Press Releases & Op-Eds

Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey Board of Directors Announces Retirement of Executive Director, Rush L. Russell

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – February 1, 2021 – With deep gratitude for his leadership and vision, the Board of Directors of Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey (PCA-NJ) announced that the nonprofit organization’s Executive Director, Rush L. Russell, will retire on April 2, 2021.  Mr. Russell’s decision to retire will bring to a close a remarkable 12 years of service to PCA-NJ.

Board President Robert Rotondi stated, “Children and families from New Jersey and throughout the country have benefited from Rush’s expertise, leadership and determination to support effective strategies to prevent all forms of child maltreatment.  The PCA-NJ Board, staff and our many partners feel privileged to have worked with Rush and are enormously grateful to him for his myriad contributions.”  The Board also recognized Rush for his successful efforts to build a stronger financial foundation that will sustain the agency’s mission into the future. 

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Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey Announces Two New Board Members

Date:     February 27, 2020 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    

Contact Name:  Pamela Stalcup
E-mail:  [email protected]
Phone Number:  732-246-8060 x123

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – February 25, 2020 – Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey (PCA-NJ) welcomed two new members to its Board of Directors:  Jodi Hutchison-Sanford and Anupa Wijaya.  “Both of our newest Board members embody the spirit of community and bring talent, expertise and energy. We are very fortunate to have them by our side as we continue our work to build a brighter future for all New Jersey children,” stated Rush L. Russell, Executive Director.

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New CDC Report Shows Preventing Early Childhood Trauma Can Lead to Dramatic Improvements in Long-term Health and Life Outcomes

by Rush L. Russell, Executive Director, Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey

103 Church Street, Suite 210, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a major new report, Vital Signs, focused on prevention of early childhood adverse experiences (ACEs).  Vital Signs is a monthly report from the CDC about a major health issue in the U.S. and what can be done about it.

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Senator, Commissioners Joined Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey at the House New Jersey State House to Discuss the CDC Report on Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences

November 15, 2019 
For immediate release                                                 

For more information, contact:
Pamela Stalcup, PCA-NJ & ChildWIN
Office: 732-246-8060 x123
Cell: 732-484-9977
E-mail: [email protected]S

TRENTON, NJ, November 15, 2019: At the New Jersey State House, Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey (PCA-NJ) Executive Director Rush Russell provided an overview of what he deemed “one of the most powerful public health reports of the last 50 years” — the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Vital Signs November 2019 report: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – Preventing Early Trauma to Improve Adult Health.  The new report found that preventing ACES could reduce the incidence of depression by 44% and reduce cases of other major chronic health condition, such as heart disease, by more than 10%.  Russell stated, “These findings are astounding – where else can you find, in one place, solutions to complex social and health challenges in the U.S.?”

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Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey Announces Four New Board Members

Date:     August 29, 2019                                                                
Contact Name:  Pamela Stalcup
E-mail:  [email protected]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                             
Phone Number:  732-246-8060 x123

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – August 29, 2019 – Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey announced the election of four new members to its Board of Directors:  Dr. Joseph E. Colford, Michael Giacobello, William Guthrie and Michael Tatro.  “All four of our newest Board members bring exceptional leadership skills and experience in nonprofit management and governance that can further strengthen our efforts to ensure a great childhood for all children in New Jersey,” stated Robert D. Rotondi, President of the PCA-NJ Board of Directors. 

Joseph E. Colford PhD of Middletown is a Psychologist and retired from his role as Full Professor at Georgian Court University.

Michael Giacobello of Bridgewater is Vice President/Advisory Board Relationship Manager at Investors Bank.

William Guthrie of Maplewood serves as Senior Vice-President and Regional Manager of Investment and Fiduciary Services at Wells Fargo.

Michael Tatro of Manasquan is Executive Director, Equity Trading at JPMorgan. 

For more information about Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey, please visit www.preventchildabusenj.org or call 732-246-8060 x123.

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Founded in 1979, Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey promotes Great Childhoods, positive parenting and healthy child development.  PCA-NJ’s evidence-based programs in all 21 NJ counties are designed to prevent child abuse and neglect in all forms for all NJ children.  PCA-NJ is the New Jersey State Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, a network of chapters throughout the United States.

www.preventchildabusenj.org  

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Child Wellness Institute of New Jersey (ChildWIN) Tackles Trauma and Builds Resilience for NJ’s Children

Date:     June 20, 2019                                         Contact Name: Pamela Stalcup
E-mail:  [email protected]
Phone Number:  732-246-8060 x123

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                      

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – June 20, 2019- Parents in one Somerset County childcare center are calling it “one of the most helpful programs out there to help me better understand and connect with my child”.  The teachers are saying the project has transformed the classrooms and center into a space where staff feel more confident in handling children’s emotions and behaviors in a positive, teachable way.  And the children themselves love the results.

