Featured Organization: Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN)

Mission

Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) of Northern Virginia is based on one simple principle: every child in Northern Virginia deserves to grow up in a safe, stable, nurturing family. In pursuit of this vision, SCAN works to promote the well-being of children, improve parent-child relations and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Beginnings

In the late 1990s, more research and scientific approaches improved prevention effectiveness. Organizations began learning more about the ‘risk factors’ that put people in danger of becoming victims as well as the ‘protective factors’ that help buffer against risk. Efforts also began incorporating spheres of influence—peers, school systems, families—and building individual resiliency skills, such as problem-solving, relationship-building, and managing risk.

In the past decade, the focus has shifted from preventing just one danger (whether it be substance abuse, child abuse, delinquency, etc.) to a more comprehensive approach. Factors placing someone at risk for one problem often correlate with risk factors for others. In response, SCAN has moved beyond traditional ‘prevention programs’ to a multi-faceted approach geared towards the whole community.

Prevention begins when a child is put first. To this end, SCAN focuses on supporting parents and facilitating cooperation among agencies and organizations, prioritizing the needs of children everywhere.

Parent Education

SCAN’s Parent Education Program provides direct support, education, and resources to parents and caregivers across Northern Virginia. Offering parenting classes, support groups, developmental playgroups, and parenting workshops, SCAN believes that parent education and family support are key to the prevention of child abuse and neglect in our community.

CASA Program

The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program provides trained community volunteers appointed by judges to speak up for children in the juvenile court system. CASA volunteers are citizens who want to help their community’s children. When CASAs are appointed to a child, they are responsible for taking time to find out as much as possible about the child and the child’s circumstances. CASA volunteers search for information; they review records, get to know the parents, talk to teachers, neighbors and—most important—the child. The CASA volunteer then appears in court to recommend to the judge what is best for the child’s future.

The Facts

Last year, 81 VOLUNTEERS advocated for 184 CHILDREN from 101 FAMILIES through SCAN’s Alexandria/Arlington CASA Program.

SCAN’s Parent Education Program supported 79 PARENTS and 104 CHILDREN through parenting classes, plus 169 PARENTS and 78 CHILDREN at weekly educational parent support groups. 196 PARENTS also attended parenting workshops facilitated by SCAN.

The Pinwheel

The pinwheel is used as a symbol of support for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. It is an uplifting reminder of childhood and the bright futures all children deserve.

Engagement Opportunities

Become a CASA
Are you a mature, responsible adult with an ability to listen and commit your time to help children in need? If so, then you may be qualified to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). CASA volunteers come from all walks of life. They learn about the special needs of children who are involved in custody and abuse and neglect cases and become their advocate. It takes an average of 10 to 20 hours a month to be a CASA volunteer and will likely be the most challenging and gratifying volunteer work you will ever do.

Volunteer at Classes & Workshops
SCAN provides various daytime and evening classes and workshops for parents throughout the year and is in need of volunteers to provide childcare during these various events.

Become a Special Event Volunteer
Volunteers are needed to help out at Northern Virginia fairs, festivals, special events, and other public venues. Volunteers help distribute literature about SCAN, child abuse prevention, and healthy parenting. This is a great opportunity to reach thousands of people and to interact with other SCAN volunteers and staff.

Become a Research Aide
SCAN strives to keep on top of current information regarding child safety, child abuse and neglect, and resources available for education and prevention. SCAN utilizes volunteers to research topics for fact sheets, workshops, and various SCAN activities.

Are you interested in a group service opportunity?

Your community service, church, civic or just a group of your friends can volunteer together to help SCAN, either through a one-time activity or by planning a benefit for SCAN. Some one-time activities include helping SCAN with one of the family meals before parenting classes – anything from buying groceries to cooking and eating with the families.

Other one-time activities could include planting a pinwheel garden to raise awareness or a few people could help our childcare volunteers one evening at our support groups or parenting classes. You could also plan a benefit, like a concert or fashion show, and donate the proceeds to SCAN.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, email SCAN at info@scanva.org or call SCAN at (703) 820-9001.

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