Thursday, April 28, 2011


Early-childhood program to encourage interaction also results in higher IQs, study finds

NEW YORK — Toddlers in a program to encourage interaction and play with their mothers grew into adults with higher IQs, greater educational attainment and less involvement in violence than kids who did not receive the early stimulation, a new study finds. These latest results are the fourth follow-up in a series of studies since the early-childhood program ended, about twenty (20) years ago.

"The most exciting finding this time was the reduction in violent behavior, because that's something we haven't shown before," said Dr. Susan Walker, the lead researcher and a professor at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.

Beginning in the 1980s, Walker and her colleagues tracked 129 Jamaican toddlers who all had stunted growth and lived in an impoverished area. One group of children was part of the stimulation program, another was given supplemental baby formula, a third group received both interventions, and a fourth group did not get either.

The stimulation involved a weekly visit from a woman who taught the mothers how to play with their toddlers and engage them in everyday activities, and who also left toys and books each week.

Children who received food every week were given 1 kg of milk-based formula, which makes a little less than two gallons. Each intervention lasted two years.

As in previous follow-ups, Walker found that children who received the stimulation from their mother had higher IQs. In this study of the participants at age 22, there was a six-point difference between those who had received the interaction and those who did not. "It's a substantial improvement for something that took place in early childhood," Walker told Reuters Health.

Children who were stimulated were also 65 percent less likely to be involved in fights and violent crime as adults, and they performed better in math and reading tests. The group of toddlers who received formula had no improvements in these measurements two decades later, compared to kids who did not get the extra food. None of the interventions were tied to any differences in alcohol or cigarette use, teenage births, or education past secondary school. And the participants remained small compared to their peers - likely the result of poor nutrition as babies, Walker said.

The study did not examine the cause of the benefits to children whose mothers received the play training. But Walker said that the interactions might have improved the children's self esteem, which could have resulted in better school performance.

Dr. Benard Dreyer, a pediatrics professor at New York University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, said the results show that the benefits of early childhood stimulation can ripple for years - increasing the likelihood of excelling in school and avoiding violence.

In an editorial he wrote in the journal Pediatrics, where the study is published, Dreyer said such programs should be offered to poor children in the United States and the developing world.

"It's not that we don't know what to do, it's that we haven't decided to implement this on a large scale," he told Reuters Health. The study did not estimate how much such an intervention program would cost.

Dreyer said weekly at-home interventions would be less expensive than full-time daycare, which is another experience shown to help the development of disadvantaged children. He added that Walker's study is one of the few well-planned interventions followed-up for so many years.

Walker suggests that early-childhood intervention for children who are deprived of nutrition and stimulation should become part of regular pediatric services, just like immunizations. "In this context, where there are virtually no toys in the home and maybe not much language interaction, what you do to improve the quality of that mother-child interaction and the engagement in play can be tremendously important," Walker said.

Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Podcast—A Question of Balance

The latest edition of A Question of Balance is a must-have for every person in the CASA network—if not for every person who works in child welfare. In our latest podcast, author Janet Ward of National CASA discusses the new edition of A Question of Balance, highlighting the changes that have been made and the philosophy behind this book. Listen now or subscribe via iTunes or RSS to receive the latest podcasts automatically.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wings for L.I.F.E. Meeting

(Life-skills Imparted to Families through Education)

Civil Legal Issues
Presented By The Legal Aid Team

Learn about the appeal process for state benefits, how to dress for court, and know your tenant rights

Roswell Boys & Girls Club
201 S. Garden
SUNDAY, May1, 2011
6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

For Questions call: Shelly @ 317-2042

Dinner provided & crafts for children in a family friendly environment
(Sitter available)

Friday, April 15, 2011

April Happenings

WOW, we have a busy month!
April is...

Friday, April 22
CASA office closed in observance of Good Friday and Easter.

Monday, April 25
Brown Bag 12 noon at the CASA office
MST From Counseling Associates
Multi-Systemic Treatment program from Counseling Associates. Come learn why it is working and how our families can get involved.

Friday, April 29
6:00 pm at the Civic Center
If you have ever been to this event you know how much fun it is. If you have not, you need to come check it out. You don't want to miss it!!!

