Send the Message: You Are Not Alone

@whyweshine Instagram post with the quote: "I'm not happy for the things that have happened to me, but I'm thankful for where I'm at now. Once you can see the tangible things in your life getting better, you get better at helping others. You become a better listener, too. Kids will tell you a lot if you listen." Jonah
After all the anticipation, April is finally here—and with it, National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Many of us who work in the field of child abuse prevention and treatment have been thinking about this month since last April. Child abuse, particularly, child sexual abuse, is never easy to talk about. So each year, we plan and fret about what we’re going to say, what message we’re going to send, how we’re going to broach the unmentionable. And year after year, we try to convince the public that, really, the story of child sexual abuse is ultimately one of hope—when the information we give them is filled with statistics about abuse prevalence which, as we all know, can be rather grim.

But this year is different. This year, there really is a ray of hope. Not because we’ve changed our approach or our services—we are still the association of Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) across the nation, some 900 strong, working together as multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) to help victims become survivors and survivors become thrivers. What is different this year is how we are delivering our message, because this year, this month in fact, NCA is proud to launch the SHINE Campaign.

The SHINE Campaign is a new way of thinking and communicating about the work that we do and why it matters. Often, we’ve focused on the services provided as CACs and MDTs—how many, what type, and who provides them. By focusing on services—the processes that move victims toward healing—the victim as a whole person, who is more than the sum of the trauma experienced, to a degree moved outside the center of discussion. The SHINE Campaign, by contrast, focuses on the survivor and thriver—the whole, healed person who emerges from the ordeal with the help of the CAC, and in some cases, only because of the safety net created by the CAC and its multidisciplinary partners.
Visit the SHINE Campaign Website
The SHINE Campaign is built on the knowledge that what the work of the MDT and CAC is about at its core is creating thrivers. By highlighting now-adult survivors telling their stories of healing in their own words, we can give hope to children and families who are still struggling with abuse. And, together we—CACs, adult survivors, allies, our multidisciplinary partners, supporters, donors—can build a Universe of Support for all who have suffered and will suffer abuse. By standing with survivors, we send a powerful message: You are not alone.

The Universe is made up of countless stars. Each survivor, each thriver, is a star. Let’s lift them up and let them shine. Let’s hear their stories and listen to what it means to each of them to shine. And let’s pledge to support them and others like them. To learn more about the SHINE Campaign, visit our campaign website at If you’re an NCA member, you can use the free CAC digital toolkit or Chapter digital toolkit on our website. And everyone should be sure to like and follow our social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram to help spread the word about our message of hope.
Like SHINE on Facebook
Follow SHINE on Instagram
Conference logo (white hands and stars against a photo of a galaxy), announcing a Universe of Support, the NCA 2019 Leadership Conference.

Using marketing to change behaviors

At Jeff Jordanthe 2019 NCA Leadership Conference this June, keynote speaker Jeff Jordan will talk to us about “Moving Beyond Awareness—How to Use Marketing to Change Behaviors.” Jeff is president and executive creative director of Rescue, a behavior change marketing agency that has taken on tough issues such as nutrition, tobacco, and substance use.

Making the public aware of an issue doesn’t mean they will act on it, Jeff says. To cause measurable and sustainable social change, we must understand the factors that influence behavioral decisions and change them through targeted changes in knowledge, environments, and norms. In his keynote speech on June 3, Jeff will teach us how to use behavior change pathways to improve our communication strategies to both youth and adults.

He’ll also present a workshop during the conference on “Unleashing the Power of Social and Digital Media in Social Change.” If you’d like your CAC or Chapter to more effectively use digital and social media platforms to drive change in your community, make sure to sign up for Jeff’s session in the conference’s Advocacy and Communications track at 10:15 a.m. June 3.
See What You Can Learn

Early bird rate now available

This year’s NCA Leadership Conference is our chance to help kids thrive in the nearly 900 shining communities where we’ve built a visible Universe of Support. Join your colleagues here in Washington, D.C., June 2-5, as we build on our strategic successes, collaborate toward greater effectiveness, and sharpen the business, advocacy, and communications skills we need to strengthen our organizations. Register and pay by May 3 to receive the early bird registration rate.

Choose your sessions from any of the four educational tracks:"Star chlid" image of a young boy whose pants reflect the galaxy image from the 2019 Leadership Conference.
  • The Business of Children’s Advocacy: actionable information on the business of running a CAC, including best practices in management, financing, and fundraising.
  • Advocacy and Communications: creative public policy ideas, hard-hitting awareness campaigns, and tested communications practices to help you solve real-world problems and connect with lawmakers, donors, and the public.
  • Chapters: a range of sessions for State Chapter staff and board members.
  • Rural: a brand-new track that will equip CACs to overcome barriers and meet the needs of underserved populations in rural and frontier areas.
Register Now for the Best Rate

Hotel block expected to sell out early

NCA has reserved a block of hotel rooms at the Renaissance Washington D.C. Downtown Hotel—our conference venue—at the federal rate of $251 per night plus tax for single and double occupancy. We also have two overflow room blocks, at Courtyard Washington Downtown/Convention Center and Embassy Suites Convention Center. Both hotels are within five minutes walking distance to the Renaissance Hotel. Rooms will likely sell out quickly!

