Child Abuse Prevention Month Talking Points

  • April is Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Month, a time to act collectively to raise awareness and empower people across the nation to play a role in making great childhoods happen.
  • And our efforts to raise awareness and engagement and impact positive change this year are as vital as ever.
  • Throughout this crucial CAP Month, we’re reinforcing the message that “Everyone can make great childhoods happen—especially you, especially now!”
  • You don’t have to be a movie star or a professional athlete…all you need is a desire to make a difference.
  • For example, a gallerist in Brooklyn, New York, is hosting a virtual art exhibition and has commissioned a limited edition artwork to raise awareness and funds for child abuse prevention.
  • She is just one of the many people across the country who are taking small but significant steps to ensure the safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments that enable children, families, and entire communities to thrive…and you can too!
  • Equally important is recognizing that the time to act is now.
  • The outbreak of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has changed our world dramatically—and rapidly.
  • Although the risk to our children’s physical health from the outbreak itself appears to be low…
  • …the risk to our nation’s children for experiencing child abuse and neglect in times of extreme stress and uncertainty is actually quite high.
  • School and workplace closings can increase stress in parents’ lives, resulting from loss of income due to lack of paid leave; an unexpected or irregular need for child care; and even food insecurity, when school meal programs become unavailable.
  • Additionally, an unintended consequence of social distancing is isolation, which contradicts science proving that social and emotional connectedness and support are protective of mental health and positive discipline strategies.
  • At PCA America, in close partnership with our nationwide chapter network, we work every day to ensure healthy, thriving children and families.
  • One way we do this is by supporting the expansion of evidence-based home visiting programs, such as Healthy Families America, so we can help families cope with stress and trauma.
  • Another way is to support expanding family-friendly policies, like paid sick and family leave, to help reduce stress on our parents and caregivers.
  • You can help us advance these programs and policies by participating in our nationwide digital advocacy day, on Tuesday, April 28…
  • …when we’ll be empowering people across the country to contact their members of Congress to take action on the Child Abuse and Treatment Act or special coronavirus-related legislation.
  • This is a perfect way to get involved even if you’re working or learning from home and social distancing.
  • Visit to learn more about Digital Advocacy Day, as well as a wide range of fun, engaging, and empowering virtual activities occurring throughout CAP Month.
  • Together, we can prevent child abuse, America…because childhood lasts a lifetime.

Ways to Prevent Human Trafficking

It is estimated that 24.9 million victims are trapped in modern-day slavery at this very moment. 46 children in America are taken and sold into trafficking every day. Children who are homeless, runaways, or in the welfare system are more likely to become a victim of human trafficking. In 2019 in Iowa, there were 52 cases of human trafficking reported. According to the U.S. Department of State, here are some ways to prevent human trafficking:

  • Learn the indicators of human trafficking. Some indicators include:
    • Living with employer
    • Signs of physical abuse
    • Answers seem rehearsed
    • Multiple people in cramped space
  • In the United States, if you believe someone is a victim call the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888
  • Support anti-trafficking efforts in your community
  • Become a mentor to support those in need. People going through difficult times are often targeted by traffickers

If you suspect that someone may be a victim of human trafficking, ask them questions. Some questions to ask are:

  • Do you live with your employer?
  • Where do you eat and sleep?
  • Can you leave your job if you want to?
  • Has your family been threatened?

If you have identified someone as a victim of human trafficking call 911. If you have identified a person who has escaped human trafficking contact Polk County Crisis and Advocacy Services at (515) 286-3600 or email them at

Connections Matter

It is important to build relationships with positive people who will be your support system and your mentors throughout life. Your support system will consist of those who are closest to you whether that be family or friends.


Oftentimes searching for others who share similarities or have the same interests could deepen that relationship. At some point in life everyone goes through struggles and it is those connections which allow you to lean on one another in order to get through those difficult times. Positive relationships affect someone’s physical and mental health for the better which ultimately can change your outlook on life and attitude.


The people that you surround yourself with will help shape the person you grow up to be. Ultimately, positive connections will lead to positive life outcomes.


Connections can lead to:

  • Strong community
  • Healthy brain
  • Supportive relationships
  • Striving individuals


For more information contact Lucy Holms at Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, Connections Matter Program Manager.


What does ACEs stand for?

ACEs stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences study (ACEs)
The Original Study
Around 17,000 members of the Kaiser Health Plan in San Diego filled out a surveys
between 1995 and 1997 measuring the number of adverse childhood experiences.
This survey focused on 10 types of trauma. An ACE score was calculated by the
number of categories a person was exposed to, not the frequency or severity of an
experience within one category. Then researchers connected the respondents’ adverse
experiences to later health issues.
The study proved ACE is common. It also linked childhood trauma to:
● Alcoholism
● Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
● Depression
● Illicit drug use
● Ischemic heart disease
● Liver disease
● Smoking
● Adolescent pregnancy
● Sexually transmitted diseases
● Intimate partner violence
● Health-related quality of life

ACEs in Iowa
The 2016 Iowa ACEs report showed adults in Iowa who report experiencing 4 or more

ACEs compared to those with zero are:

  • 88 times as likely to have diabetes
  • 11 times as likely to have a stroke
  • 29 times as likely to have COPD

Iowa adults with four or more ACEs were 6 times more likely to have been diagnosed with depression compared to those with zero ACEs. Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States today.


Central Iowa ACEs 360


The mission of Central Iowa ACEs 360 is to improve the health and well-being of all by empowering communities, organizations and people to take informed actions to prevent and mitigate the lifelong effects of childhood adversity.


