Together WE CAN
Together WE CAN (Work to End Child Abuse and Neglect) is a community-driven movement with the bold goal of ending child maltreatment within a generation. Founded on the belief that parental wellbeing is inextricably linked to child wellbeing, Together WE CAN works to mitigate the impact of past trauma while preventing future trauma, meeting families where they are to support emotional and economic stability.
Child Abuse and neglect is a profound problem, impacting the health and safety of children and families, and the overall wellbeing of our communities within Scott County.
In late 2017, Scott County Child Protection Services (CPS) and Scott County Public Health came together to begin tackling the increasing numbers of children and families entering the child protection system. The County engaged the community in helping to answer the question, “How do we prevent child abuse and neglect?” Through this effort, two community conversations were hosted, drawing 72 individuals to begin assessing the strengths and gaps within our community.
The Strategic Plan
These conversations and additional community outreach resulted in the draft of a strategic plan in 2018, with four central themes: 1) affordability/economic stability, 2) awareness of and access to services, 3) cultural competence, and 4) service coordination and integration. Supported by the Scott County Board of Commissioners, implementation of the Strategic Plan began in 2019 and was continued throughout 2020.
This implementation marked the first time in Scott County history that CPS focused on prevention and community engagement; shifting from reactive to proactive work. To make this move to upstream services, CPS transparently partnered with parents and professionals across the community to actively reduce the number of children who experience abuse and neglect across the county. In alignment with this work and to meet such a bold goal, Scott County Commissioners developed a strategy within the County’s five-year strategic plan documenting their commitment to children and families in our community.
To expand on and drive the work identified in the Strategic Plan, a multidisciplinary Steering Committee that includes birth parents, foster parents, educators, health care professionals, local public and nonprofit service providers, Members of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, legal professionals, law enforcement, and local leaders and advocates, was established in April of 2019. This Steering Committee collectively established a theory of change for this work focused on expanding the continuum of prevention and early intervention services, while concurrently ensuring ongoing opportunities for community engagement and co-creation of solutions to end child maltreatment. Please see below for the working structure of Together WE CAN.
The Steering Committee recognized that child wellbeing is inextricably linked to parental wellbeing: children do better when their parents do better. Building this “Two-Generation Approach”, a strategy to promote young children’s healthy development by developing the capabilities and the resources of parents or caregivers, understands that to move upstream towards prevention we need to mitigate the impact of trauma for those who have experienced it, while preventing new trauma from occurring. This generational work in Scott County is guided by the Together WE CAN Movement and is taking shape through three subcommittees: 1) Parental Resiliency and Education, 2) Whole Family Systems, 3) Concrete Supports for Mental and Chemical Health.
There are five interrelated protective factors that studies show are related to a decreased likelihood of child abuse and neglect, as well as to the promotion of family strengths and optimal child development. Those factors include:
- Concrete Support in Times of Need: Identifying, seeking, accessing, advocating for, and receiving needed adult, child, and family services; receiving a quality of service designed to preserve parents’ dignity and promote healthy development
- Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: Understanding the unique aspects of child
development; implementing developmentally and contextually appropriate best parenting practices
- Parental Resilience: managing both general life and parenting stress and functioning well when faced with stressors, challenges, or adversity; the outcome is positive change and growth
- Social and Emotional Competence of Children: providing an environment and experiences that enable the child to form close and secure adult and peer relationships, and to experience, regulate, and express emotions
- Social Connections: having healthy, sustained relationships with people, institutions, the community, or a force greater than oneself
When parents do better, kids do better. Browse our e sources for more information, resources, and support around the five protective factors.
- Concrete Supports for Mental and Chemical Health_ Together WE CAN_ e-source
- Concrete Supports_Together WE CAN_e source
- Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development_Together WE CAN_e source
- Parental Resiliency_Together WE CAN_e source
- Social and Emotional Competence of Children _ Together WE CAN _ e source
- Social Connections_Together WE CAN_e source