Black and Indigenous Children Matter

Black and Indigenous Children Matter

At Prevent Child Abuse Oregon, we believe all children, regardless of race, class, culture or geography, should grow up in safe homes and communities. As a white woman, living in a predominantly white community, I have struggled hard in the last week trying to figure out where I fit into conversations about racism and white privilege. I’ve also struggled as the Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse Oregon to know what to do and how to do it. The answer I come back to is that there really is no answer- no perfect way to take action, but action is needed.

If you only have 5 minutes today, leave this message and read what Marcus Mundy, the Executive Director of the Coalition of Communities of Color published in an open letter to the community last week. His words speak powerful truths that we must all listen to and truly hear.

When children of color see the adults in their lives being treated differently by police during traffic stops, being followed in stores while shopping, obscenities being yelled at them for picnicking in a park, they grow up afraid. Afraid to play outside. To walk to school. To exist. This is trauma and has long term consequences for their physical, spiritual, and mental health. We can’t ignore this trauma if we believe all children deserve to grow up in safe homes and communities. Black and Indigenous children matter. Black and Indigenous families matter.

Did you know that parents of Black and Indigenous children are more likely to be reported for child abuse and neglect, more likely to have their children removed, and more likely to have those children linger in foster care until they age-out at 18? We recognize child abuse is equally present across all demographics, yet, children of color are more likely to experience traumatic interventions rather than in-home support.

The good news is, this trauma too, like child abuse, is completely preventable.

When we take the time to learn and grow as individuals, we can undo learned behaviors and heal ourselves and our communities, creating a safer environment for all children. When we have conversations with our white children from an early age, they can become allies from the start. They can then mitigate their own harm as they walk through their own lives. Our children and communities deserve this kind of commitment to reduce trauma caused by racism.

Need ideas for how to talk to kids about race? CLICK HERE.

Looking for ways to learn and grow yourself? CLICK HERE.

This is a lifelong journey with no destination that I hope you will join me on. The future of all our children, especially Black and Indigenous children, depends on it.

With compassion,


Parent Workshop: New Normal

Parent Workshop- Managing in our “New Normal”

Prevent Child Abuse Oregon is proud to host a workshop series for parents by Krista Michaels:

  • Balancing your parent & educator roles
  • Building structure and routines
  • Helping kids cope
  • Practicing & modeling self care

Wednesday May 20th and 27th from 7-9pm on Facebook Live

Help spread the word by sharing our flyer or Facebook post.

Parenting Through the Seasons

Coalition Launches Campaign to Get Essential Baby Supplies Donated to Vulnerable Families in April

The partnership, known as Parenting Through the Seasons, will deliver essential supplies like diapers, wipes and more to help families impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic

MILWAUKIE, OR, April 6, 2020 – Beginning in April, a new coalition of non-profits and government is working to meet the needs of vulnerable Oregon families in search of baby supplies. The year-long campaign, Parenting Through the Seasons, will include three seasonal invitations for communities to contribute, starting with items needed during the COVID-19 pandemic. From April 6th  to May 6th, Oregonians are invited to donate through Amazon Wish to send much needed items like diapers, wipes, and other essentials to families involved in Healthy Families Oregon (HFO) and Oregon Association of Relief Nurseries (OARN) across Oregon. Local staff will deliver the items directly to their families.

“For every moment we can relieve the stress of parents, we can create a moment for connection,” says Elisabeth Underwood, Administrator for Healthy Families Oregon (HFO).

HFO is a free and voluntary home visiting program that focuses on strengthening the parent-child relationship. In response to COVID-19, in-person home visits have been halted; however, staff are still engaging virtually and, in many cases, delivering supplies to families.

Prevent Child Abuse Oregon Executive Director, Pamela Heisler, explains, “Young children are being shaped today by how they see their families and communities cope with this pandemic…this is our opportunity to show them how communities come together. Let’s shape their memories with hope rather than fear.”

Prevent Child Abuse Oregon (PCAO) is a statewide organization focused entirely on the upstream prevention of child abuse and neglect. Parenting Through the Seasons is being led by PCAO, to directly support families while at the same time, shining a bright light on what successful prevention looks like.

“Relief Nurseries have always engaged their local communities to support vulnerable families and now is the time for us to show unprecedented care for each other,” reminds OARN Executive Director, Cara Copeland. 

Relief nurseries provide a unique array of free comprehensive family support services that are easily accessible to low-income parents and will play a critical role in distributing items to local families.

Learn more at

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Prevent Child Abuse Oregon is a provisional chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, founded in 1972 to promote the healthy development of children and prevent child abuse. The mission is to strengthen families to prevent child abuse and neglect. PCAO envisions a state where every child lives in a safe home and community, regardless of race, class, culture or geography. To help PCAO please visit or follow PCAO on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


Oregon Association of Relief Nurseries leads and sustains a network of Relief Nurseries in Oregon through advocacy, resource development and quality assurance.  Our vision is that all children in Oregon thrive in safe, nurturing and stable families.  Collectively each year we serve 1,500 families at risk for child maltreatment.  Our model has been keeping Oregon children safe and families together for over 40 years.  Find out more at and support your local community.


Healthy Families Oregon (HFO) is an accredited multi-site state system with Healthy Families America (HFA) and Oregon’s largest child abuse prevention program. Healthy Families Oregon is a free family support and parent education home visiting program that serves approximately 2,500 families annually. HFO is voluntary and focuses on strengthening the parent-child relationship to assure healthy child growth and development. Home visitors support parents in cultivating and strengthening a nurturing, positive relationship with their baby at each visit. Find out more at

In 2019 PCAO became certified ACE Interface Presenters in order to do our part to “tell everyone” and promote healing for communities and individuals impacted by ACE’s, especially child abuse and neglect.

Pinwheels for Prevention® is a national public engagement campaign that began in 2008.  Since then, over 5 million pinwheels have been displayed nationwide. The campaign symbol, a blue and silver pinwheel, is a reminder of the happy childhoods and bright futures that all children deserve. Prevent Child Abuse Oregon (PCAO) adopted the Pinwheels for Prevention® campaign to spread a message of resilience, engage communities, and inspire action across Oregon communities.

In 2019, Prevent Child Abuse Oregon began to convene a network of organizations that work in different capacities to strengthen families and protect children. The organizations were invited based on their statewide lens and reach in local communities with prevention programming and services. Our goal is to build deep partnerships that identify and address statewide challenges in the field of child abuse prevention.