Their vision is to help all people thrive in a compassionate community that supports lifelong healthy development.


ACE’s 360 partners with multiple organizations. Individuals and organizations that want to help ACEs 360 and their mission can engage in these ways:

  • Community Learning Circle
  • ​ACEs Action Groups
  • Central Iowa ACEs Steering Committee ​​


The 2019- 2022 Strategic Plan


This plan was designed for the next 3-5 years and focuses on three strategies:


●      Advocating for Systems Change

●      Advancing Knowledge & Growing the Movement

●      Catalyzing Innovative Practices in Prevention & Healing


To learn more about Central Iowa ACEs 360 their 2019-2022 strategic plans and partnerships click here.






Parent Cafe

All About Parent Cafés


The Child Abuse Prevention Council of Warren County aims to provide support, instruction and services to families in order to prevent child abuse throughout the county. This is done by partnering with other organizations and coordinating a variety of programs. One of these important programs is the Parent Café – a program developed by parents for parents with an overarching goal of strengthening families.


What happens at a Parent Café?

Parent Cafés use a structured discussion to allow an informal, participant-led dialogue. The program is designed to create a safe place to promote parent leadership and facilitate meaningful conversations. Parents have the opportunity to share their experiences, joys and concerns of parenthood with others in the community.


Who should attend a Parent Café?

Anyone who is parenting a child age 0-17 years old is encouraged to attend a Parent Café in their community. The Child Abuse Prevention Council of Warren County holds Parent Cafés for those interested, as well as a café for youth.


What is the Importance of a Parent Café?

The program introduces the Strengthening Familiesä Protective Factors:

  • Resilience: Parent Resilience
  • Relationships: Positive Social Connections
  • Support: Concrete Support in Times of Need
  • Knowledge: Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development
  • Communication: Social and Emotional Competence


Participants learn more about their strengths, how to create parent strategies and others’ experiences. Parent Cafés bring excitement and encouragement to all those who commit their time. In addition, Parent Cafés use a national evaluation to make long-term impacts.



To learn more about Parent Cafés, click here or contact Val Cameron (

Meet Ryan Waller

What position do you have on the Council?


I am a board member.


How long have you been on the Council?


I have served on the Council for a little more than a year.


Why are you part of the Council?


I was raised in a single-family home. It was not always easy, but looking back, my siblings and I were blessed to have the love and support of not only our mother, but also so many friends, neighbors and extended family. Service and advocacy to our youth and others who are in need is a passion of mine and I am proud to be on the Council.


Meet Emi Larson


What position do you have on the Council?


I am the secretary.


How long have you been on the Council?


I’ve served on the Council since January of 2015 with a brief period off in 2017.


Why are you part of the Council?


I originally joined the Council as a parent representative because I wanted to be more involved in our community. I continue to serve because I’ve learned so much about the effects of ACEs on children & about the need for sexual abuse awareness, I consider it my duty as well as my privilege to contribute in this way. It is so important that we do everything we can to have a lasting impact on Warren County residents by raising awareness, educating, and ultimately preventing child abuse in our communities.


Child Abuse Prevention Month – April Giving Campaign

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month – one of the most important times for child abuse prevention councils around the country. The Child Abuse Prevention Council of Warren County (CAPCWC) is running our giving campaign throughout the month, to spread awareness of the programs we serve and to fund these programs which benefit the community. 100 percent of the funds we raise go to supporting our programs and Warren County families. When you financially support our ongoing work with children, parents and the community, you become involved in protecting children. The CAPCWC currently runs three programs:

24/7 Dad:Developed by fathering and parenting experts, 24/7 Dad focuses on the characteristics men need to be involved fathers around the clock, while helping develop the attitudes, knowledge and skills they need as well.

Learn & Play Group:This curriculum provides a developmentally appropriate structure for use in playgroups and early childhood programs for parents and their children, ages 0-5.

Parent Café:Providing a non-judgmental environment for parents and caregivers, Parent Café facilitates meaningful conversations about how to keep their children safe and their family strong. All three of these programs work with Warren County families to strengthen relationships and be confident in parenting.

According to a survey, 56 percent of Iowans experienced at least one of eight types of child abuse and household dysfunction from 2012-2014. These Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) include:

Emotional abuse

Physical abuse

Sexual abuse

Substance abuse

Mental illness

Parental separation or divorce


Domestic violence.

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Board Member Spotlight: Catherine Reman-Gerdes

Meet Catherine Reman-Gerdes! 

What position do you have on the council?

I’m a board member, and I represent victim services.

How long have you been on the council?

I have been on the council since July 2017.

Why are you a part of the council?  

Throughout my career, I have been very passionate about prevention work. I have had numerous opportunities to help develop and implement community strategies that can prevent abuse and violence from occurring. Building safe communities makes sense from both an economic as well as a social and/or emotional perspective.

Board Member Spotlight: Karen L. De Vore

Meet Karen L. De Vore

What position do you have on the council?

I serve as the Council’s treasurer.

How long have you been on the council?

I have been on the Council for 34 Years!

Why are you part of the council?

I was service supervisor in the Warren County Department of Human Service office and saw a need for preventative service to be offered to parents in Warren County and a need to provide education to the community regarding the positive impact of providing such services. A group of folks interested in pursuing those goals began on a shoe string budget and reached out for funding to address those needs. It has evolved over the years from establishing a council and identifying programing that would help the community better understand the need for services to families, to providing programing that assist families in relieving stress and having the tools needed to be nurturing parents.