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Have You Made Plans for National KidsDay?

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Have You Made Plans for National KidsDay?

National KidsDay KidsDay® will be celebrated around the nation on Sunday, August 7th. KidsPeace created this annual event to encourage the adults – parents, grandparents, relatives, neighbors, teachers and other caregivers – to spend more meaningful time with America’s children and to honor and celebrate the inherent value and worth of all kids.

National KidsDay is an opportunity to:
• Celebrate childhood
• Demonstrate our commitment to nurturing children
• Inspire our nation, our communities and our families to love and appreciate children
• To make our children feel loved and valued
• To guide our children toward a healthy, happy, successful future.

What You Can Do
There are so many different ways that you can celebrate this day with children in your care. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to let your children know that you love them. They will appreciate your time and uninterrupted attention so much more.

Plan to do something fun with your children, like a picnic or a long walk in the park, or an arts and crafts project or baking something delicious. Go to or rent a movie, start scrap booking together, take a bike ride. Whatever you plan to do, tell your children about it early so they have the fun of anticipation. Breakfast in bed? Why not? You may want to spend part of National KidsDay volunteering together at a local food bank, cleaning up the yard of an elderly neighbor or organizing a neighborhood scavenger hunt.

It is also a day for aunts and uncles, grandparents, family friends and community members to recognize the importance of the children in their lives and stand in for parents who may have to work or are away. Foster parents are encouraged to participate in the celebration of this day with their foster and biological children. Many KidsPeace Foster Care offices sponsor events that bring foster families together as one large community that creates one large family for all members. There are also many children in residential care at KidsPeace facilities in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Maine and Georgia. If their families cannot visit, KidsPeace staff members plan events for the children in care.

These may include:

• Take the kids in your care outside for a picnic – arrange this with food services so that it can be a special treat
• Play ball or Frisbee with them
• If possible, take them for a hike in the nearby woods or fields
• Look at flowers and try to see how many varieties you can identify
• Bring in an age appropriate video to watch in the afternoon
• If possible, arrange for a donation of water ices or ice cream or a cake from a local business
• Do an arts and crafts project and hang up or display their works of art
• Have a sing-along.

Why America Needs National KidsDay
For decades, children across America asked their parents, grandparents and guardians why America celebrates "Mother's Day" and "Father's Day," but has no "Kid's Day." National KidsDay fills that gap and seeks to provide a reminder of children's year-round need for meaningful time and interactions with adults.

Please join KidsPeace and a growing number of organizations and businesses in making National KidsDay

Background Information

National KidsDay® was created by KidsPeace to encourage adults to spend meaningful time with America’s children, and to celebrate their inherent worth and value. Recognized by the U.S. Congress and endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National KidsDay is a registered trademark of KidsPeace to ensure the day is always used for the benefit of children.

KidsPeace is a 129-year-old national children’s charity dedicated to helping America’s kids avoid and overcome the kinds of crises that can strike any child – from traumas to neglect, depression and the stresses of modern life. Founded in 1882 in Bethlehem, PA, KidsPeace helps thousands of children a day at centers nationally and millions more through public education and outreach with the support of celebrities. KidsPeace was called “the outstanding organization” of its kind by the American Association of Psychiatric Services for Children and “a prototype of what we need for all children everywhere” by family expert Dr. Lee Salk. For more information, go to

The Trouble With Things These Days The relationship between childhood trauma, family violence and bullying.

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The Trouble With Things These Days
The relationship between childhood trauma, family violence and bullying

By Leslie Ten Broeck, LCSW

“The trouble with things these days is, you’re not ALLOWED to keep your family under control. You can’t hit your wife or kids anymore, or you’ll go to jail.” The father sat in front of me, distraught, as I tried to wrap my brain around the words he’d just spoken. The KidsPeace Psychiatric Hospital had just admitted his fourteen-year-old son after an assault on a teacher, an assault that resulted in arrest and legal charges. The boy had been hospitalized the evening before, and this was the first meeting between the family and me, the clinician. The boy’s mother sat next to her husband, nodding sadly. “Could you repeat what you just said?” I asked the father. He looked uncomfortable as he answered, “Well, what I meant was, what am I supposed to do? I’m trying to keep my family in line, and these kids just do whatever they want. Now look what’s happened.” I took a deep breath and tried to look beyond the father’s words (far beyond.) Here was a father who did truly love his family, who wanted them to do the right things. He was feeling helpless and out-of-control like most parents of a child admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Yet, there was much that was different about this family … or so I thought.

It wasn’t until later meetings with the family that I learned the whole story. This was a family in which there had been significant physical abuse and domestic violence, so much so that there had been an open Child Protective Service case for a number of years. The parents, fearful of losing their children, had complied with the steps outlined by the Caseworkers and had eliminated physical violence from the home. CPS closed the case with some satisfaction, believing their mission had been accomplished. Indeed, it had; they’d succeeded in making the family one in which the children were safe. But what then? What kind of legacy would years of physical, verbal and emotional violence leave for this family? The answer was becoming clear. Their son, the oldest child, was in constant altercations in the schoolyard and was known as a bully. He had been suspended frequently. The parents were starting to suspect that he’d been using drugs and alcohol. Their daughter, age eleven, was in therapy with a history of depression and truancy—she refused to go to school. What was happening with these kids?

