We know more than ever about how to help children who have suffered abuse and trauma.
(Reposted guest blog post for M.J Murdock’s Thoughts From The Road)
The headline stuck in my head. “Malnourished 5-year old girl found locked in closet under stairs.” It was like a second round of mortar piercing my heart following a news story I happened to read a few weeks earlier: “Thousands of child sex abuse photos found on Wilsonville man’s phone.”
These are not stories I seek out. Honestly, I’d prefer to not know of such horrors. But for the past 25 years my career and calling has brought me face to face with the harsh realities many children face. I’ve seen the impact of abuse and neglect firsthand in countless children served through a variety of programs. I’ve stood beside a loved one coming to grips with years of hidden abuse. I’ve seen the crippling effects of trauma on children’s self-esteem, motivation to live, and ability to thrive.
Along the way we’ve learned a lot about the way abuse and neglect affect children. One significant finding came from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)-Kaiser Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. This groundbreaking public health study Continue reading
“The arc of a moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I have found myself in a number of discussions about the two narratives in our current political debate. Some have described it as the difference between a narrative of hope and a narrative of fear. I’ve had to think long and hard about these narratives in the past few weeks. Continue reading
Let me start with a clarification: This post is neither a criticism of single parents, nor a condemnation of their status as “single.” I know single parents love their children just the same as married parents do, and that many of them make immeasurable sacrifices for their children’s futures. Rather, this post is meant to explore the experience of children in single-parent families, and the realities that single parents face. It’s probably one of my most academic blog posts to date, but I hope you’ll bear with me, because I think it’s worth it! Continue reading
Renee Vaughan holds a sign during the Zimmerman trial (AP)
The death of Trayvon Martin more than four years ago highlighted the highly-dangerous world many young people in the United States must negotiate every day. Often these cases make the headlines, and they are forgotten as new headlines emerge, or they move to the back of our minds. Continue reading
It was 3 a.m., and I sat straight up in bed awakened by a cry. It was my son, my only child at the time. I went into the room to get him. I knew the sound of agitation in his cry. In fact, I am still astonished at how much nuance there is in a cry. Continue reading
Several years ago, I was on a site visit of World Vision’s work in D.C. We visited one of the hardest hit wards, ward 8, to see a summer school program. Continue reading
I had the honor in March of being a judge for a middle school oratory competition that was put on by a program run by one of my college classmates. It included students from several schools in the city. It has been a few years since I’ve been in a middle school or around middle school students. My middle child is in high school, and my youngest is in elementary school. Continue reading