JULIE PERILLA, PH.D., CO-FOUNDER, CAMILAR LATINO, ATLANTA, GA: I am always absolutely amazed at how children can be children, even after horrendous stuff has happened in their lives.
MARLEEN WONG, PH.D., LCSW, CLINICAL PROFESSOR, SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Everyone needs to come together, the community, around the child to understand what it is that he or she is experiencing.
JOYCE N. THOMAS, RN, MPH, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR CHILD PROTECTION AND FAMILY SUPPORT, WASHINGTON, D.C.: The tragedy is that many times people choose not to say anything at all, or it’s going to go away, or it’s none of my business. All of this puts children in harm’s way.
TIM DECKER, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF YOUTH SERVICES, MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES: It’s absolutely critical that we intervene and provide the types of services that actually can help turn lives around.
JULIA PERILLA: We know how much violence affects children. But we also see the incredible resilience of these children, developing in very good ways, despite the violence that has been around them, sometimes since they were born.
LAWRENCE THOMPSON, JR., PH.D., DIRECTOR OF THERAPY AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES, THE CHILDREN’S ASSESSMENT CENTER, HOUSTON, TX: With just some basic things, a good safe place to live, somebody that cares about them, kids can heal and can even be stronger.
LAURA ADAMS, ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY, DIVISION CHIEF, SEXUAL BATTERY AND CHILD ABUSE UNIT: It has to be a team effort. No prosecutor, no police officer, no therapist, no one person individually can ensure the safety of a child all by themselves.
RON HERTEL, PROGRAM SUPERVISOR, COMPASSIONATE SCHOOLS INITIATIVE, OSPI, WASHINGTON STATE: We believe that every child has the potential to be successful. And so every teacher, social worker, anybody who works in the helping profession, we have an opportunity with those children to help them build resiliency.
ELAINE D. STOLTE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE CHILDREN’S ASSESSMENT CENTER, HOUSTON, TX: Children can go on and have productive lives, especially when the appropriate therapy has been given. And they’ve learned how to deal and cope with all of these issues.
HON. CINDY S. LEDERMAN, CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE, MIAMI CHILD WELL-BEING COURT: We need to step up the quality of the work that we do with them and the quality of the services that we provide for them. We have remarkable interventions, good services, quality services to make their lives better.
TIM DECKER: The long-term effects for traumatized children and youth who are not able to receive supportive services is very profound. High rates of illiteracy, unsafe relationships, a lack of stability in their life.
MARLEEN WONG: We need to intervene early with children who are exposed to violence, whether it’s in the community, in the home, in the school, wherever children are. When that occurs, children have a much better chance of surviving and thriving.
BENJAMIN E. SAUNDERS, PH.D., LICW-CP, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMS RESEARCH & TREATMENT CENTER, MEDICAL UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA: Working with a child and a supportive caregiver can exponentially increase the effectiveness of virtually any treatment.
MICHAEL DE ARELLANO, PH.D, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST, NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMS RESEARCH & TREATMENT CENTER, MEDICAL UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA: If we really want to address engagement among different ethnic minority groups, one of the ways to do that is to ensure that we're making the treatment as culturally relevant as possible and tailoring it to the needs of that particular family.
BENJAMIN SAUNDERS: So having a flexible, streamlined service delivery system is absolutely critical. Sometimes it doesn’t mean a therapist sitting in their office waiting for people to show up. Sometimes it means us going out to them.
JOYCE THOMAS: I have seen some miracles, really, in families that have experienced tragic situations, where the kids are devastated, and with regular visits, the families begin to communicate, open up, talk about it and get the help that they need.
ELAINE STOLTE: Any one of us can be that support for a child needing our care. You could be the one that helps them through this.
LAWRENCE THOMPSON: We all have a pivotal role to play. It’s that communication; it’s that willingness to work together for the betterment of children.