These changes are the result of a new, research based 6-month intensive program offered by The Child Wellness Institute of New Jersey in partnership with The Kiddie Academy of Bridgewater, funded by the James B. Boskey Memorial Foundation. The program — Trauma Transformation:  Healing Hearts and Building Resilience — works with childcare centers, school districts and before/after school programs to transform them into calm, nurturing social emotional environments.  It involves an assessment of the childcare center operations, intensive staff training and coaching, the creation of “safe spaces” such as a “Cozy Corner for Kids”, tools for children such as Calm Down Kits and Feelings Thermometers and a parent workshop. It also includes a component on trauma and its effect on a child’s brain, body and behaviors so that staff and parents are equipped to work with children who may have experienced trauma in their early years.

Parents like Heather Danberry feel programs like this really help use common language at school and home to support her son, Travis. “My son, Travis, began attending Kiddie Academy in September 2018 when he was 2 years old.  Our family had experienced a great deal of change, which had a significant impact on him.  In addition to these changes, Travis has a severe speech delay, inhibiting his ability to express himself verbally.  The combination of everything led to undesirable behaviors.  With open communication, understanding and his teachers’ training through the Trauma Transformation Initiative, Travis has flourished.  HIs teachers now have a better understanding of how to address his emotions and how to help him better understand them.  The calm down kits, specifically allowing him to blow bubbles or look at the feelings chart have been very helpful.  He loves bubbles and the act of making them allows him to control his breathing which helps calm him down.  The feelings chart is an easy way for him to let his teachers know how he is feeling when he isn’t able to verbally express himself.  I am very happy with the positive changes that have occurred and am thankful for the training the teachers received.” 

The teachers really responded to the training because it had a positive effect on their classrooms and on the children.  “The children in my class solve problems between one another by telling each other how they’re feeling. They go to the feeling chart and point to the level that they are feeling when they have a disagreement between each other or when they’re happy. This has helped them solved problems between one another themselves,” stated Erin K, teacher Kiddie Academy of Bridgewater.

But teachers and parents are not the only ones noticing the positive difference. The children ages 0-5 are learning to identify emotions, calm down in a safe and healthy way and build their own internal resilience; skills they will need long after their child care years.  One 4 year old child told us, “thank you for letting me use the Calm Down Kit. It really helped me take my mind off why I was upset. I love the kaleidoscope!”

The project’s evaluation found that teachers improved understanding of children’s behaviors, increased their use of effective social emotional strategies in the classroom and a reduction in challenging classroom behaviors. The results also show parents learned new ways to connect with their child and more effectively handle challenging behaviors.

The Kiddie Academy of Bridgewater was one of the first centers to offer this class to its parents with astounding results. “Our parents are asking us when we are offering it again! This has been such a valuable addition to our curriculum. A true way to help parents navigate and better understand their child’s temperament, feelings and behaviors. Plus, each parent leaves with practical tools to help their child at home!”, said Christina Andersen, Executive Director of Kiddie Academy of Bridgewater.

“We have really used the training by ChildWIN to connect with each and every child in a positive way. When they walk in we help them identify their feelings and we stay connected to each child. They feel safe, happy and empowered!”

The Child Wellness Insitute is a subsidiary of Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey and offers state-of-the-art trainings and parent workshops to any organization that works with children and families. The goal is to support parents and professionals with developing their children’s social-emotional health; which ultimately, helps children grow into the healthy adults.

Executive Director Rush Russell stated, “Results like these demonstrate how programs starting in early childhood can help children build resilience and support their health and development.”

ChildWIN is a non-profit organization available to every county in New Jersey. For more information on bringing ChildWIN to your organization or become a donor for the Child Wellness Institute of NJ, please call 732-246-8060 or email [email protected]  For more information about Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey, please visit www.preventchildabusenj.org or call 732-246-8060 x123.

Making an Impact at Kiddie Academy, Bridgewater, NJ

Erin K. standing near her Cozy Corner that helps children identify their feelings and take a moment to calm down with a Calm Down Kit and Feelings Thermometer.

