July 2019
Being a role model and a parent who listens is a tough job. We are role models even when we aren't aware of it. We need to educate ourselves and be prepared. Let's learn from the childhood example of Ellen DeGeneres.

Ellen DeGeneres shared that her stepfather started giving her "breast exams" while her mother was being treated for breast cancer. Offenders often approach kids with requests that seem plausible to children, or that appear to be couched in kindness. It is up to the grown-ups in children's lives to make sure children know that stepdads do not give breast exams and football coaches do not shower with or lather up young players. We need to communicate about boundaries and make sure the people in our lives respect those boundaries.

These initial assaults are confusing to kids. A known and often trusted adult has crossed a boundary that feels wrong. It is confusing that the assault comes with kind words so it is very important that protective adults actively listen. Don't argue with a child about the child's experience. If you are a protective adult, it is important to confirm the child's statement and get help. You do not need to investigate yourself -- in fact, you shouldn't. You don't need to overpromise or have all the answers. You need to listen.

Ellen DeGeneres' mom shared regret over not believing her daughter after Ellen opened up about sexual abuse as a teen. Her mom wrote , "...I wish I had the capacity to listen to her when she told me what happened. I live with that regret, and I wouldn't want that for any other parent. If someone in your life has the courage to speak out, please believe them."

Believe someone if they tell you they have been abused. Use the resources in this newsletter to prevent abuse and help young people have healthy relationships. Yes -- it is uncomfortable to think about anyone abusing a child. In order to prevent it, we have to be aware of it. Let's make this a summer of light -- attend a Darkness to Light training in person or online, get educated and be prepared. If you are reading this, you are a role model for children.

Susan Conwell, JD
Executive Director
Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children
People used to talk about "good touch, bad touch" but that's not enough. It's up to adults to keep children safe. We can't expect a child to monitor whether the action of an adult is appropriate. This training will teach you how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Whether you work with youth, are a parent, or are simply a member of a community, it is highly likely that someone you know or care for has experienced, or is currently experiencing, c hild sexual abuse. You can prevent it--attend a Stewards of Children training from Darkness to Light .

The training will be held on Monday, July 8, 6:00-8:30pm at The Parenting Network , 7516 W. Burleigh St., Milwaukee. Call 414-671-0566 to register. This training is available for CASA continuing education--just let your CASA Program Manager know. If you attend, please let us know what you think of the training!
How Do I Respond When a Child Discloses Abuse to Me?
  1. Listen. Be non-judgmental. Actively listen to what the child is telling you.
  2. Don't argue with a child about the child's experience.
  3. Confirm the child's statement and make sure you understand the child's story.
  4. Get help. You do not need to investigate yourself.

Sometimes sexual abuse is also sex trafficking. It's important to know the unique signs of sex trafficking, see our January newsletter here . How can your response be different if a child or young adult discloses a sex trafficking situation? The following is from an interview with local expert, Claudine O'Leary, from our publication, " Sex Trafficking in Your Backyard Part Two: Time to Start Helping Youth" :

What do you do when a youth you’re working with discloses that she or he is impacted by the sex trade?
Many youth workers wonder what to do beyond making any required report. Some youth workers are concerned that many youth don’t want to talk about alternatives right away or appear uninterested in getting help. Adults can focus on three points to have more success in connecting with youth involved in trading sex.

Think of it this way: S.O.S. Safety. Options. Support.

Safety  – Ask the young person what they do to stay safe. Every youth involved in the sex trade thinks about safety and has taken important steps to stay as safe as possible. Listen to the strategies youth have developed, express your support for what they’ve done so far to take care of themselves and offer some additional ideas for safety planning that you would do for anyone.

Options  -Offer options and alternatives to meet the needs youth have. Youth have said they were told to stop but then no one offered any alternatives or options to do something different. If you don’t know of good options, offer to look into possibilities together with the youth.

Support  – Sometimes this just means listening. Your first instinct might be to try to fix everything. But the best support can be listening without judgment. Instead of promising it will all work out, which you can’t guarantee, promise you will be there to support them along the way.

