By: Anthony Matrisciano
April 5, 2012
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
Wilkes-Barre, PA —April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and funding from The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) has been helping local nonprofits address the causes of child abuse and neglect.
Since 2009, The Foundation has awarded more than $100,000 in grants for programs designed to improve the health and safety of more than 700 families and more than 4,000 children across northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. From parenting lessons on nutrition and caregiving to screenings for mental health and substance abuse issues, more than a dozen regional programs received funding to prevent violence and promote wellness among at-risk populations.
In Luzerne County, a recent $7,000 grant from The Foundation helped 82 families benefit from the Supporting Stronger Families program run by the Pennsylvania affiliate of Volunteers of America. The nonprofit’s staff identify the underlying factors behind child abuse and neglect in local families and provide in-home education to meet each family’s specific needs.
“The Foundation’s funding allows us to address the immediate problems that are placing a family’s children at-risk,” said Summer Krochta, Supporting Stronger Families program director. “Whether making sure parents are meeting the nutritional and medical needs of their family, or coaching them on how to nurture their children and keep a house safe and clean, we’re working to ensure that children are raised in safe and secure environments.”
One woman who benefitted from the Supporting Stronger Families program is April Dolan, a Wilkes-Barre mother of four. After leaving an abusive relationship, Dolan was referred to the Volunteers of America program through Child Protective Services.
“It was so great to have someone who could help me when I thought I had nowhere to turn,” said Dolan. “The Supporting Stronger Families staff helped me get clothes for my children, and helped with transportation.
“They help families find ways to help themselves, and I am so grateful for what they’ve done for me and my family,” she added.
Twenty-nine years ago, Congress designated April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month to recognize the importance of stopping the mistreatment of children. And for more than 70 years, BCNEPA has been focused on its mission of improving the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care for regional families.
“Education and prevention are the keys,” said Cynthia A. Yevich, The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s executive director. “We are privileged to be able to support nonprofits like Volunteers of America that focus on addressing the root causes of our community’s most pressing problems.”
About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to nearly 550,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. The company’s mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations BCNEPA serves.
BCNEPA established its private, nonprofit Blue Ribbon Foundation in 2002 to invest in health education and prevention initiatives that produce measurable health improvements and help manage long-term health costs for the residents of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.