NAEYC’s Stand Against Child Abuse and Its Impact on Early Childhood Education
The fact that the NAEYC specifically uses the word “deplore” in their position statement about their take on child abuse unmistakably indicates where they stand. The National Association for the Education of Young Children is an organization whose goal is to provide information and research on practice and policy in an effort to promote quality learning experiences and environments for our youngest. The organization consists of early childhood professionals as well as others whose purpose is to safeguard the well-being of all children.
The NAEYC’s Stance on Child Abuse
Upon reading this position statement, I will say that I truly gained respect for the NAEYC. Before, I had only thought of the NAEYC as a place you could go to get some of the latest professional development training offered and all the other “big news” in education. I am grateful to have been assigned the task of reading this mission statement because I now see they are, in fact, much more than that. But how do they help? The NAEYC provides lots of information about the statistics of maltreatment, such as the fact that in 2007, there were nearly 800,000 cases reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control. They also so give suggestions on how to help ensure that childhood programs, as well as professionals dealing with children in any capacity, can help keep our children safe. They even provide information on the far-reaching and long-lasting effects of abuse.
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The NAEYC suggests 6 steps that childcare programs can do that will help create a climate of safety for children. The first step is to build close relationships with the families. I agree with the importance of this. If families feel comfortable and have open lines of communication with those providing care for their children, they will be more apt to communicate frustrations and needs and seek help. The second suggestion really emphasizes quality programs. They even go as far as to say that programs should seek outside evaluations to ensure this standard is met. The third suggested step is to provide support services for families. This ties into the first step. It is crucial for childcare programs to know the resources available to families. Step four is to advocate.
It is important that childhood educators work together and advocate for policies that protect children. Step five is to collaborate with other agencies and professionals within the community that work with children and deal with their welfare to build connections that further aid in helping all understand the development of children, the resources available resources for family support, as well as the power of advocacy.
The sixth step is probably the most important, in my opinion. This step refers to the mandatory reporter position. They suggest that childcare programs adequately train and inform professionals of their legal obligation to report any suspected child abuse or neglect. Often times people are too afraid of being wrong about noticing signs of abuse that they decide not to report. Understanding the legal aspect of this will help make sure that abuse does not slip through the cracks.
The NAEYC has a clear mission statement in regard to child abuse. With such a preventable crisis and with educators being in a critical position to help prevent abuse, if all programs and professionals that work with children practiced these steps, the number of abuse cases should decline. If we make it our goal to reach not only the child but reach the family as well and offer support and sometimes just a listening ear, families can be more empowered and be connected with more resources which, hopefully, in return, will reduce the stress that can lead to a child being abused.
- “The Strongest Link: Forging a Profitable and Enduring Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative” by Kenneth Wollack
- “Child Protection: An Introduction” by Chris Beckett and Nigel Parton
- “The Art of Awareness: How Observation Can Transform Your Teaching” by Deb Curtis and Margie Carter