Calm 4 Kids: tackling child abuse in Santa Barbara

Calm 4 Kids: tackling child abuse in Santa Barbara

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This is one of those charities that everybody wishes they didn’t even exist. What we mean by this is that some issues should not even happen in the world and that there shouldn’t even be institutions to tackle this issue. But it does exist and in scales that people can’t even imagine.

Fortunately, since the issue or crime exists, there are some charities that have the goal to address such issue and help people when they need it.

The issue we are talking about is child abuse and the charity we are going to talk about is the CALM institution (child abuse listening mediation) who has been tackling this issue in the Santa Barbara area for 46 years now. They have 3 sites which are located in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria  and Lompoc and you can find their website here.

So what can be considered as child abuse? Well, to maltreat a child is not only to hit him or her or to shout at them with no obvious reason, it goes a bit further than that. Child abuse can take many forms and very often children are victims of more than one type. Child abuse can be seen in actions like being neglected, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and psychological abuse and medical neglect.

The CALM institution has as its main goal to prevent, evaluate, address, and propose treatments  to child abuse in Santa Barbara County. For the CALM institute, there is no better person and treatment is provided to everyone even though they don’t have the resources to pay for the treatment or the preventative services that they need. All the services are provided in English, Spanish, Cantonese, American sign language and they use interpreters to communicate better with children and their families.

Their story started in the year 1969 when Claire Miles who was a nurse that worked in local hospitals found out that a very stressed parent, in a moment of a lot of stress and desperation had accidentally killed his son by shaking him to hard in order to calm him down.  Nurse Claire decided to do something about it and in a small but very helpful move, she published many classified ads in the local newspapers that invited stressed parents to give her a call if they needed help and felt very stressed. She set up  a phone  line in her living room and started to receive calls from whoever needed her. In the first month, the phone rang more than 35 times and she and her friends had to take turns in order to cover all the shifts and to help as much parents possible deal with their issues before they reflected those fears or frustrations on their children.

After 2 years, in 1971 the CALM non-profit was formed and it has been more than 40 years of constant support to families and children who need it by giving them the best on child abuse treatments and prevention approaches.

They have 2 pillars on which they base their work and they are the prevention and early intervention treatment and the intensive community-based treatment for the children who have the highest levels of risk.

Image courtesy of RubyGoes at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of RubyGoes at Flickr.com

 

The Prevention and early intervention program provide services in all the topics related to prevention, early intervention, and treatment when the child has not been born and until he or she is 7 years old. The idea is to reduce all the factors that cause risk to children and to increase protective factors. The family can be considered for this service if the child is at risk of maltreatment,  the child has a mental health diagnosis, the child has suffered from psychological or  physical trauma or the child is a difficult student at school or poses a very big behavioral challenge at home. They deliver these services at home, preschool or at the CALM center.

The intensive community-based treatment addresses communities in general and the ones that have the highest risk factors for child abuse. They use the “whatever it takes (wit)” team to provide services to children and families within the Santa Barbara county. This program addresses the community and the children who are at the highest risk and that need urgent therapeutic care. The children who fit in this service are the children who have been abused directly and that have traces of emotional disturbance; children that are mentally ill or have been diagnosed with a mental condition; children in foster homes that have been abandoned and children that have parents that are addicted to any type of substance. Therapists work with these children around 3 to 15 hours per client per week.

Be sure to also read this post about a charity that is providing direct relief to the community in Santa Barbara.

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