Educating counselors to support kids
MDT Highlight – Leandro De Oliveira
November 17, 2020
The impact and support children and families receive at Children’s Cove is only possible by our partnership and collaboration with committed members of what we call the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT). They are the professionals who often work behind the scenes, and rarely get the attention or credit they deserve. Most of the time they don’t want it, choosing to work silently and diligently protecting and serving our children.
Leandro De Oliveira
Cape Cod Healthcare
Leandro De Oliveira is a Barnstable High School graduate, who moved to Cape Cod in 2001. Leo, as he is called, grew up in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. After years of working in retail, he decided to further his studies in the medical field. Leo initially started as an EMT before becoming a paramedic and earning his medical interpreting certificate for Portuguese/English. This allowed him to help people and make a difference in the Brazilian community on Cape Cod, where these interpreting services are in high demand.
I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can make the children and families feel safe,” Leo said. “I know they are being heard, and that their story is not getting lost in translation. It is as if they were telling the story themselves in a language that they haven’t had the opportunity to master yet.”
For four years, Leo has worked as an interpreter, helping providers and patients communicate better through the spoken and written word. These services are critical to narrowing the gap in cultural beliefs between different countries and communities. Providing interpreting services in cases involving crimes against children, like those seen at Children’s Cove, is especially crucial.
Leo’s experience of living in the United States and Brazil, his kindness and empathy, and his calming presence has provided a unique support to the families we serve from the Brazilian community. At Children’s Cove, he has demonstrated incredible understanding, compassion and hope for every child and non-offending family member.
Leo is grateful for the opportunities he has had in the United States. “It is a country that gives everyone a chance to better themselves, a chance to become something you may have never dreamed of becoming,” Leo said. He is honored to work with Children’s Cove, and we are incredibly thankful for his warmth, kindness and contributions to the families we serve.
Leandro de Oliveira
Especialista em Comunicação
Cape Cod Healthcare
Leandro De Oliveira se mudou de Belo Horizonte (MG) Brasil para o Cape Cod no ano de 2001. Ele se formou na Barnstable High School e trabalhou muitos anos na área de vendas. Leandro ficou mais conhecido como “Leo”, já que muitos não conseguiam falar seu nome por não ser comum na América do Norte. Leo é grato pelas oportunidades que teve nos Estados Unidos: “É um país que proporciona a todos a chance de melhorar, de se tornar algo que você nunca sonhou em ser”, diz Leo. À procura de uma carreira que ajudaria as pessoas, ele decidiu continuar seus estudos na área da saúde. Leo começou como técnico médico de emergência antes de se tornar um paramédico e logo após, se formou como intérprete médico, permitindo que ele ajudasse as pessoas e fizesse a diferença na Comunidade Brasileira do Cape Cod, onde esses serviços de interpretação são muito procurados.
Tenho uma sensação de realização quando posso fazer as crianças e familiares se sentirem seguras.” “Saber que eles estão sendo ouvidos e que seus testemunhos não irão se perder na interpretação.”
“É como se eles mesmos estivessem contando sua história em uma linguagem que ainda não tiveram a oportunidade de dominar.” diz Leo.
Leo trabalha como intérprete há quatro anos ajudando profissionais da área da saúde e pacientes a se comunicarem melhor tanto na escrita, quanto na fala. É especialmente crucial utilizar serviços de interpretação em casos que envolvem crimes contra crianças, como os vistos no Children’s Cove. Esses serviços são essenciais para permitir um melhor entendimento das crenças culturais entre diferentes países e comunidades.
O fato de Leo viver nos Estados Unidos e ter morado no Brasil, junto à sua gentileza, empatia e postura tranquila, faz com que ele possa proporcionar um imenso suporte para as famílias da Comunidade Brasileira no Cape Cod. Leo demonstra uma incrível compreensão, compaixão e esperança para todas as crianças e membros de suas famílias no Children’s Cove.
Ele se sente honrado em trabalhar com a Children’s Cove e nós somos extremamente gratos por sua compaixão, gentileza e contribuição para as famílias em que servimos.
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Missions can be dark, but visions are filled with light.
November 17, 2020
There is so much happening in the world right now, and many are left feeling overwhelmed. Consequently, we have retreated inwards and become smaller, but our exposures to world content have magnified. “Doomscrolling” describes the invasion of negativity in our lives from social media flooded with the interminable loop of pessimism.
