Give Back NH: New Hampshire Children's Trust
Give Back New Hampshire is a bi-weekly segment that spotlights New Hampshire nonprofit organizations. It airs every other Saturday at 9:35 during Weekend Edition.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and New Hampshire Children's Trust wants you to know that they're here to help you 'upstream.' Here's how:
Cliff Simmonds: The idea of being an upstream organization is sort of like that poem: the ambulance in the valley. The ambulance is in the valley to take care of everybody who fell off the cliff. But what we're trying to do is trying to put the fence up at the top of the cliff. That's really, truly prevention. Not reacting to it after it happens — but putting the resources and the services in place, so it never does happen in the first place.
I'm Cliff Simmonds. I am the executive director of New Hampshire Children's Trust.
Nathan Fink: I'm Nathan Fink. I'm the director of advancement at the New Hampshire Children's Trust.
Cliff: And really what we're trying to do is to just get the word out and strengthen the family unit.
One of our successful programs is our Kinship Navigator program, in which we are working with relative caregivers. And a lot of times those [caregivers] are grandparents to help keep the family unit together. So that if there is ever a need for that child to be away from their parents for any reason, they're much better off with a relative.
What we try to do is provide supports through the Family Resource Centers in order for those families to be successful and give them the resources that they need.
Nathan: Not only do we have stand-up programs like the Kinship Navigation Program, but then we work with care providers to make sure that they're using what we call on the inside as the Strengthening Families Framework, which looks at protective factors that research shows insulates the family from challenges.
Cliff: We understand that not everybody has somebody right there to help them out. So let us give you some of those tools so that you can help yourself through these things. These are not tools that are any different than what everybody else is reaching out for. You're just reaching out for it in a different place.
[And] that doesn't mean you have to be weak to become stronger. It means that these resources are available to you.
Nathan: There is a stigma out there that, 'Look, you know, child abuse and neglect is something that happens to others.' But I remember when my youngest son was two and I needed to get him to bed so I could finish my work. And I remember my blood pressure going up and up and up and finding myself in a state where I didn't know what to do.
And all I can say is in that moment that it occurred to me that this is not some problem that I can throw somewhere else. It could happen in my home. You know, I didn't have the strategies to de-escalate in that moment. And thankfully I thought back did some mindfulness techniques and brought my blood pressure back.
And I thought, my goodness, this can happen here. And if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere. And there's no problem not knowing all of the strategies [available], because how could you?
If something we said moves you, I would, you know, encourage you to reach out to us.
How to Get Involved:
Visit New Hampshire Children's Trust website to learn more about how you can take an active role in child abuse prevention here. Listen to the New Hampshire Family Now podcast here. For support, visit FSNH.org and get connected to your local family resource center via zip code.