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The University of Alabama

UA among those Funded for Child Maltreatment Prevention Programs

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama’s Child Development Resources is one of five Tuscaloosa organizations to receive more than $379,000, combined, to help fund community programs committed to the prevention of child maltreatment.

The Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention will present the organizations with the individual grant awards at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, at UA’s Child Development Research Center.

This year’s grant recipients include Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Alabama, Child Abuse Prevention Services, United Cerebral Palsy of West Alabama, Tuscaloosa’s One Place and UA’s Child Development Resources, a part of the College of Human Environmental Sciences.

The presentation will be attended by the grantee organization’s staff and board members, the state agency’s staff and state board members, Tuscaloosa and Northport City Council members, Tuscaloosa and Northport mayors and Representative Bill Poole.

In addition, each grantee organization will have a family who has received services from that particular organization share their story.

The Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention was established in 1983 to address the state’s growing problem of child neglect and maltreatment. While several state agencies already existed to deal with different aspects of child abuse, none of these agencies specifically focused on solving the problem before it occurred.

To address the problem at its origin, instead of merely addressing the symptoms of what could have been prevented, The ACANP Act established The Children’s Trust Fund. These state dollars are intended to provide annual funding of community-based prevention programs throughout the state, as well as create a self-sustaining pool of funds to provide for funding these programs in the future.

“As Alabama’s only state agency designated to prevent child abuse and neglect, it is their goal to encourage and support each community in this state in their efforts to find new and effective solutions for preventing child abuse before it occurs and, ultimately, strengthen Alabama families to prevent this tragedy in the future,” said Leslie Guy, parent services coordinator for UA’s Child Development Resources.

“These programs (that receive funding) benefit local and statewide communities by helping parents strengthen their knowledge of parenting skills and child development thus making the parents and families of our communities more confident and nurturing.”

The grant money will be used to fund the following programs:

  • UA’s Child Development Resources will receive $37,500 for Baby TALK (Teaching Activities for Learning and Knowledge), which is a community effort designed to encourage parents in the nurture of their small children. New parents are provided with basic child development information and suggestions for developmentally appropriate activities. A gift book is given to parents to read aloud to their children, believing that reading aloud, more than any other single activity, will enhance the parent/child relationship as it encourages the child’s mental, social and language development. Baby TALK visits with families at DCH Regional Medical Center, Northport Medical Center, Tuscaloosa County Health Department, University Medical Center and Maude Whatley Health Clinic.
  • UA’s Child Development Resources also received $56,250 for its Parenting Assistance Line, which is a statewide toll-free number answered by a Parent Resource Specialist who will listen and offer helpful information and support. Callers can request free literature about their specific parenting concerns. PAL is for anyone who wants information and support in becoming a more confident parent.  Parenting can be tough, and sometimes with today’s stresses and problems everyone needs a little help, organizers said. PAL can provide helpful assistance to moms, dads, grandparents, and relatives whose children are ages birth through adolescence.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Alabama received $50,000 for school-based programming. Partnering with parents/guardians, schools, corporations and others in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully pairs children (“Littles”) with screened volunteer mentors (“Bigs”) and monitors and supports these one-to-one mentoring matches in building safe, enduring relationships.
  • Child Abuse Prevention Services received $40,000 for the organization’s long-running program, Committee for Children’s Second Step. With full support from both the City and County schools, the organization has taken Second Step into two city and two county elementary and middle schools each year. This year, funding is being sought to increase the number of schools from four to eight. The goal is to provide the program to all children in Tuscaloosa.
  • Tuscaloosa’s One Place received $147,000 for It Takes Two a Fatherhood Initiative. This is a program designed for noncustodial fathers in Tuscaloosa and Greene counties to increase involvement in their child’s life and increase child support payments/collections. It Takes Two provides education and support in the areas of healthy relationships, responsible parenting and economic stability. Classes are held weekly at the Tuscaloosa County Jail and at Tuscaloosa’s One Place. Classes are also held at the Phoenix House, a local substance abuse shelter. The project’s curricula for all components include Quenching the Father’s Thirst, Together We Can, Quick Job Success Guide: Seven Steps to Getting Ahead on the Job and Overcoming Barriers to Employment Success.
  • Tuscaloosa’s One Place also received $26,250 for No Place Like Home, which provides family specific services that reduce risk factors while increasing protective factors, thus leading to healthier relationships. Programming is designed for children of any age.
  • United Cerebral Palsy of West Alabama received $22,500 for HEARTS Respite, a respite program that provides voucher reimbursement for respite care to families of children birth through 19 living with special needs in Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Marengo, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, Tuscaloosa and Wilcox counties. Respite care services provide temporary, short-term breaks for caregivers of children and youth with disabilities. Voucher respite is designed to allow families to choose their own caregivers, offering flexibility of when, where and how much respite is provided. One of the most frequently cited family or parental risk factors for the maltreatment of children with disabilities is the increased stress of caring for a child with special needs.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.