By starting with safety, options and support, you can build a strong foundation for connecting with a youth impacted by the sex trade. Sadly, getting involved is a lot easier than getting out. But you can be a nonjudgmental ally to youth in their journey.

Finally, make sure you have support for yourself after the conversation. Listening to a young person talk about the sex trade can be difficult and bring up a lot of emotions. Find a healthy way to express yourself and get support too.
Know What a Healthy Relationship Looks Like
We shouldn't only talk about the scary parts--youth also need to know what healthy relationships look like! Loveisrespect engages, educates and empowers young people to prevent and end abusive relationships. Highly-trained advocates offer support, information and advocacy to young people who have questions or concerns about their dating relationships. Check out their website for resources, quizzes, and articles such as "Questions to Ask Your Friend if You Are Worried About Their Relationship," "Helping Your Teen Set Boundaries," and " Toxicity and Disney: Unhealthy Romances in the Disney Princess Movies."
Free and confidential phone, live chat and texting services are available 24/7/365.
Chat at www.loveisrespect.org
Text LOVEIS to 22522*
Call 1-866-331-9474
How to Talk to Foster Youth About Sexuality
We asked Dr. Alie Kriofske Mainella , professor of rehabilitation counseling, disability advocate, and sexual health and healthy relationship educator for advice on how to talk to youth. Kids Matter will publish more of her advice in the coming months. Healthy relationships matter! Remember -- it is okay to listen without having all the answers! Here are some of Alie's quick tips:

8 tips for foster parents to help foster youth avoid teen pregnancy and harmful consequences of having unprotected sex
  1. Build a positive relationship with your foster child based on trust and compassion. 
  2. Have age-appropriate conversations with your foster child about relationships and sex.
  3. Spend time with your foster child.
  4. Supervise your foster child, even into adolescence and teenage years.
  5. Get to know your foster child’s friends and their parents.
  6. Remember to monitor screen time and access—make sure you know what your foster child is watching and listening to in the media.
  7. Provide encouragement about your foster child’s extracurricular activities such as sports, music, arts, after-school clubs or spiritual programming.
  8. Talk positively about your foster child’s future—one that doesn’t have room for early pregnancy or diseases!

Dos and Don’ts of talking to foster children about sexuality
  • Check with the parents about talking about sex with your foster child.
  • Give your foster child time to build trust with you before talking about sex or even relationships.
  • Respect your foster child’s parent(s)’ views and values about sex.
  • Be askable. Answer questions honestly, even if the honest answer is “I don’t know.”
  • Talk to your licensing agency about their policies on talking to foster children about difficult topics.
  • Don't talk about sex immediately when the foster child enters your house.
  • Don't feel like you have to know everything or the answer to every question.
  • Don't try to get your foster child to think and feel the way YOU do about sexuality and relationships.
  • Don't turn questions away. You might be the only or the safest person your foster child asks questions to.

There are many online resources for teens and youth to learn about sexual health. Alie recommends Sex, Etc. and TeensHealth , and this resource for adults talking with children . Let us know your favorite resource!
MAAP Model of Talking to Young People
M odel : Let your foster child see how you interact with people you are intimate with like them, like your partner and your friends and family. Talk about these kinds of intimate behaviors and touch with them if they have questions.

A pproach : You can go to your child FIRST to talk about these topics; you don’t have to wait for them to ask you questions. The American Pediatric Association recommends that children know how babies are conceived and born and how to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection by the age of 11. The American Association of Pediatrics has lots of good online information for families and youth.

A sk : Sometimes when your children ask you questions about sex, even explicit ones, it is not coming from the place you think it is. Ask them why they have asked you and then answer them honestly.

