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Neighbors of Kane County

Changing Children's Worlds Foundation Earns National Award on Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention

May 06, 2019 12:40PM ● By Hannah Ott
Geneva - At an epidemic scale, 2.9 million cases of child abuse are reported every year in the United States, not including abuse cases that go unreported. In response, The National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect (EndCAN) hosted its inaugural National Summit, March 13-14, in Denver. 
National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect award recipients (pictured left to right) Elba Jung Karim of Roots and Wings Counseling Consultants, Heather Risser of Northwestern University and Kimberly Svevo-Cianci of Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation. 

Award-winning researchers presented innovative and promising approaches to address national rising rates of child abuse and neglect. Kimberly Svevo-Cianci, Ph.D., Founder of Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation and Elba Jung Karim LCPC, CCTP of Roots and Wings Counseling Consultants, along with Heather Risser, Ph.D., Northwestern University, were awarded First Place for their Prevention Paper, which will be published later this year.

The paper, entitled “Achieving Comprehensive Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect,” identifies three challenges to effectively prevent child abuse and neglect in our nation:
1) Making prevention resources accessible and effective locally for all families, including at the very first signs that parents need help
2) Shifting society’s response from shaming to ensuring support and assistance parents and children need
3) Clarifying the role and opportunity each of us has to prevent child abuse and neglect - through empathy, knowledge and proactive community. Since the lack of positive, protective relationships are often passed from one to the next generation, children experience greater difficulty in creating family and social relationships, which increases their risk of experiencing adverse experiences and outcomes.

Svevo-Cianci explains “This award reaffirms the purpose and work of the Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation and our ‘Best Start for Families-A Health Equity Approach.’  We serve parents/caregivers and children through our empathy-based, intergenerational “Best Start” Parenting Learning Groups and parallel Children’s Programs. In partnership with schools; child care centers; mental health, social service and community agencies; and DCFS, we provide the access to help that many families need. By training professionals on our trauma-informed ‘Best Start’ curriculum and approach, we increase community capacity to model positive relationships that parents extend to their children. Healthy children will mature into healthy, caring adults.”

Important to note - the ‘Best Start for Families’ is offered to all, in the most strengths-& empathy-based, trauma-informed way, changing the stigma of accessing services to a positive status of parents who want the best for their children.  
Karim, a trauma professional, working with children and families, adds: “We simply must do better to address child abuse and neglect. The fact that at least a quarter of our population is affected by trauma means that we all are. The earlier we can intervene with individuals, families and society at large, the greater the impact on them and the next generations. Preventing child abuse and neglect, not just to possible victims, but to possible perpetrators would effectively reduce the number of people harmed overall. As a trauma clinician, I believe that healthy attachment helps to protect our society from childhood abuse and neglect on every level.”
“The Best Start for Families: A Health Equity Approach,” an evidence-based International Child / Parenting Development Program, strengthens communities and reduces violence. To learn more about their mission, visit

More About the Changing Children's Worlds Foundation: From 2010-2019, CCWF has provided “The Best Start for Families-A Health Equity Approach” programs and services, at no cost to 95% of the parents & children. The foundation has helped 1,415 Parents/Caregivers participate in Parenting Learning Group Series and has certified 855 of those parents/caregivers. Over 100 more parents/caregivers have attended Best Start Cafes and Workshops, impacting 2,781 children through the Children’s Program & Parents/Caregivers. The foundation has 383 Professionals Trained in Best Start and 45 Students Trained. 
Over 3,500 children have benefited from “The Best Start” directly in CCWF programs, through participating parents, as well as through trained professionals working with them in schools; mental health, social service or child advocacy centers, or other community/faith-based institutions.

Source: 630-417-4567