As is often the case, attending a conference has fueled the creative streak in me. This idea really started a few days ago but attending the meeting today sealed the deal regarding a thought that had been wandering aimlessly about my brain.
Backing it up a bit….this conference is Preventing Child Maltreatment and
Promoting Well-Being: Network for Action. The meeting is sponsored by the federal Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (or OCAN, part of the Administration on Children & Families).
More specifically, the topic that prompted this blog was messaging to potential partners in efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect (aka, CA/N or CAN). This was one of the ‘break-out’ sessions and since I’m all for collaboration and building partnerships, I thought this would be the perfect session given my leanings. Taking it a bit further, the participants were asked to break into smaller groups to work on messaging geared towards specific audiences. I chose business. No sense in talking about ‘natural partners’ like education or early childhood; let’s go straight to the MBA‘s!
I should mention that the path leading to this connection also involves a grant announcement from the Department of Labor (DOL) that I read just a few days ago. The funding is to provide training to businesses on safety and OSHA standards. What does this have to do with preventing child abuse and neglect? Not much, really, other than leading to my idea.
What if, DOL and ACF teamed up to offer grants for training to businesses on issues related to the prevention of child abuse and neglect, such as family strengthening, protective factors, etc.? Why would they do this, you ask? Here is where the (not so) unlikely bedfellows part comes in. Businesses have a stake in supporting healthy families and child development, although they often do not realize it. If an employee is being investigated for child abuse, they are likely to bring the stress of that into my workplace. And they will probably miss some days of work to attend counseling, court hearings, etc. This is why businesses would be interested….productivity! That’s the short-term connection. The long-term is future workforce, healthy families and communities, increased tax base, and on and on. Really, there are lots of reasons businesses might benefit from taking an active interest in the family life of their employees. So why don’t we, meaning child welfare folks, nudge them in that direction and provide education and resources so that they can support healthy employees and their families?
Makes perfect sense to me! If anyone at DOL or ACF happens to read this, I’m happy to assist in the writing of the funding announcement!