P repare : Children today are exposed to so much information and so many images about sex, sexuality, dating, relationships, gender roles and more! Prepare your child for this world by talking with them, answering their questions honestly, and being an ASKABLE and APPROACHABLE adult.
Difficult topics... we know it's not easy to talk about sex! Kids Matter can help and find you resources for your situation. Come check out these two books below, available at the Kids Matter office! Do you have a resource we should know about? Please email us and let us know why you love a particular resource!
Are you our next AmeriCorps Volunteer?
Come work with Kids Matter! AmeriCorps, often referred to as a domestic Peace Corps, places individuals within communities to commit a year of service. This program places individuals with nonprofit organizations across Wisconsin to build and strengthen volunteer programs. Individuals will receive professional training focused in volunteer management. For full details and to apply, please visit CASA Volunteer Coordinator and Outreach Specialist on Jobs That Help . Please share and help us find a good fit!
Congratulations New CASA Class!
Congrats to the latest CASA class! A child's voice is lifted up thanks to you.
L-R: (1st row) Nidhi, Sue, Janis, Carly & Kelly (2nd row) Hannah, Maggie, Rochelle, Kelly, Alice, Etta, Danielle & Lance
CASA Continuing Education Opportunities
Community Advocates is hosting so many important trainings this summer--stayed tuned to the newsletter for trainings in the community! If you'd like to attend any of these trainings, register through the links below and let your CASA program manager know you're going.

Youth Mental Health First Aid
This training is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders. Register here.
Date: Tuesday, July 9th from 9:00am to 5:00pm
Location: Community Advocates Training Center, 6900 W. Brown Deer Rd.

Substance Abuse and Trauma
Substance abuse prevention specialists, youth workers, counselors, and AODA counselors will be exposed to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network research on trauma and substance abuse. Participants will learn more about prevention-based self-care strategies designed to reduce substance abuse. Register here.
During this training participants will:
  1. Review statistics and data to increase knowledge of the intersectionality of trauma and substance abuse.
  2. Learn how to address barriers and opportunities for creating community readiness around substance abuse prevention strategies.
  3. Discuss prevention-based self-care strategies designed to reduce substance abuse among teens and adults.
  4. Receive resources about treatment facilities and self-care practices for reducing substance abuse.
Date: Thursday, July 25th from 5:00pm to 8:00pm
Location: Greater Milwaukee Foundation, 101. W. Pleasant St, Suite 210

Difficult to fit in-person trainings into your schedule? We have a selection of online continuing education opportunities for you to choose from at your own pace--just let your CASA program manager k now you're interested for the complete list. Do you have a particular subject you want to know more about, but would like recommendations of resources? Let us know!

The videos below are available for CASA continuing education c redit.
  1. Bruce D. Perry: Social & Emotional Development in Early Childhood- What can parents—and other adults—do to further promote infant well-being? Join renowned psychiatrist Bruce D. Perry, recipient of the 2014 Dolores Kohl Education Prize, for this discussion of early-childhood brain development and its long-term importance.
  2. Nadine Burke Harris: How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime- Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain.
  3. John Rigg: The effect of trauma on the brain and how it affects behaviors- In his work with trauma patients, Dr. Rigg has observed how the brain is constantly reacting to sensory information, generating non-thinking reactions before our intelligent individual human brains are able to process the event and formulate a self-driven response.
Welcome to the neighborhood, Karli!
Sesame Street has introduced a new character, Karli, living in foster care with her "for now" parents. She joins a crew of muppets that reflects the diversity of children's lives, including Alex whose father is incarcerated. Visit the Sesame Street Workshop to learn all about activities you can do with your kids to learn more about foster care & strengthening families.
"Evicted" at the Mobile Design Box
What does (in)stability look like for children? Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book Evicted is now a traveling exhibit currently being shown in Milwaukee on weekends through September. The exhibit provides an introduction to the intimate, complicated, and all-too-common experience of eviction.

UWM's School of Architecture & Urban Planning will also present "Finding Home – Architectural Solutions to America's Homeless Crisis," which explores homelessness from an architectural point of view and offers some ideas for temporary solutions.

The free exhibit is presented by Near West Side Partners at Mobile Design Box, 753 N. 27th St., Milwaukee, Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through September 30. Attending the exhibit counts as CASA continuing education, just let your CASA program manager know!