse or neglect.
School-Based Mental Health:Identifying barriers and factors putting K-12th students at risk of poor academic performance and/or suspensions and expulsions. Services include therapy provided on school campus, and home-based case management to address core issues of students and families, combat Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and mitigate the impact of trauma on development and relationships. School staff are also provided with classroom support and mental health education in efforts to maximize students’ treatment for academic, emotional and social development.
Mentoring for Transitional Age Youth:Mentoring and supportive services are provided to youth ages 16 to 25 with emotional and behavioral difficulties and who do not meet the criteria for specialty mental health care services. High–risk youth, those involved with gangs or at risk of gang involvement, have been sexually exploited, and/or have other exposures to violence, criminality or physical and emotional abuse are the target population for this program. Services include case management and goal setting related to education, parenting skills, social supports, physical health, community engagement, employment, financial planning, emotional well-being and housing.
Suicide Prevention:Works with youth in a variety of school districts and school sites throughout San Joaquin County to bring awareness of suicide prevention and education utilizing the Yellow Ribbon Campaign. Services include training for staff and students to assist youth in crisis. Staff are on each school campus and are trained to offer: depression screenings, support groups and referrals for psychological consultation.
The Lisa Project: A multi-sensory exhibit that immerses the visitor into an abused child’s life. This award-winning, innovative approach to awareness-raising has grown to be a multi-state program and has reached over 100,000 people across the state of California!
A condensed version of the exhibit, “Lisa in Ten”, was launched in 2013 and the demand to bring it to high school campuses in our community has grown significantly. Our goal is to have the exhibit available to every high school campus on an annual basis, bringing the message of family violence prevention, intervention and healing to young people across San Joaquin County.
Pinwheels for Prevention (P4P): an education and awareness campaign for preschool thru elementary school children that age appropriately focuses on child abuse and safe adults. There is also a P4P presentation for high school students/ adults which includes human trafficking awareness.
ACEs Aware: CAPC works with various Medi-Cal providers and local community-based organizations to develop best practices for implementing ACEs screenings and supporting patients with trauma histories. Attention is given to building supportive networks of care so that Doctors and social service agencies can collaboratively deliver trauma informed services to our community.
The CAPC also offers a 24-hour Advice Hotline:Answered by a trained family advocate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, providing guidance and resource information to families in immediate need.
Other family assistance includes distribution of donated clothing and toys, holiday assistance and linkage to no-cost diapers and baby needs.
The impact of COVID to the CAPC:
Overall, the CAPC has seen a significant increase in the need for services provided since the start of COVID-19. When COVID-19 began, CAPC staff acted quickly – identifying strategies to meet with children and families in safe ways, manage remote visits and ensure the safety of children and families in all of our programs. Intermittent daycare and school closures have meant that young children have had to stay at home while their parents and caregivers juggle caretaking, supervision of play and potential telework responsibilities. These circumstances have added stress to the families we serve - who were already struggling to overcome, increasing their chances for toxic stress and, ultimately, increasing the likelihood of abuse or neglect to occur.
Young children’s social, emotional and mental well-being are being directly impacted and well-functioning families are experiencing stressors they never have before. Across the board, our programs are seeing an increase in the number of families requesting services and an increase in the requests and needs for referrals to mental health services, food programs, utility assistance and a variety of other local resources. More, adolescents are grieving the loss of their social networks, resulting in increased symptoms of anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges that staff are working to support.
Since the school year has begun, the CAPC has been actively working with school district partners to provide training on how to identify young people in need of mental health supports while teaching virtually. Similarly, case managers are supporting families in establishing routines & boundaries that will ensure all members in a family are able to successfully execute work from home plans, distance learning and other virtual services: topics we’ve never had to address before. In an effort to further support the larger community, the CAPC has been actively providing self-care trainings to local partners doing their essential, critical work & helping them identify strategies to avoid burn out, compassion fatigue and secondary trauma: all becoming increasingly more relevant as social service programs are further stretched.
The pandemic & shelter in place orders are also taking a toll on our community’s most vulnerable population: children in foster care. With foster parents and CASA’s already in short supply, child protective agencies are struggling to locate alternative, safe options for those suffering from abuse.As a result, many abused and neglected children are locked inside with their perpetrators without the protective eyes of the teachers, coaches, doctors and others to advocate for them. In the months ahead, as our world slowly opens back up, the demand for advocacy will increase further as more children enter child welfare and their horrific stories of abuse are made visible.Despite COVID-19, the CAPC has identified unique strategies to maintain outreach and recruitment efforts for volunteers and we continue to host trainings through a digital platform and in-person with appropriate safety accommodations