“Child trauma” refers to a scary, dangerous, violent, or life threatening event that happens to a child (0-18 years of age). This type of event may happen directly to a child or the child may be impacted as a result of seeing or hearing about another person being hurt or injured. When these types of experiences happen, children may become very overwhelmed, upset, and/or feel helpless. These types of experiences can happen to anyone at any time and at any age. The National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) study indicates that nearly one third of U.S. youth ages 12-17 have experienced two or more types of childhood traumatic events that are likely to affect their physical and mental health as adults. While not all overwhelming or life threatening experiences are considered traumatic, children interpret their unique experiences differently. A life experience that is traumatic for one child might not be traumatic for another.
Many organizations or treatment facilities offer therapy for children. However, Pasco Kids First Trauma Treatment Program is unique in that our staff only deal with trauma from sexual abuse, human trafficking, physical abuse and domestic/community violence. Our therapists are experts in resolving trauma using the most effective treatment modalities such as Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). We offer an array of individualized services such as Individual Trauma Therapy for children age 3-18, and therapy services to the Non-Offending Parent or caregiver to assist them in understanding the dynamics of child abuse and how to parent children who have experienced trauma. All at no cost to the family.
- Place your baby on his or her back for all sleep times—naps and at night.
- Babies’ anatomy and gag reflex will prevent them from choking while sleeping on their backs. Babies who sleep on their sides or stomachs are at an increased risk of SIDS.
- Place your baby to sleep in a safety-approved crib or bassinette.
- Cribs should have a firm, flat mattress covered only by a fitted sheet. Sleeping on soft surfaces can increase the risk of sleep-related death.
- Keep your baby’s crib or bassinet in the same room where you sleep for the first year of life.
- Sharing a room with your baby is much safer than bed sharing and may decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. Do not smoke in the room where the baby sleeps.
- Keep soft bedding such as blankets, pillows, bumper pads and toys out of your baby’s sleep area.
- Additionally, do not cover your baby’s head or allow your baby to get too hot. Dress your baby in no more than one layer more than you would wear. If you are concerned your baby will get cold, use a wearable blanket.
- Offer a pacifier. Pacifier use has been linked to a decreased risk of SIDS. For breastfed infants, delay pacifier introduction until 1 month of age to ensure breastfeeding is firmly established.
- Tell everyone who takes care of your baby how to keep him or her safe during sleep.
The Guardian ad Litem Program, Sixth Judicial Circuit named Pasco Kids First, as the 2020 Statewide Non Profit of the Year. Every day organizations and people in the community do amazing and inspiring work for Florida’s abused, abandoned and neglected children. Each year the Guardian ad Litem Program is proud to recognize the great work that is done in communities on behalf of these children. “Your leadership provides a beacon in your community for others to follow by contributing to the wellbeing of our fellow citizens. You are helping to ensure that these children have the opportunity to live their best lives and reach their greatest potential,” wrote Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director of the Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem in a letter to Pasco Kids First.
Pasco Kids First has provided services to children and their families in Pasco County for more than 30 years dedicated to the prevention, assessment and treatment of child abuse and neglect. In 2007, the agency expanded their Healthy Families program to Hernando County serving 411 families in both counties last year. The Children’s Advocacy Center in Pasco served 1,186 children through child abuse assessments or trauma therapy services in 2020. “Pasco Kids First continues to maintain an excellent partnership with our Program and their superb dedication to children in the Pasco County Dependency System is par none. The staff of the Guardian ad Litem Program is honored to work with the knowledgeable, professional staff of Pasco Kids First and look forward to the continued partnership” stated Evelien Still, Assistant Director of 6th Judicial Circuit of Pinellas and Pasco Counties.
Pictured from left to right: Dana Selfridge – Program Manager of Healthy Families Program, Jon Wisenbaker – Child Protection Team Coordinator, Rob Wolf – President & CEO, Kelly Plouffe – Trauma Treatment Program Clinical Director and Operations Manager
January’s featured #PKFMISSIONMONDAY Program is Pasco Kids First’s Sexual Assault Victim Examination (SAVE) Program. The SAVE Program is vital to law enforcement for the collection of forensic evidence involving alleged sexual assault of adults. Examinations are generally provided in Land O’ Lakes. More recently, a site location was developed in Saint Leo through partnership with Saint Leo University to assist survivors living in the east side of the county. Pasco Kids First employs contracted APRN’s who provide this service to survivors at any time as needed.
At the time of exam, survivors are offered Victim Advocacy services through either Sunrise of Pasco County’s Sexual Assault Program or the Pasco Sheriff’s Office Victim’s Advocacy Unit. A survivor may also be evaluated without reporting to law enforcement case for medications and general well-being which is called a non-reporting exam.
December’s featured #PKFMISSIONMONDAY program is the Trauma Treatment Program of Pasco Kids First Children’s Advocacy Center which is dedicated to providing children who have experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse, witnessed domestic or community violence with quality trauma therapy at no cost to the family. Pasco Kids First therapy program began in the early 2000’s with one therapist providing services for sexually and physically abused children. In 2007 treatment services grew and became one of 14 Department of Health designated Sexual Abuse Treatment Program in Florida. The program expanded again in 2014 to become the Trauma Treatment Program encompassing more than just expert sexual abuse treatment services but included physical abuse treatment, trauma assessment and therapy services for victims of community violence, traumatic grief, domestic violence, kidnapping to name a few. The staff of the Trauma Treatment Program are highly skilled and trained in the most effective treatment modalities for trauma.