To book online, please use the link below, then use the link to the name of the hotel you wish to book at the top of the page and make your reservation at that website.
Book Your Room Now

Kansas wants you to take care of yourself

Picture this scene: You’re sitting at your desk. You finally have a quiet day and a chance to catch up on emails, so you haven’t gotten up in at least four hours. You’ve already skipped lunch, opting instead for the Super Big Gulp that was breakfast and the leftover Halloween candy in the candy bowl on your desk. (They don’t count if they’re miniature, right?) You’re supposed to go to the gym after work, but you’re going to be so hungry by the time it’s 5 that you’ll go straight home and eat dinner instead. OK, back to emails—your next email is a follow-up to a client, chock full of resources for wellness and tips for self-care.

Ironic? Maybe. Familiar? Definitely. And, for Juliane Walker, the executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Kansas, Inc., completely unsustainable. “We simply cannot continue to take care of others if we’re not taking care of ourselves, both physically and emotionally. And we typically don’t do a good job of it in the CAC world. So we set out to change that.” Juliane’s background made her uniquely suited to lead the charge. She has more than 20 years’ experience working in the field, but also took a three-year hiatus to work in the health care field—teaching wellness—through a local hospital program and most recently being involved with Health ICT and the Health & Wellness Coalition in Wichita.

Practicing what she preaches: Juliane Walker’s pet Chesney is a therapy dog. Petting an animal can lower your blood pressure, reduce anxiety, lift your spirits, and more.

“We created our Wellness Policy as a starting point, not an end point,” says Juliane. “The policy is not intended to pass judgment on people’s food choices; rather, we’re creating a wider range of choices. And it’s our hope that if we make healthier choices available, people will choose them more often.” The policy states that “Children’s Advocacy Centers of Kansas (CACKS) is committed to maintaining a healthy environment for employees, Board members and member CACs.”

There are three steps outlined in the policy that help to create a healthy environment: First, ensuring that whenever CACKS is providing food during a meeting or training, healthy options will be available and sugary beverages will not. Second, in any meeting or training that lasts more than 60 minutes, a break will be offered every hour and participants will be encouraged to stretch or walk, depending on the length of the break. Finally, employees are offered a 10-minute break for every four hours of a work day, and the break is specifically designated for employees to participate in physical activity.

Despite some initial fear about how the policy would be received, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. When we’re dealing with trauma, whether that of our clients or our own, it helps if we are taking better care of ourselves. And the CACKS Wellness Policy is an important first step in the right direction. Juliane hopes that other Chapters and centers will adopt similar policies and encourages anyone who is interested to use theirs as a model.
Download the Wellness Policy

NCTSN’s 12 Core Concepts

From the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN): Learn About the 12 Core Concepts, which serve as the conceptual foundation of the Core Curriculum on Childhood Trauma and provide a rationale for trauma-informed assessment and intervention. The concepts cover a broad range of points for practitioners and agencies to consider as they strive to assess, understand, and assist trauma-exposed children, families, and communities in trauma-informed ways.

Logo for NCTSN's 12 Core Concepts
Additional resources:  
Learn About the 12 Core Concepts

Washington Update

Screenshot of the U.S. Senate webpage with contact information for each senator

2020 federal budget progress

In March, this year’s annual budget process finally began with the president submitting his Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) Budget to Congress, and in turn, the House and Senate beginning work on their own budgets. While the president’s budget proposes an average across the board cut of 5 percent to most programs, it important to remember that it is the budgets that are written by Congress that actually become law. 

And with the FY20 budget season in full swing, our House and Senate champions are again leading the effort for fully funding the Victims of Child Abuse Act. In the House, Representatives Jim Costa (D-CA) and Pete Olsen (R-TX) led the bipartisan charge in asking House appropriators to fund CACs in the Victims of Child Abuse Act at $32.5 million, which would be a $10 million increase in funding! We want to thank these great CACs champions, as well as all House members joining the House FY20 CAC funding letter, for their leadership and support of CACs and the clients that we serve. And thank you to all who urged your House members, many new, to add their name in support! A similar effort is currently underway with our Senate champions, Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Chris Coons (D-DE). If you haven’t had a chance yet, call your U.S. senators and ask them to sign on to the “Blunt/Coons” FY20 CAC funding letter urging Senate appropriators to fully fund CACs.

Contact Your Senators About CAC Funding
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