This family was acting out the very reality that investigators and researchers into child maltreatment know to be true: Certain forms of victimization, such as family violence, create vulnerability for bullying, perpetration or victimization. This is known as trauma reenactment. For instance, some youth who are maltreated by their families might learn that violence is the way to deal with interpersonal difficulties, and therefore physically bully their peers at school(1). In one study, 700 fifth grade students were interviewed and asked about their experience of bullying:
• 14% reported that they had bullied others
• 12% reported that they were the victims of bullying
• 8% stated that they’d been both bullies and the victims of bullying
• 66% stated that they were not involved in bullying.
When the same respondents were asked about their history of maltreatment, this is what the researchers found:

• Children who were both bullies and victims of bullying reported the most child maltreatment (44%), which included experiences with physical and psychological abuse and neglect.

• Bully-victims also reported the highest rates of sexual victimization (32%), which included experiences with sexual harassment as well as sexual abuse, and included familial and non-familial perpetrators.

• Bully-victims witnessed higher levels of victimization within their homes (e.g., domestic violence) and communities (e.g., witnessing attacks) than other youth (59% for bully-victims, 61% for bullies)(2).

In addition, studies have shown that maltreated children are at least twenty-five percent more likely to experience problems such as delinquency, teen pregnancy and low academic achievement(3). Bullies who have been identified by age eight are six times more likely than others to be convicted of a crime by the time they reach the age of twenty-four. They are five times more likely to end up with serious criminal records by age thirty(4). Things were looking grim for this family, if the statistics held true. But I was more confused by the dichotomy in front of me. Clearly, these parents loved their family and wanted the best for each other. How could that fit with a history of physically harming each other?

One answer to that question comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 1995, the CDC collaborated with Kaiser Permanente's Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego on a groundbreaking study called the ACE Study ( Co-principal investigators Robert F. Anda MD and Vincent J. Felitti MD conducted perhaps the largest scientific research study to analyze the relationship between multiple categories of trauma, or adverse childhood experiences, and health and behavioral outcomes later in life. More than 17,000 white, middle-class, college-educated adults were asked about their history of adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s) such as physical and emotional abuse, physical and emotional neglect, sexual abuse, substance abuse in the home, domestic violence, incarceration of an adult, untreated mental illness. Almost two-thirds of the study participants reported at least one adverse childhood experience, and more than one in five reported three or more. Clearly, the experience of childhood trauma is not an exception to the rule. The short- and long-term outcomes of these childhood exposures include a multitude of health and social problems, as follows.

The ACE Score is used to assess the total amount of stress during childhood and its life-long impact; the study demonstrated that as the level of stress increases, the risk for the following health problems increases in a strong and graded fashion:

• Alcoholism and alcohol abuse                          

• Risk for intimate partner violence
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

• Multiple sexual partners
• Depression                                                     

• Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
• Fetal death                                                     

• Smoking
• Health-related quality of life                             

• Suicide attempts
• Illicit drug use                                                 

• Unintended pregnancies
• Ischemic heart disease (IHD)                           

• Early initiation of smoking
• Liver disease                                                   

• Early initiation of sexual activity
• Adolescent pregnancy

The evidence clearly suggests that the more adverse childhood experiences (childhood traumas) that people experience, the more likely they are to have a number of problems, such as domestic violence, substance abuse, and depression. But what about the role of “traumatic reenactment?” Why would someone play out the same terrible experiences throughout their lives? Here’s what I learned:


Re-enactment of victimization is a major cause of violence. Many traumatized people expose themselves, seemingly compulsively, to situations reminiscent of the original trauma. These behavioral reenactments are rarely consciously understood to be related to earlier life experiences. Some traumatized people remain preoccupied with the trauma at the expense of other life experiences and continue to re-create it in some form for themselves or for others. War veterans may enlist as mercenaries, victims of incest may become prostitutes, and victims of childhood physical abuse seemingly provoke subsequent abuse in foster families or become self-mutilators. Still others identify with the aggressor and do to others what was done to them. These behavioral reenactments are rarely consciously understood to be related to earlier life experiences(5).

So how do we help families understand the impact of violence, trauma, and traumatic reenactment? It starts with education; families need to be provided with what is called “psychoeducation.” Our first step in working with this family was to help them understand the interactions among childhood trauma, parenting, child maltreatment, and children’s behavior. They needed to learn about the long-term patterns of violence that occur from one generation to the next, and how to stop the cycle. We encouraged the parents to talk to their children about the role that violence plays in their family; we asked them to allow the children to ask questions, even ones that made the parents uncomfortable. They needed to allow respectful dialogue, even when the subject was painful. The parents were taught to set clear limits on unsafe physical, emotional and verbal behavior within the family and as the family interacts with the community. Next, the family needed to learn the skills of managing their emotions when interacting among themselves and others; they developed and practiced these skills in the home. With the help of a family-based team of counselors, they learned techniques for managing anger; they developed safety plans for times when emotion threatened to lead to unsafe behavior; they developed communication skills, conflict resolution skills and problem-solving abilities. They worked with a number of providers to create a sense of community within their family, where everyone felt a sense of belonging and safety.

