The Beat: Safety

February 14, 2013

Photograph of Andra Tharp.Last week, we wrote about the dearth of teen dating violence prevention programs that have been shown to be effective. Attempting to fill the gap, especially for young people in high-risk urban communities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed an initiative that targets middle-school students, their parents, their teachers and others.

Local health departments are leading 5-year demonstration projects to test the approach, called Dating Matters, in Oakland, CA, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Chicago and Baltimore. Each project includes evidence-based and evidence-informed curricula for 6th-, 7...

February 12, 2013

Scenarios USA logo shows an image of a globe.As Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month continues, we want to highlight a way youth can share how they would respond to relationship violence.

The “You Gotta Do Something!” Youth Video Contest asks young people under age 21 to finish telling the story of Rob and Ashley, a fictional couple who get into a fight at a party. Youth enter the contest by watching a 14-minute video about Rob and Ashley on YouTube before creating their own video to show what happens next.

Young people must be sponsored by a youth worker or teacher to enter. Winning teams receive a set of educational films written by teens and filmed by professionals, or a gift certificate. The deadline to enter is noon Eastern on February 28, 2013....

February 11, 2013

National Runaway SafelineLast month, Chicago's National Runaway Switchboard became the National Runaway Safeline. For nearly 40 years, the Family and Youth Services Bureau has funded the organization to be the federally designated national communication system for runaway and homeless youth.

FYSB's Acting Associate Commissioner, Debbie A. Powell, recently wrote about the name change on The Family Room, the official blog of the Administration for Children and Families. Here's what she said about the long history between the Safeline and FYSB and the importance of the national communication system:

Every year, thousands of young people--and adults...

February 06, 2013

Photograph of two teens holding hands."Promising Practices in the Prevention of Intimate Partner Violence Among Adolescents" (abstract). Violence and Victims, Vol. 27, No. 6 (December 2012).

What it’s about: Researchers at West Chester University of Pennsylvania looked at programs created to curb teen dating violence and assessed whether they met nine criteria of effective prevention programs. The criteria included promoting healthy relationships, being culturally relevant to young people's lives, and systematically comparing results to the program's goals.

Why read it: ...

February 05, 2013

Screen shot of web app on a smartphone.February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, a chance for youth workers to teach young people about healthy relationships and how to protect themselves from physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Research shows that teen dating violence not only affects young people while it's happening. It also can lead to health problems like eating disorders and suicidal thoughts later on in life.

We decided to test two smartphone applications designed to prevent dating violence and sexual abuse by quickly connecting youth to emergency help. The apps, Circle of 6 and OnWatch, were winners of the Apps Against Abuse technology challenge...

February 04, 2013

In our latest podcast, we hear from Bill Martin, executive director of Waterford Country School, a Connecticut youth shelter that will soon finish the three-year implementation of the CARE Model. He talks about how this evidence-based practice enables Waterford to better serve youth.
Listen to the podcast.

January 31, 2013

Image of the book Girls Like Us.“Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale”
by Rachel Lloyd

In this memoir, a well-known advocate exposes the horrors of sex trafficking, and tells us what it will take to create a society that values and protects girls. NCFY read it, and we tell you why we think it’s a good read for youth workers.

Rachel Lloyd grew up in England with a depressive, alcoholic mother and her series of violent boyfriends. By 14, she had dropped out of school. Faking her age, she did factory work to keep a roof over their heads.

“The pressure to have a baby, at fourteen, already feels intense,” she writes in her memoir “Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where...

January 30, 2013

Photograph of a Native American teen girl.As we continue to learn more about the reasons young people may be sexually exploited, some researchers say Native American young women may be particularly at risk.

VAWNet, an online resource of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, in 2011 reviewed the research on Native women and sex trafficking (PDF, 781KB). The authors of the review point to a 2007 analysis of police records in Hennepin County, MN, which includes Minneapolis. Native women accounted for nearly a quarter of the prostitution arrests that year—a percentage more than 12 times their representation in the...

January 29, 2013

Photograph of a young woman looking thoughtful.The young woman first contacted Bellefaire JCB, a social service agency in Cleveland, complaining of a toothache. Later, she returned because she’d received a card about the organizations’s trafficking program from the team that responded to her call. Letting her approach the program on her own terms was key to getting her in the door, says Karen McHenry, director of homeless youth and street outreach programs.

“Some of the kids aren’t ready to come in,” she says. “We get many calls on our homeless youth hotline every day, but it’s whether the teen feels they can really trust us and that we can help get them to a different situation that matters the most."

McHenry says a young...

January 28, 2013

Book cover of Drugs: Shatter the MythsMarijuana is addictive. Adults who are hooked on cigarettes most likely started smoking as teens. Getting drunk or high could lead a teen to have unprotected sex. These are just a few facts about drugs that teens may not know.

National Drug Facts Week, which will be observed this year from January 28 to February 3, is an opportunity for youth workers to share with teens the truth about drugs and their consequences. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, sponsors the weeklong campaign each year to shatter common myths so teens can make informed decisions. Here are some ways you and your youth can participate:

Chat with NIDA scientists....

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