Super hero kid with SOAR logo

A Call For Action

Fayetteville Observer hosted a Child Abuse Prevention Forum on September 28, 2017.  The Panelists included Brenda Jackson, Cumberland’s DSS director; Michael Becketts, assistant secretary at state DHHS; District Attorney Billy West; Rick Glazier, director of N.C. Justice Center; Michelle Hughes, director of NC Child; and police Sgt. Peggy Smith, who investigates crimes against children. Panelists covered a lot of ground in just over an hour. Most notable was the point that child abuse and neglect is not a DSS problem or a Raleigh problem. It belongs to all of us. If you suspect that a child could be in danger but do nothing about it, it’s on you. If you support local or state leaders who don’t consider abuse prevention a priority, with the funding to back it up, it’s on you. If we as a community don’t wage war on domestic violence, opioid addiction, poverty, lack of education, lack of alcohol treatment and lack of mental health services, guess what: It’s on us.

Fayetteville Observer Articles:

Strengthening Families Approach and Protective Factors Framework

In 2013, a group of community members came together to answer the question, “What if we could create a system in Cumberland County that makes a suite of prevention & intervention parent education and family support services available for all children and their families?” The Team is known as SOAR which stands for – Strengths in Overcoming Adversity thru Resiliency.

Cumberland County is a part of a collective movement to ensure that all families and children lead healthy and prosperous lives, and the Strengthening Families Approach and Protective Factors Framework can guide the work to achieve this vision. Strengthening Families supports a common framework across multiple sectors for a national, state, regional, and local response to enhance family supports through an assets-based approach.

Our journey is guided by the wisdom, knowledge and experience of individuals who have helped us lay the groundwork, frame our approach, facilitate our discussions, and inform our recommendations.

Community Child Abuse Prevention Plan

On November 20, 2017, the SOAR Team unveiled the Community Child Abuse Prevention Plan to the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners.

We have a vision – that vision is to make Cumberland County a safe and stable community where children are nurtured and families thrive.

Our mission is to educate, empower, and support families so they are able to provide nurturing homes for their children.

Our Assumptions

  • Child maltreatment is 100% preventable.
  • Child maltreatment is under-reported.
  • Our children and communities are better served by preventing child maltreatment then dealing with the effects of child maltreatment.
  • Prevention of child maltreatment requires a continuum of strategies to make positive change. Child abuse prevention takes individual, organization and community support and a strategic framework of programs.

We choose a course for change that will lead to the mutually reinforcing outcomes of:

  • Optimal Child Development
  • Increased Family Strengths
  • A Responsive Service System
  • A Decrease in Child Abuse and Neglect

Problem Statement
The complex structure of the existing delivery system acts as a barrier to accessing care and support services for parents and children with increasingly complex needs who would benefit most from greater coordination and communication across the spectrum of providers.

Our Goals

  1. Build the capacity of parents and prevention partners to understand, deliver, evaluate and advocate for the prevention of child abuse and neglect.
  2. Cultivate beneficial prevention-focused partnerships to create a shared language, build efficiency and extend reach.

Our Strategy Areas

Our plan is framed around 6 strategy areas.

  • Build a nurturing community bringing coherence, sustainability, and consistently higher performance.
  • Cultivate expanded prevention-focused partnerships to implement a shared vision, engage in shared action, and strengthen networks and partnerships.
  • Focus on protective factors in families so that all children who live here will have the safe, stable, nurturing environments they deserve.
  • Influence community with a continuum of prevention evidence-based or evidence-informed strategies at the societal, community, family and individual levels.
  • Network with prevention partners in all sectors of the community to embrace the role they can play to strengthen families and keep children safe.
  • Act collectively to maximize the effectiveness of prevention efforts to ensure optimal child development, increased family strengths, a responsive service system and a decrease in child abuse and neglect.

Our Community Child Abuse Prevention Plan, which is around Sound Science, Strong Families, and Stronger Services, steers the efforts of prevention partners and will be used as a vehicle for promoting community dialogue, problem-solving and planning at the local level.

SOAR Action Teams

The groundwork has been laid. Now, the hard work begins. The next steps are to put science into Action on the ground through the work of the action teams. There are three key priorities

  • raise the awareness and commitment to the plan
    • Endorsement of Plan showing support of the vision
    • Partner with key stakeholders to unite the vision
  • change norm change
  • use data to inform action
Action TeamFamily Engagement Community TrainingData and Research Team (DART)
Key PrioritiesRaise Awareness Of Resources For ParentsEducate, Engage and Empower Enduring Cadre of ChampionsDemonstrate Impact of Our Work

DART Overview

Objective 1Empower Parents:

Host parent café training institute by June 30, 2018, for approximately three teams of seven, made up of parent leader (1) and local agency staff (2).

SOAR Logo and Tagline

Create a logo and tagline that uniquely identifies the community child abuse prevention plan.

Continuum of Services

Develop a color-coordinated guide highlighting linkages 0f possible referral sources starting with Early Childhood Services.

Objective 2

Empower Parents:

12 parent cafes will run allowing 120 parents to have their own conversations about keeping their families strong through the protective factor by June 30, 2019.

SOAR Website

Create direct web links to SOAR homepage from all partnered agencies and organizations.

Family Needs Assessment:

Identify needs and priorities to accessing resources

Family Needs Assessment

Objective 3 SOAR Endorsement

100 organization and 1,500 individuals endorsed the Community Child Abuse Prevention Plan by November 20, 2018.

YTD: 21 Organizations

YTD: ?? Individuals

Community Child Abuse Prevention

Plan Resolution of Support

SOAR Outcomes

Establish the plan outcomes and metrics that align with/contribute to those of the soar initiative

SOAR DART Framework for Action

Objective 4 Understanding of ACEs

5,000 individuals will view the 1-hour resilience: the biology of stress & the science of hope to increase the understanding of the impact of ACEs by November 20, 2018.

YTD: 450+ Individuals

Community Indicators

Establish community indicators to track whether the community is moving in the right direction.

Community Indicators Review

Objective 5 Empower Practitioners

Empower 200 practitioners from 50 organizations in protective factors training and/or community resiliency model training by November 20, 2018.

YTD: 90 Individuals

YTD: 21 Organizations


Stakeholder Meetings

Child Abuse Prevention Resources