~Connecting ~Advocating ~Supporting ~Listening ~Challenging ~Educating ~Mentoring ~Validating
The O.U.R. Children’s Safety Network
Observing, Understanding, and
Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect(CA/N)
Hands & Voices State Chapter and GBYS Program “GRAB
BAG OF IDEAS”
We don't like to think about it, but our kids who are deaf or hard of hearing
are at a higher risk for both abuse and neglect. Like any children, they are at
risk. As children who might not always be able to communicate easily and
fluently, or understand the nuances of conversation with neighbors,
caregivers, or strangers, they are at an even higher risk of being victims of
If we can stop that cycle with even one child, one family... our efforts are
more than worthwhile.
Hands & Voices is working closely with researcher Harold Johnson at
Michigan State University to understand the scope of this problem, partner
with supporting agencies (who often need to learn more about deafness),
and teach ourselves how best to Observe, Understand, and Respond to our
children. To keep them safe. To keep them free to grow up in the innocence
We are challenging one another to spread the word about this
important topic. Parent Guides from CO Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side
are participating in a pilot project, keeping logs of the questions that arise,
and sharing thoughts as they learn more about this topic. This project has
resulted in a ‘community of learners’ who have gone beyond just talking
about the issue, to incorporating change in our day to day lives as
individuals and organizationally.
There’s a lot more that we can be doing beyond wringing our hands in
frustration. Below are resources that will be useful to parents in developing
skills that will prepare us to share effectively with their own children. The
development of this Grab Bag of Ideas is to give some ideas about how you
can easily incorporate this difficult topic into the day to day life of your
organization. Here are some things that you can do to make a difference on
and to become a community where you have the resources to observe,
understand, and respond to Child Abuse and Neglect.
How to implement ideas in this document:
Designate at least one person from your state to join the
“O.U.R. Children’s Safety” Network
o Contact Janet DesGeorges firstname.lastname@example.org for
You may want to assign different ideas in a certain time period, ie.
“by next month, we will…” - Choose measurable, time sensitive goals
for this project, “Who will do what by when?”
THE GRAB BAG OF IDEAS
1. Create a committee from your chapter board, staff, GBYS program
and/or others who will be a part of a group to look at the issue of CA/N
and work towards organizational change ( share the O.U.R Children’s
Safety power point with members of Advisory Board and Board of
Directors and Director)
a. Due to the sensitivity of this topic, consider creating access as a
group to a visual form of communication when talking as a
group, if meeting by phone (i.e. ivisit, skype etc.). We have
found it helpful to be able to see each other during our time
2. Watch the video, “Do? Tell…” available to borrow for a one month
period from Hands & Voices
3. Read one article per month about this issue and discuss as a group.
4. Use a template of interview questions provided by the “O.U.R
Children’s Safety Network to help facilitate discussion when seeking
information in the community. Use a ‘script’ of how to talk about this.
5. Talk one on one to families: "Did you know that our kids were at a
higher risk of abuse and neglect than kids who don't have language
concerns? But there is much that we can do to protect them!"
6. Identify who can really provide support for deaf/hh children/families
in each region. Many of the agencies I found through Childhelp do
great work, but have no expertise about deafness.
7. Sponsor a safety skills class (ie Kidpower) to get a conversation going
in your community and get critical information to kids and
families. (Sample flyer - would that be helpful?)
8. Talk to front line professionals: counselors, school nurses, teachers,
early childhood interventionists about signs/symptoms, reasons why
professionals DON'T report and why they should.
9. Share the stories about what happens when you go out into the
community and bring up this topic.
10. Share project at every opportunity: there is a way to bring up
the topic in nearly every setting from workshops for professionals to
information to charity clubs about our work at Hands & Voices/GBYS.
11. Include a short anecdote in newsletters/email blasts to keep the
issue in the spotlight.
12. When schools do bullying training, ask them to include
information on abuse/neglect.
13. Create specific section on your state chapter website that links
information in your state to this topic.
14. Speak about the topic of CA/N in pre-service/in-service classes
for students studying to go into the deaf education field, audiology,
Speech Language Pathology.
15. Plan a workshop for families in your state regarding Children’s
16. have parents call other parents to check in and support them-
like a mentor program and help with supporting disciplinarily methods.
(addressing this issue at the ‘parenting skills’ level)
17. Create an outreach program for schools, particularly Early
Childhood Programs from the parent perspective on this topic.
18. Contact families on list of GBYS and ask if anyone is interested in
having me come to the home and do a presentation/show the video.
19. Meet with classroom teachers to show them the video and
20. Host UHL regional events in which “Do Tell” video is shown and
discussed for parents…..
21. If you have a situation that you need input on, call 1-800-4-a-
child to talk to someone anonymously if you need someone who has
experience on this topic.
22. Review information/products that your state chapter/GBYS
program disseminates and include information about CA/N (i.e. state
resource guides, fact sheets, handouts at events, newsletters, e-mail
23. Talk to one agency that might come in contact with our children
about how they educate staff/what they do regarding CA/N
a. This can be: churches, community services (YMCA, etc.),
b. “What are you doing to protect our children?”
24. Talk to one organization in your community who offers services
for children who are abused or neglected and ask the question,
a. “Do you have resources to offer families who have children who
are deaf/hard of hearing?”
25. Share information from your state chapter about CAN and ask
the receiver to do the following:
o We would ask that you consider the following:
1. Pass-it-on: Share this handout, and its related resources,
with at least one other parent, and then ask them to “pass-
2. Share the Story: Have a conversation with your child about
abuse and neglect (see
“Helping Parents Talk to Children” document), then share
the story with us of how it went so that other parents can
learn from your experience.
3. Recognize the Best and Challenge Everyone Else: Ask
the professionals who work with your child what they are
doing to protect your child from abuse and neglect, then
share the resulting reactions, information, resources,
programs, and questions so that we recognize the best and
challenge everyone else.
4. Join us on our wiki, i.e. http://deafed-childabuse-neglect-
5. Consider your potential involvement in the O.U.R project,
for next steps and commitment requirements, contact Janet
DesGeorges at email@example.com
Thank you for giving some attention to this topic - we know how busy you all
are, and even choosing one of the options above will help us to move
forward on this important subject!
- from the H&V O.U.R. Children's Safety Network
Please contact us for more information about our
Child Abuse and Neglect Project with Michigan State University