Mason’s story is a story we should never forget

Babies cry. That’s a fact of life. It’s how we handle the crying that can make a difference for a baby. It could have made a difference for Mason.

  • When a caregiver feels frustrated with a baby or a child, take a break. Put the baby in a safe place like a crib or bassinet. Close the door to the room and call a friend.
  • Talk with your babysitter about how they should handle crying babies or irritating child behaviors. Give him or her permission to call you when they feel frustrated.

April 12, 2005, six years ago, Michelle Maciosek was at work when she received word that her 9-week-old son, Mason, was shaking violently. She immediately went to Children’s …Continue reading →

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

We know that most people understand that child abuse is critical problem on par with child poverty. The Child Abuse Prevention Fund is making a difference. By funding services like in home visits for parents interested in having support, we are able to make a significant difference in the lives of children. Throughout April, we will post information about how home visits are making a difference at facebook.com/CAPFund.  In the meantime …Continue reading →

Home visitation programs help break cycle of abuse

I was a single mom with two babies under age 1. This is a struggle in itself, and I had a past that was pulling me in the wrong direction.

I am a survivor of child sexual, physical and emotional abuse. My mom spent several years in prison for selling cocaine and for having firearms. Despite this, I loved my mom and was devastated when she left one day and didn’t come back for three years. I was 12 at the time, so I had to help my grandmother raise my sisters and brother.

It wasn’t uncommon that I looked for love in the wrong places, finding myself with two kids and no parenting skills or family support. I was overjoyed to hear of a program that would help me become a better parent. I became involved in the Healthy Families program, a home-visitation program supported by the Child Abuse Prevention Fund at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. These programs work.

Healthy Families taught me how to set goals. The program taught me how to discipline my children in a positive way. I learned what behaviors to expect from my kids at different ages. My support worker, Shirley Wehmeier, was my mentor and coach. She taught me I could do anything.

I got my High School Equivalency Diploma and went to college for a year. I got my driver’s license, a car and a job in an office.

My family is a product of the Healthy Families program. My kids excel at school and are involved in sports and activities. I provide free credit and budget counseling services to people through La Casa de Esperanza and United Way of Waukesha County. I am a bilingual certified tax preparer, a certified notary and a certified housing specialist, doing pre- and post-purchase counseling for first-time home buyers and foreclosure prevention counseling. I also volunteer my time to help build a stronger community. Most importantly, I was able to break the cycle of abuse and my children are happy and healthy.

The Safe at Home campaign raises money to support home visitation programs like Healthy Families. Help families like mine. Visit safe-at-home.org.

~ Gina M. Sanchez

Child abuse prevention program is making a difference

Do you remember when you brought your firstborn home from the hospital? I do, and 15 years later, the memories are as fresh as the hour we were discharged. One word sums up how I felt: overwhelmed. Sitting in the back seat of our car with firstborn in his infant seat, I cried and I wasn’t sure why. Even though I had a good support system – husband, mother, friends, colleagues who are nurses, our pediatrician – I still felt overwhelmed and a little helpless. What am I supposed to do with a new baby? How do I know what he wants or …Continue reading →

You can help prevent child abuse

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and a time when we are helping people understand how they can prevent child abuse from occurring in the first place. But we know well that child abuse can happen at any time, to any child.

The problem of child abuse in Wisconsin is staggering. In any given year, more than 40,000 children are reported to authorities as being abused or neglected. And nearly 20 percent of those reports actually are proven. These children could fill every seat at Miller Park or populate a city the size of New Berlin or Brookfield. Most often, the abusers are people the children know, love and trust – family members, siblings, unrelated people living in the home, neighbors. And the list goes on.

…Continue reading →

Pledge to prevent child abuse today

Donate to FM 106.1’s Care-A-Van for Kids, benefitting the CAP Fund

Child abuse is the absolutely worst kind of abuse that can occur in this world, that is my opinion. Children can’t fight back, children can’t run for help, children can’t save themselves in the most desperate times.

I am the second oldest of 16 children. All of us in my family were, I mean ARE, victims of child abuse. Every one of us was in a foster home, every one of us has endured the pain and horror of facing a parent who chooses violence.

…Continue reading →

Share your story, save a child through FM 106.1 Care-A-Van for Kids

This August will mark my 16th Care-A-Van for Kids benefiting the Child Abuse Prevention Fund. If you’re not familiar with this incredible annual event, you need to give a listen.

For two days, Thursday, Aug. 27, and Friday, Aug. 28, FM106 listeners who have been touched in some way by the vicious cycle of child abuse are motivated to tell their stories. Sometimes it’s a mom who takes on the extra challenge of fostering a child affected by shaken baby syndrome. We’ve also talked with young women who were pregnant as teens and decided to keep their babies even though they knew it would be an uphill climb. Programs funded by the CAP Fund helped them with their climb. The most emotional stories often come from those who were victims of abuse themselves as children.

…Continue reading →

A growing epidemic

a2a-logoDid you know there is currently a condition that affects one in four girls and one in six boys before their 18th birthday?  And, that recently the Centers for Disease Control has acknowledged this condition as a national health epidemic?

This “condition” is the reality of child sexual abuse in Wisconsin.  Here are some additional statistics you might not be aware of:

  • In Wisconsin, 47 percent of sex offenders were related to the victim, 49 percent were acquaintances and 4 percent were strangers.
  • The median age for reported sexual abuse is 9 years old.
  • Nearly 40 percent of victims are abused by older and larger children.
  • Abuse typically occurs within a long-term, on-going relationship between the offender and victim, escalates over time and lasts an average of four years.

…Continue reading →

For crying out loud . . .

It’s 2 a.m. and cries from the room next door begin again for the third time tonight. You have tried everything but nothing seems to work. You are at the end of your rope and pleading for just a few moments of sleep before you have to settle into another long, stressful day. Will the crying ever stop?

…Continue reading →

Spread the word about Safe Haven

A press conference – Protecting Our Children, Strengthening Our Community  – was held this afternoon at Children’s Health Education Center in Milwaukee, in reaction to the many tragic cases of infant death and child abuse we have been seeing in Southeastern Wisconsin. Representatives from Children’s Hospital and Health System, the City of Milwaukee Health Department, Department of Children and Families, Parenting Network and Children’s Trust Fund came together to bring to light the many resources our community has to offer to keep children and families safe. One of the resources I personally have been part of working on is the Safe Haven Law in Wisconsin.

…Continue reading →