The National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect (EndCAN) held its Washington, D.C. launch on September 25 to kick off its new campaign, #GiveFive, in order to raise awareness of child abuse and neglect as a major public health problem. Five children die every day as a consequence of child abuse and neglect; reaching out to five people to spread the word about reversing this statistic is a step in the right direction. Speaking at the National Press Club, the foundation’s co-founder Lori Poland, MA, LLC, RRT, emphasized that EndCAN’s goal is to bridge together the many organizations, agencies, and sectors working on the issue and “change the conversation from being seen as a social and legal problem to a mental health and public health problem.”
Research!America president and CEO Mary Woolley presented findings from a national public opinion survey, demonstrating that 78% of Americans agree that child abuse and neglect is a public health problem. The public also agrees that child abuse and neglect is not just a public health problem nationwide but prevalent in their own community. “It’s one thing to say it’s a problem somewhere, but it’s another thing to own it in your own community,” she emphasized.
Kicking off a panel discussion, Richard Krugman, MD, Board Chair of EndCAN, said, “we are really interested in the intersection of child welfare, health, mental health, and public health.” Howard Dubrowitz, MD, MS, FAAP, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine stressed that “The tragedy is not what we don’t know. The tragedy is how we ignore what we do know,” calling for new strategies and new interventions to build on new and existing research. Valerie Malholmes, PhD, CAS, of the NIH’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development echoed the call for new research, emphasizing that we need “a pipeline of researchers; people who understand these issues and more people who are willing to break out of silos; collaboration and coordination – we need integrated lines of inquiry; and we need to ask the big questions.”
To learn more about EndCAN and its new campaign, #GiveFive, visit www.endcan.org.