Press Releases & Op-Eds

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.  These issues exist in every community in New Jersey, small and large, across all 21 counties of our state. Continue reading


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 or call 732-46-8060 x123.


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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An Epidemic of Sexual Harrassment: Our Role to Protect Children

Stories about sexual abuse and harassment are making headlines nearly every day.  Due to recent media reports regarding allegations against Hollywood celebrities, elected officials and thousands of women telling their own stories through the hashtag #MeToo, there has been a lot of conversation about this problem online, in the paper, and in our workplaces.

On Sunday, April 12, Olympic Gold Medalist Aly Raisman added to that conversation when she shared her own story on 60 Minutes. In speaking out against the sexual abuse she experienced as a child at the hands of former U.S. Olympic team doctor Dr. Larry Nassar, Aly highlighted the importance of sexual abuse prevention programs and the need to teach young children about personal body safety. Continue reading


Opinion: Critical Program for Families with Young Children at Risk of Being Cut

In the past decade, New Jersey has made tremendous progress in expanding universal, full-year kindergarten programs for children ages four and five. These programs build on the growing body of research demonstrating that education needs to start early to enhance school achievement, and that preschool programs provide a structured learning environment that helps both families and children during these crucial early years.

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Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey Named New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs Special State Project

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – May 25, 2016 – The New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs (NJSFWC) recently announced its selection of Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey (PCA-NJ) as its Special State Project for 2016-18 at its annual convention in Atlantic City.  NJSFWC is the largest volunteer women’s service organization in New Jersey with nearly 7,000 members statewide. The entire Federation votes to designate a specific charitable organization as the beneficiary of its advocacy, volunteer and fundraising efforts every two years.  Continue reading


Stressed Brains Can’t Learn: Paper Tigers, a Documentary Film by James Redford on Trauma-Informed Education, to Screen at the Middlesex County Fire Academy

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – March 31, 2016 – In observance of national Child Abuse Prevention month, Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey is hosting a screening of Paper Tigers:  a film that captures the pain, danger, beauty and hopes of struggling teens—and the teachers armed with new science and fresh approaches that are changing lives for the better.  Paper Tigers follows a year in the life of an alternative high school in Walla Walla, WA that has radically changed its approach to disciplining its students, and in the process has become a promising model for how to break the cycles of poverty, violence and disease that affect families.  Continue reading


National Child Abuse Prevention Month Observed at the Iconic Rutgers College Avenue Gym with State and Community Leaders Planting New Jersey’s BIG PINWHEEL GARDEN

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – March 28, 2016 – Dozens of community leaders, children’s advocates and university students will join Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey (PCA-NJ) on Friday, April 1, 11 a.m. at the Rutgers College Avenue Gym (130 College Avenue, New Brunswick) to call the citizens and State to act in support of ensuring Great Childhoods for all children.  Continue reading

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