MAKING A DIFFERENCE
By Darlene Donloe
If the Children’s Bureau has anything to do with it, every child will grow up safe, nurtured and full of potential.
In an effort to move closer to that reality, Children’s Bureau, a leader in child abuse prevention and treatment, recently launched a new virtual Heroes of Hope campaign, an eight-week endeavor that began Nov. 12, to raise critical funds for at-risk children and families.
“We launched the campaign to showcase the three pillars of the organization and to do so in a way that we could utilize the technology and the way in which we are all operating,” said Stephanie Eversfield, chief development officer for the nonprofit. “We also wanted to share this with supporters and those in the general public. We really wanted to expand and increase our storytelling.”
The three pillars of which Eversfield spoke are mental health, prevention and foster care/adoption, considered their legacy program.
“All of those strengthen families,” said Eversfield, who has been with the Children’s Bureau for 14 months. “We consider heroes those doing that work. Heroes are also our resource families, the kids who have come through the foster care system, and who have come through the Department of Children and Family Services.”
Every year, there are nearly 30,000 substantiated child abuse claims in Los Angeles and Orange counties and around four times as many child abuse allegations, but those numbers are pre-COVID, according to Children’s Bureau.
The impact of the pandemic has put already fragile children at further risk. Children’s Bureau works every day to counteract that tragic reality through programs that build resilience, stability and overall family health.
The digital campaign features real-life stories from the agency’s heroic staff, hopeful families, the children and parents they support.
The campaign is designed to show the best way to strengthen child and family well-being within the community.
During the week of Nov. 12, a video aligned with National Adoption Month was released on foster care and adoption.
The stories showcased how the agency’s hallmark program continues to engage and recruit families to foster and/or foster-adopt. One of the heroes featured was Coco, a 10-year-old adopted child whose experience began in the foster program. She shared her passion for raising awareness for adoption.
The week of Nov. 16, a video was released on mental health. In the first week of December, the focus will be on prevention.
“Prevention is the pillar of the organization, which relies greatly on philanthropic support,” Eversfield said.
While one video is specifically for supporters and donors, there is a separate video for the general public on the organization’s microsite called Children’s Bureau Heroes. It can be viewed across social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Children’s Bureau hopes to raise $500,000 during the eight-week campaign. As of Nov. 19, $275,000 had already been raised.
“We are incredibly grateful,” Eversfield said.
The Heroes of Hope campaign is in lieu of the organization’s annual in-person fundraiser, the Blue Tie Gala, usually held in November. It was postponed this year due to COVID-19.
“We typically raise about that amount,” Eversfield said. “We needed to replace that shortfall, so we launched the Heroes of Hope campaign. The funds directly impact the philanthropic money we raise each year, primarily in the area of prevention.”
City National Bank and the Crean Foundation are the presenting sponsors of Heroes of Hope. Additional sponsors include former Children’s Bureau President & CEO Alex Morales and his wife Martha, The Galashan Family, Carrie, and Peter Tilton, Gayle Whittemore and Alexandra Glickman, Windes, Wells Fargo Capital Finance, and Lockton Insurance Brokers. The Morales family matched the first $100,000 in individual gifts toward the campaign.
With more than a century of experience, Children’s Bureau is a leader in strengthening vulnerable children, their parents, and the communities in which they live. The organization thrives on innovation, thinking differently, and bringing life-changing moments to those in need.
Since 1904, Children’s Bureau has been a leader in preventing child abuse and neglect and treating children who have suffered. The organization’s innovative, comprehensive services help thousands of at-risk children and parents annually from 20 community sites in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The research and evaluation efforts and advocacy inform the child welfare arena on local, state, and national levels.
This year, Eversfield said the organization has worked with about 48,000 children and families. While the organization serves children from birth to age 18, there is a special emphasis on children up to 5 years old. Statistics show that five children die every day from abuse and neglect and 33% of reported child abuse cases involve children under the age of 5. About 62% percent of the families are low-income, 10% are Asian Pacific or other, 7% are white and 7% are Black.
According to Children’s Bureau, a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds.
Eversfield said that “doesn’t have to happen.”
Reportedly, most parents don’t intend to harm their children. Many of today’s social ills play a pivotal role in child abuse.
“Prevention is key,” Eversfield said. “It’s administered in a variety of ways through our Family Enrichment classes. We have bi-weekly classes so families can get the tools and resources they need. Isolation is fodder for abuse and neglect. You take the stressors of unemployment and putting food on the table and poverty and take those and if you don’t feel you can get help and you’re isolated, that’s additional stress that is taken out on children.
“What sets us apart is our focus on being a leader on primary prevention,” said Eversfield, a mother of two. “We want to stop abuse and neglect from ever happening. To be honest, we would love to put Children’s Bureau out of business, cause it means we did our job.”
Darlene Donloe is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers South Los Angeles. She can be reached at email@example.com.
“Making a Difference” is a weekly feature profiling organizations that are serving their communities. To propose a “Making a Difference” profile, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.