Family members were encouraged to visit ParentCentral.Net to share their experiences and receive advice anonymously from Master’s and doctorate level clinicians. There is a tremendous amount of reading material on this site, as well as a community that supports its members. Teens can visit TeenCentral.Net to discuss their thoughts and feelings after discharge and to read stories by celebrities and peers about how they overcame issues while they were growing up. Advice is also given by Master’s or doctorate level counselors within 24 hours. KidsPeace offers these two websites free of charge to all parents and teens who use their services.

Just as this courageous family did, all families who are struggling can and should seek professional services to help them take these steps. Every family has the ability to become a place where all members can seek shelter from the stressors and pressure of the outside world. Every family has the ability to make their home, instead of a place of fear and violence, a place of sanctuary.


(2) Holt, M., Finkelhor, D., & Kaufman Kantor, K. (in press). Hidden victimization in bullying assessment. School Psychology Review, 36, 345-360.

(3) Kelley BT, Thornberry T P, Smith CA. In the wake of childhood maltreatment. Washington (DC): National Institute of Justice; 1997.

(4) National Resource Center for Safe Schools. (1999, Winter). Mixing age groups reduces bullying. Fact Sheet Number 4. Retrieved August 20, 2001 from

(5) Van der Kolk, BA. The compulsion to repeat the trauma: re-enactment, revictimization, and masochism. Psychiatr Clin North Am 1989; 12(2):389-411.


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COLUMBIA, MD JUNE 30, 2011 – KidsPeace, a 129-year-old national children’s charity with offices throughout the Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia areas, today announced a commitment from Baltimore Orioles Manager William “Buck” Showalter and his wife Angela to lend their voices in support of the organization’s mission. KidsPeace provides Foster Care and Community Services to hundreds of children with mental and behavioral health issues. The organization, based in Pennsylvania, also offers residential treatment facilities and a unique psychiatric hospital serving children from age 3 to 21.

Showalter, the two (2) time American League “Manager of the Year”, was named manager of the Baltimore Orioles last July. Showalter and his wife have committed to be featured in a Public Service Announcement for KidsPeace; while Angela Showalter has agreed to serve as a volunteer member of the KidsPeace Board of Associates for Maryland.

“We are thrilled that the Showalters have made this personal commitment to KidsPeace,” said William Isemann, KidsPeace President & CEO. “We thank them for recognizing the importance of our mission to bring hope, help and
healing to children and families everywhere and we look forward to their future involvement.”

“Angela and I are very honored to support KidsPeace in their efforts to provide children and families, in crisis, needed programs and services throughout Baltimore and the surrounding communities,” said Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles Manager.

The city of Baltimore has more than 4,000 children in foster care. “The needs of our local foster youth are immense. KidsPeace partners with the city and surrounding counties to find homes for many of these children and to give them hope,” says Sandy Rappeport, Maryland Program Manager. “Foster youth who age out of the system are faced with staggering realities: only 46 percent complete high school, 40-50 percent are homeless within 18 months, and 25 percent are incarcerated within 24 months.” Critical KidsPeace programming works to address those realities but can be even more successful with increased local community involvement.

In addition to placing foster youth with loving families, KidsPeace provides services to foster youth. “There are many ways that foster youth can be supported—through providing homes, becoming a mentor, or by contributing financially to support programs,” says Rappeport. One such activity is a mentoring program for children and adolescents in foster care, providing support through group activities and one-on-one relationships. “We are working to build our volunteer mentor program because it helps youth develop a strong sense of self worth and strengthen their ability to interact with others in positive ways,” says Gina Seyfried, Volunteer Coordinator.

Another activity, the KEYS program, provides life-skills training for foster youth ages 16-20, who face uncertain times as they prepare for their transition from care to independent living. The KEYS Program provides training in various life skills areas, including: goal setting, personal values, self-awareness, banking and money management, employment and others. “Few young adults leave home at 18 ready to care for themselves, so they rely on their adult support system to provide them guidance, emotional support, housing and financial assistance,” says Seyfried. “But a young person in foster care often misses out on these supports. The KEYS program is here to offer tangible, hands on activities to unlock their future success.”

Supporters of annual events, including a 5K Run and Fun Walk held in October and a Winetasting Event in September, help fund KidsPeace foster youth programs.

“Our local community has shown that they have big hearts and we are hoping we can continue fostering relationships that help them see the joys of connecting with a child who needs their help,” says Rappeport.
The Showalters have also agreed to serve as honorary chairs for the KidsPeace Annual 5K Race & Fun Walk to take place in Baltimore Oct. 29th, 2011.

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