So why are we talking about it? Well, because the important messages of our work at Children’s Cove are being lost.
Speaking about crimes against children is not glamorous, and our mission is far from the inspirational messaging we need and crave now. However, it’s a part of what defines us, our passion, and our dedication to our community and children, even during turbulent times. Children’s Cove provides compassionate, comprehensive, and collaborative response services, at no cost to survivors of child abuse, through evidence-based programs, a network of community partnerships, educational outreach, and awareness efforts. Our multidisciplinary team collaborates to empower survivors, promote healthy outcomes, and to help mitigate the stigma of child abuse. Through that process and gritty work, we provide hope and healing for child survivors of trauma and abuse.
Our work can be overwhelming, and the issues are daunting. But, in all this darkness, there is light: we are providing hope and healing for children. As the word “pandemic” has been ubiquitous this year, we might consider that child sexual abuse has been a pandemic we have faced for generations. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused in some way before his or her 18th birthday. The youngest children in our nation are at the most risk for abuse, neglect and trauma. In 2018, nearly 700,000 children were victims of abuse or neglect. Unlike other illnesses, childhood trauma impacts individuals across a lifetime.
…most people largely don’t talk about it, even when nearly 60 percent of Americans have lived it.”
But there is hope. We all can make a significant impact on stopping abuse in our lifetimes! The perceived shame and taboo, alongside the lack of attention to these important issues contributes to the fact that only 10 percent of victims disclose their abuse. If we change the narrative of talking about childhood abuse and trauma to a conversation of safety and resiliency, we can make a difference. If we create national public safety and awareness messages about sexual abuse and trauma being unacceptable behavior, we can make a difference. If we urge public drive and engagement on the level of other issues in our nation, we can create significant changes today.
Don’t Doomscroll past our mission; share our vision. You, too, can help us create a community where children are free of abuse, have a voice that is heard, and where they enjoy healthy, safe, and empowered lives. We thank you.
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When “remote” isn’t safe for children
October 19, 2020
Even before COVID-19 turned our lives upside down, many, if not most, of us were suffering from TMI – Too Much Information. 24/7 cable news networks, social media, emails, YouTube, and yes even this newsletter – it’s impossible to process it all. And now, in a society compelled to connect online much more frequently, TMI has only been exacerbated.
Yet, there is still vital information worth our focus.
Here’s one: children and teens are online more than ever, especially with in-school-instruction being severely curtailed and the rise of remote-learning. Research has shown that 1 in 5 children will experience unwanted sexual content/solicitation online. Even prior to the pandemic, The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force reported these numbers were on the rise. Immediately after restrictions and shelter-in-place advisories were declared in March, the FBI issued a national warning that children being pushed towards remote learning and more unrestricted time on the internet carried the potential for more online enticement and exploitation.
Wait. Let’s take a step back. What is online enticement/exploitation?
Here is how the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) defines it:
Online Enticement involves an individual communicating with someone believed to be a child via the internet with the intent to commit a sexual offense or abduction. This is a broad category of online exploitation and includes sextortion, in which a child is being groomed to take sexually explicit images and/or ultimately meet face-to-face with someone for sexual purposes, or to engage in a sexual conversation online or, in some instances, to sell/trade the child’s sexual images.”
Consider this: with the national shut-down, not only did it lead our youth to spending more time online, online predators now have more hidden and direct access to our children.
Locally, we have seen a surge in reports for sexual exploitation cases on the Cape & Islands, some of which leads to the commercial sexual exploitation of children, what we in child advocacy profession refer to as CSEC. Since July 1st we have received more than half the number of our total referrals from the previous year. If this trend continues, we could see up to a 120% increase in sexual exploitation referrals, a trend being seen elsewhere across the country.
The good news: parents and caregivers can make a huge difference in reducing these numbers. How? First: get involved! It may seem uncomfortable and overwhelming at first but what’s happening in your child’s online world is important. There are courses parents and caregivers can enroll in offered by the organization National Online Safety that can assist you in understanding what you need to know.
Second, talk regularly with your children about body safety and how that extends into their online activities. Creating an environment of trust and open communication about topics which may seem difficult will make it more likely your child will talk to you if something happens.
And please don’t forget to use the tips and resources found here.
Lastly, be on the lookout for our upcoming campaign to counter this troubling digital development.