While our MassKids office is closed, we want you to know we are working
every day to keep Massachusetts children safe and to protect them from
abuse. We hope you will support our work during this critical period.
Here are highlights of current efforts.
Massachusetts Parent Resource Guide:
Caring for Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The unprecedented crisis from COVID-19 has resulted in the closure of
schools, after-school programs, day-care centers, and youth-serving
organizations. Parents may be working from home while helping homeschool
children, filing for unemployment or going without any income at all if
they are not eligible. Many are scrambling to find childcare while risking
their lives performing "essential jobs" in their communities.
With the added emotional and financial stress and lack of access to usual
outside support from educators, social workers, childcare workers,
after-school program staff, and counselors at youth-serving organizations,
parents are being challenged to cope with the even greater demands the
pandemic is placing on everyone.
To raise awareness about the increased risk to children of abuse and
neglect during this time, and to provide support to parents and other
caregivers to help keep children safe , MassKids has produced the
Massachusetts Resource Guide for Parents and Caregivers: Caring For
Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Guide is being distributed to
school leaders throughout the state through the MA Association of School
Superintendents and other networks serving families.
During this period of social distancing, we encourage parents to stay
connected virtually with outside support systems and reach out if they need
help. Connect with and offer support, if possible, to a family who may be
experiencing stresses. Click below to download the Guide, and share it with
the parents in your life.
Download the Resource Guide for Parents
When Children Stay at Home - A COVID-19 Consequence
Kathryn Robb, a MassKids Board Member, survivor of child sexual abuse, and
key leader in the successful reform of Massachusetts’ Statute of
Limitations laws, shares her personal view about the consequences of
stay-at-home orders for children living with abuse. As Executive Director
of CHILD USAdvocacy, Kathryn is fighting to pass meaningful child sexual
abuse legislation all across the country.
In her latest piece published in Verdict, Kathryn warns:
“Kids who are stuck at home during this uncertain time may have bigger
problems than boredom and lack of access to healthy meals. The research
tells us that about 90 percent of children who are sexually abused know
their abuser.” (Nearly a third of those who abuse are family members,
including parents, stepparents, grandparents, uncles, and older siblings.)
She continues: “For the child experiencing this type of abuse, being out
of the home regularly is a version of safe and necessary distancing. To
those children, the home is infected; school, athletics, and
extracurricular activities become the layers of personal protective
equipment. Without those protective activities, children are at greater
Click here to read “When Children Stay at Home – A COVID-19 Consequence.
Lifelines for Students At Risk of Abuse
For the first time ever, rape crisis hotlines across the country are
reporting a significant increase in calls from children and youth. The vast
majority of these callers report they are living with the person who is
hurting them. For many children, lack of access to their teachers, school
nurses, social workers, counselors, and coaches means they may not have
anyone outside their home they can confide in. As a result, reports of
child abuse and neglect to the Department for Children and Families (DCF)
have fallen sharply since stay-at-home orders were issued.
Before the pandemic, MassKids had developed a Student Safety Poster to
encourage students who feel unsafe to tell
a trusted adult or call the Child-at-Risk line. Endorsed by the MA
Association of School Superintendents and the MA School Nurse Organization,
over 500 posters (18"x24") were posted in schools across the state in
Since physical distribution of the remaining 4,500 posters to all 1,850
public schools is on hold during the pandemic, MassKids is sending the
electronic 8.5"x11" flyer version of the poster to schools. We are
encouraging them to post it on their web homepages, and send it directly to
students, if possible, to let children know that even during this isolating
period, schools are serious about protecting their students from any form
Download the Student Safety Flyer and distribute it widely to your
Protecting Vulnerable Infants During the Crisis
Infants and children under 3 are at greatest risk for injuries and death
from child abuse. Abusive Head Trauma caused by shaking or impact injuries
are the most frequent forms of this trauma. A third of infants who are
shaken or thrown against a hard surface, e.g. crib mattress, pillow, couch,
etc., die from their injuries. A third suffer intellectual disabilities,
seizures, blindness, deafness, paralysis and speech deficits.
The COVID-19 crisis is an especially stressful time for expecting parents
as they anticipate birthing their babies in hospitals coping with the
demands of serving infected patients. There are concerns about whether they
or their babies will be safe from the virus when in the hospital. Knowing
that husbands, partners and other family members may not be present during
labor and delivery further increases stresses. Relatives and friends who
would normally surround them with physical support during the weeks and
months after giving birth may be absent. These stresses can deprive parents
of critical support just when they need it most.
To help address this heightened risk for infants, MassKids is
distributing free of charge its 2-DVD training set to Massachusetts
maternity hospitals and birthing centers - “Abusive Head Trauma/Shaken Baby
Syndrome: A Training for Health Care Practitioners” and “Infant Crying and
Soothing ~ What You Need To Know To Keep Your Baby Safe: A Presentation for
Parents.” Our companion teaching brochures for parents, adopted by Beth
Israel Deaconess Medical Center, UMass Memorial Hospital, and other health
providers, are available for bulk purchase in English, Spanish and
Portuguese. Please contact [email protected] for more information.
MassKids Announces New Online Course for Youth Serving Organizations
Enough! Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in My Youth Organization: This latest
offering in the Enough! Training series is the most comprehensive training
course available in the U.S. developed exclusively to meet the specific
needs of youth serving organizations (YSOs), and to address the challenges
they face in preventing sexual misconduct and abuse.
The one-hour, online course with available closed captions provides
learners with an engaging and interactive experience, while increasing
their knowledge about child sexual abuse and its prevention, their ability
to identify boundary violating behaviors before they can escalate to
legally reportable sexual offenses, and their confidence in reporting
boundary violations, sexual misconduct and suspected cases of child sexual
Learn more about the Enough! course for YSOs
Enough! Course for Schools Approved For Continuing Education
MassKids’ online course - Enough! Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in My
School - has been approved for 1.0 Social Work Continuing Education hours
by NASW-MA. Several thousand Massachusetts school employees have now
completed the course. Learner satisfaction remains high with over 95%
indicating they would recommend it to their colleagues.
The Enough! Training was selected in 2019 for inclusion in the U.S.
Department of Justice‘s CrimeSolutions.gov national online repository of
effective, quality programs and practices to serve as evidence-based models
for the fields of criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime
Learn more about the Enough! course for schools
Take the Pledge to Prevent™ Child Sexual Abuse Today!
Over 1,000 people have taken the Pledge to Prevent™, a unique online action
campaign that gives everyone a way to prevent child sexual abuse in their
homes and communities. Take action during April, National Child Abuse
Prevention Month, by taking a pledge!
At Pledgetoprevent.org you can choose one of over 30 specific pledges.
We promptly send you an email with tailor-made resources to help you
fulfill it. You have the option to upload your photo to the Gallery and
inspire others to take a Pledge and to “Show Your Hand, Take a Stand!"
Take the Pledge to Prevent!
MassKids directs the Enough Abuse Campaign, a citizen education and
community mobilization initiative working to prevent child sexual abuse in
homes, schools, youth organizations and communities. Enough Abuse has been
adopted in New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Nevada, South Dakota, and
counties in Maine and California. We have adapted our training tools for
the West African countries of Nigeria and Sierra Leone, where child sexual
abuse incidents are high and advocates are working to introduce prevention
education to parents and schools.
We are committed to providing adults and communities with the knowledge
and skills they need to put an end to the silence, and eventually, the
epidemic of child sexual abuse. Visit our website for more facts and
Thanks for supporting our efforts and for all you do every day to keep