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Founded in 1979, Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey promotes Great Childhoods, positive parenting and healthy child development.  PCA-NJ’s evidence-based programs in all 21 NJ counties are designed to prevent child abuse and neglect in all forms for all NJ children.  PCA-NJ is the New Jersey State Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, a network of chapters throughout the United States.

www.preventchildabusenj.org  

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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month – You Can Help!

By Rush L. Russell, Executive Director, Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Some people turn away from the topic of “child abuse”, believing it’s something that only happens somewhere else and is the fault of “bad” parents. And many others recognize the extent and harm caused by child abuse, but don’t truly believe we can do anything to prevent it.

On all counts, the facts suggest otherwise:

  • One major common denominator found in most cases of child abuse is overwhelming stress that can come with being a parent. Like it or not, it just comes with the job. For parents out there – raise your hand — how many of you have found raising your kids to be stressful–sometimes causing extreme frustration, anger and creating problems for your marriage, other children, or other family members?  Parenting is magical but also stressful and parents need support, education and patience to navigate the inevitable challenges they will face.
  • Factors that can increase parents’ stress include a child’s health or mental health issues, alcohol or substance abuse problems, or just a lack of knowledge about how to deal with a child’s challenging behaviors.  https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/child-maltreatment  These issues exist in every community in New Jersey, small and large, across all 21 counties of our state.

https://www.nj.gov/dcf/childdata/protection/2014_AnnualAbuseNeglectReport.pdf Continue reading

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A Call to End Use of Spanking to Discipline Children

an Op-ed by Rush Russell, Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey

During the past week, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued an updated policy statement calling on parents to end spanking as a form of discipline. The Academy is an organization of 67,000 pediatricians nationwide committed to the optimal physical, mental and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

Although studies are finding that fewer parents are using spanking to discipline their child, a Harris poll in 2013 found that 70% of parents supported a statement that “a good hard spanking is sometimes necessary to discipline a child.”

While many parents believe spanking is a harmless or even effective form of discipline, the research is becoming overwhelmingly clear that spanking is not only ineffective, but that it increases the child’s risk for an array of alarming and destructive outcomes…ones any parent hopes to avoid in raising their children.  Parents will also say they were spanked … and “turned out all right”.  But again the research paints a different picture.

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Robert D. Rotondi Elected President of PCA-NJ Board of Directors

Wall Township Resident Robert D. Rotondi elected President of the Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey Board of Directors.

The Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey Board of Directors elected Robert D. Rotondi as President. Rotondi, of Wall Township, is Head of Business Management and Transformation in Global Liquidity and Cash Management for HSBC Bank USA, N.A. He has been a member of the PCA-NJ Board of Directors since 2012, having most recently served as Vice President. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Rutgers University.

“PCA-NJ is extremely fortunate to have in its new Board President such an experienced and passionate leader,” said Rush L. Russell, Executive Director. “Rob has been a tremendously active board member. Over the past six years, he has participated on our Executive, Membership and Program Committees. I look forward to continuing to work with Rob to strengthen families and build brighter futures for all New Jersey children.”

Rotondi succeeds Catherine P. Wells, Esq., Member of the Firm at Chiesa, Shahinian & Giantomasi, as Board President. Wells had served four years as President and will continue to serve on the Board. “I can’t say enough wonderful things about Catherine’s leadership these past four years,” Russell stated. She has been a great pleasure to work with and has been an inspiration to her fellow board members, to me, and our entire team.”

For more information about Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey, please visit www.preventchildabusenj.org or call 732-46-8060 x123.

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Gov. Murphy Signs Bill to Protect N.J Kids in Schools

Bill will close hiring loophole, keeping sexual abusers out of schools

 

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – April 12, 2018 – Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill into law which will better protect students in New Jersey schools from sexual abuse.

Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey (PCA-NJ) and the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA), led the advocacy efforts for S414/A3381, which prohibits a school district, charter school, or contracted service provider holding a contract with a school district or charter school from employing a person serving in a position which involves regular contact with students unless the employer conducts a review of the employment history of the applicant by contacting former and current employers and requesting information regarding child abuse and sexual misconduct allegations.

Rush Russell, Executive Director of PCA-NJ stated, “New Jersey has taken a giant step forward to better protect students from sexual abuse which may be committed by school employees.  This important bill stops the secrecy that protected offenders from hiding behind nondisclosure agreements and moving on to other jobs in other schools….and abusing more children”.

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