This month we are spotlighting donor Caitlin Katz who is a local mom, social worker and community advocate. Caitlin is interviewed by Kelly Plouffe, Clinical and Operations Director, to talk about her passion for Pasco Kids First and how she plans to surpass 2019’s gift drive for 50 needy children in Pasco County. Caitlin and her nearly 30 “elves” plan to ensure that over 75 community children who are engaged with Pasco Kids First Trauma Treatment Program have a Christmas to remember.
November’s Featured #PKFMISSIONMONDAY Program is Pasco Kid’s First’s newest program – The Healthy Families Nurse Intervention Program. Last year, there were 1,638 verified counts of “Substance Exposed Newborn” from investigations statewide. The epidemic of substance misuse is an undeniable issue and has been especially devastating to pregnant women and their children. Most pregnant women using illicit drugs, taking prescribed opioids, or receiving opioid replacement therapy deliver an infant having signs of withdrawal, and many of these infants will develop neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and require pharmacological management.
NAS infants are more likely to be diagnosed with prematurity, low birth weight, respiratory complications, seizures, and feeding difficulty.
Beyond the neonatal period, these children have increased incidence of behavioral, learning and visual problems frequently associated with psychosocial difficulties, thus increasing the risk for child abuse and foster placement.
Prenatal exposure to illegal substances and doctor-prescribed medication has the potential to cause a wide spectrum of physical, emotional, and developmental problems for infants.
Early intervention to support families in developing positive relationships with their infants and toddlers can promote good parenting practices. Furthermore, early detection and appropriate developmental and behavioral services and supports are critical to significantly improve development and overall well-being of the children. Healthy Families Florida has a long-standing mission of preventing abuse, promoting healthy child development and empowering families to be self-sufficient through individualized parent coaching and support.
The Healthy Families Nurse Intervention Program links families to a Registered Nurse Home Visitor who will:
- Create and modify a Plan of Safe Care (POSC)
- Identify and address medical needs including NAS
- Identify and address any needs of individuals living in the same home as the substance-affected infant
- Identifies and assists families in accessing needed resources and services, including medical providers
- Provides follow-up to identified concerns and monitors family progress on the POSC
- Administers developmental assessment tools at established intervals, when needed or requested, including Ages and Stages Questionnaires, social-emotional screening and depression screenings.
- Empowers families to complete their goals and become self-sufficient
This program is making a difference. Child abuse doesn’t stop during COVID-19. When you support Pasco Kids First, you are making a difference in a child’s life who is struggling from birth. It takes all of us to fight this epidemic. Your donation today will help a child tomorrow.
Pasco Kids First has been serving victims of child abuse and neglect and families since 1990. Thank you to the following Pasco Kids First 30th Anniversary Sponsors!
Child Advocate Sponsor
AdventHealth North Pinellas
AdventHealth Wesley Chapel
Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine
Bill and Patricia Ball
Honorable Declan Mansfield
Rao Musunuru, M.D.
The Pediatric Specialists Medical Group
Smiles by Graff Orthodontics
Sunrise Consulting Group
Some sponsorship levels have the opportunity to have their business logo or name filled with educational/promotional items on 1,000 resource bags. These bags will be distributed to families in our community with the help of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. Sponsors will also receive a discount on their 13th Annual Pasco Kids First Family Fun Day sponsorship on November 6, 2021.
Sponsorship Letter and levels by mail: 2020 FFD_30 Years Letter
For your convenience sponsorships and donations can be made online using the form below.
Pasco Kids First’s October featured #PKFMISSIONMOMENT Program is the Oral Health Navigation program.
Smile for life! Can be as easy as 1, 2 & 3.
- Floss 1 time a day.
- Brush 2 times a day to prevent cavities.
- Visit your dentist to prevent these 3 diseases; diabetes, health disease and oral cancer
When families neglect dental care, they put themselves and others at-risk which results in dental related absences contributing to over 164 million hours of lost work each year. The most common infectious disease in children is tooth decay. The US Surgeon General report stated that over 51 million school hours are estimated to be missed by children each year due to dental pain.
Our Oral Health Navigation Program funded through Florida Blue Foundation is essential. Through our program 252 families have received an oral health education visit. They were provided dental resources and were linked to a dental provider. 193 family members completed an initial dental visit. As a result, our Oral Health Program reached 969 family members through navigation of the dental system and addressing barriers to receiving treatment. This program is making a difference!
The Oral Health Navigation Program assists families with removing barriers, such as transportation and financial, and connects them with dental services. Each family receives a dental kit so that each family member can have their own toothbrush and dental supplies. The program teaches family members how-to-care for their teeth, by establishing a routine. We increase awareness to new parents, teaching how to care for their baby’s gums to prevent early cavities and by providing a wash cloth and their first toothbrush to care for their baby’s gums and incoming teeth.
When you support of Pasco Kids First, you can make a difference in a child’s life who is facing difficult times and needs additional support with dental care.
Make a donation today so we can help a child tomorrow. Help us make Pasco Kids First!
For more information about this program, contact Pasco Kids First Oral Health Navigator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 727-597-2508.