Listen To Your Mother Rochester is so pleased to be raising money for The Society for the Protection and Care of Children. Located right here in Rochester, New York, SPCC is the nation’s oldest non-profit agency focused on addressing child abuse. SPCC was founded in 1875, when animal abuse laws existed, but child abuse laws did not. The children that SPCC works with are impacted by unimaginable trauma, violence, poverty and loss.
We have great hope that our LTYM Rochester community will take note of SPCC’s work, and go above and beyond in supporting them- just as they do with the 7,000 children and families they serve every year.
What is SPCC’s Mission?
SPCC’s mission is to respectfully partner with children and their families as we advocate for their health, safety and protection, work to heal and strengthen relationships, and seek to empower parents to support their children.
What services or events support our community or people in the greater Rochester area? Why are these vital?
SPCC reaches thousands of children and families each year through a number of programs that provide therapy, case management, parenting education and support, safe parent-child visitation, and basic needs. By helping these children and their families, SPCC is making a difference throughout New York State in strengthening families and improving their ability to contribute to our communities in positive ways for generations to come. Programs include: the Teen-Age Parent Support Services (TAPSS) Program, the Family Trauma Intervention Program (FTIP), the Supervised Visitation Program (SVP), the Therapeutic Visitation Program (TVP), the Women, Infants & Children Program (WIC) and the WIC Vendor Management Agency (VMA).
Can you tell us about a success story that stands out to you?
Of course! Every one of our programs serves children of all different ages who make tremendous gains, but this past year we witnessed a teenager in our Family Trauma Intervention Program rise above what most would consider impossible circumstances. She serves as an inspiration to us all.
Lauren came to our program as a 17 year-old girl without parents. With little knowledge of who her father was and a mother who struggled with drug addiction prior to passing away, Lauren had lived short periods of time with various people including a stepfather who also struggled with drug addiction, and several random “family friends” – all places where she was not kept safe and was victimized in every way imaginable. Early trauma for Lauren began at the age of 3 when she was severely burned all over her body as a result of neglect and lack of supervision. During elementary school, the trauma only worsened as she experienced years of being sex trafficked by relatives before eventually being removed by Child Protective Services. Her next two “homes” involved episodes of rape and the eventual prosecution of a family friend as a result. At the age of 15, Lauren was placed with an older half-sister. Shortly after, the sexual abuse started again at the hands of the sister’s older boyfriend who was twice her age. Lauren began acting out at school and was placed at a special high school for children with abuse histories and behavioral challenges.
It was at this time that Lauren’s current “family” was referred to SPCC’s Family Trauma Intervention Program in an effort to address the ongoing domestic violence within her sister’s home, as well as Lauren’s behaviors at school. Through weekly family and individual counseling for Lauren, it became evident that there was something going on that was not being talked about. With the support of her SPCC therapist, Lauren found the courage to meet with authorities and report the abuse that had been going on for years. Over the next months, SPCC was able to help Lauren find a safe place to live independently, obtain an Order of Protection, and follow through with the criminal justice system, while also providing emotional support to Lauren throughout the process.
Despite all that she was going through, including mental health crisis’s that resulted in brief hospitalizations, Lauren continued to attend high school, attained honor roll and sang a lead solo in her community singers group. She also began regularly attending therapy and making changes in how she viewed herself and how she believed others should treat her. A year later, Lauren is now in community college and still on honor roll. She has chosen to pursue a career in medicine and is hoping to eventually care for pediatric burn victims. In addition to pursuing her education she continues to make time to give back to the community. As a burn survivor, she actively volunteers for a local burn camp for children, in order to support other children who are struggling with similar experiences. When asked what she is most excited about right now, Lauren shares that for the first time in her life she has a stable relationship with someone, her age, who treats her with respect and kindness. The healing process for Lauren continues and her perseverance in life is inspirational to us all. It is children like Lauren that remind the staff of SPCC that our work is important and is making a profound difference.
What else would you want the public to know about your organization and why it’s important to the Rochester community?
Children like Lauren can be found all throughout our community and are often suffering in silence, without a voice. SPCC helps these children overcome the trauma they have experienced, improve parent-child relationships and strengthen the family. The staff of SPCC are passionate in their care for children and families. With your support, SPCC is able to help the children who might otherwise go unnoticed and unserved in our community.
As an agency, we believe deeply that all people are doing the best they can in the moment and that parents want to be the best parents they can be but sometimes tremendous barriers get in the way of their ability to parent or to reach their potential such as unthinkable traumas, poverty, and a lack of reliable supports. SPCC’s programs are designed to help children and families overcome these challenges so they can realize their potential, develop hope for their future, achieve their goals, and in turn support their children to do the same.