Andi Smith - 20 Year Board Anniversary
Frank Coggins - 16 Year Board Anniversary
Brett Leach - 11 Year Board Anniversary
Rosemary Hinkle - 7 Year Board Anniversary
Julie Deaton - 4 Year Volunteer Anniversary
Judy Scripps - 4 Year Volunteer Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to each of you. Thank you so much for your time and dedication to CASA and our precious children. We appreciate everything you do!

Gov. Susana Martinez introduces new Child Abuse Hot Line

Governor and CYFD Secretary Announce User-Friendly Hotline Number for Public Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect

1-855-SAFE (7233)

SANTA FE — Governor Susana Martinez and Children, Youth, and Families (CYFD) Secretary Yolanda Deines today enlisted the public in the state's fight against child abuse and neglect. At a press conference at the University of New Mexico's Children's Campus this morning, they announced #SAFE, a new user-friendly hotline number for public reporting of child abuse and neglect. New Mexicans can also dial 855-333-SAFE from any phone.

Governor Martinez has declared April Child Abuse Awareness Month and encouraged all New Mexicans to be vigilant about reporting child abuse and creating a positive environment for children across the state. "Child Abuse Awareness Month is a time for speaking up, confronting abuse, and standing up for innocent children across New Mexico," said Governor Martinez. "As a prosecutor, I dedicated my career to fighting for the defenseless. Now, I am asking all New Mexico citizens to join this fight. We can do this by joining together as parents, teachers, family members and neighbors to create a safe and positive environment for our children. I encourage everyone to be vigilant about reporting child abuse and neglect by dialing #SAFE from any cell phone or calling 1-855-333-SAFE."

"Children are the most precious resource we have in New Mexico," stated Children, Youth, and Families Department Secretary Yolanda Deines. "We want New Mexicans this month to take a deep breath and really think about child abuse in our society. There are no easy answers. But working together and increasing our awareness strengthens our ability to protect our children. If you know, or even suspect, that a child is in danger, starting now you can dial #SAFE or 1-855-333-SAFE. It's our moral responsibility to watch out for the kids around us."

Calls to the hotline, useable from anywhere in the state, will go to CYFD's State Central Intake unit, housed in Albuquerque. From there, a trained operator fields the call and asks for as much information as possible. The calls are immediately reviewed by a supervisor, assigned a priority code, and rerouted to the county office where the child resides. Some calls are screened out for various reasons, including calls that are not allegations of child abuse. Calls are also cross-reported when appropriate. For example, a call about a parent dealing drugs from the home may or not be a child abuse call, but will always be cross reported to the local law enforcement agency.

There are 561,318 children in New Mexico under the age of 19. In any given year, CYFD receives an average of 33,000 phone calls to their state-wide reporting system. Of those, 18,000 are screened for further investigation, and approximately 4,700 are substantiated for abuse. The vast majority of substantiated cases of child abuse are for physical neglect (72.7%). Twenty-five percent of substantiated claims are for physical abuse, and 1.6% of cases are for sexual abuse.

"Keeping kids safe is a team effort," continued Secretary Dienes. “We need the community to take this responsibility very seriously, because our social workers can't even knock on a door unless we get a call first. #SAFE from your cell phone - it doesn’t get any easier than this."
"We have an obligation to all the children out there, who right now may be living in fear, scared of the adults in their lives who are supposed to love and protect them," said Governor Martinez. "Preventing child abuse and neglect and protecting our kids is up to us."

Deines also discouraged so-called malicious reporting, or people who falsely accuse neighbors or ex-spouses or others. "Every hour we spend sorting out false and malicious allegations is an hour taken from a frightened child who truly needs our help," says Deines, who has personally investigated hundreds of child abuse cases during her career.

"Please find a healthier way to express your anger, and don't take time away from a child who might be in danger."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Report Indicates that Fifteen Percent of New Mexicans are Likely to Be Raped

Department of Health Supports Sexual Assault Prevention Activities

(SANTA FE) – The New Mexico Department of Health reported today that 15 percent of New Mexicans are likely be raped at some point in their lifetime. It was reported in the Sex Crime Trends in New Mexico during 2005 through 2009, that one in four women and one in 20 men are likely to be raped during their lifetime. The data was provided by the Survey of Violence Victimization in New Mexico. Public agencies and community organizations are joining together to raise awareness about the importance of preventing sexual violence in New Mexico. They are sponsoring a variety of activities throughout the state during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

New Mexico sexual assault statistics:
• The number of reported criminal sexual penetration crimes has increased each year from 1,337 in 2006 to 1,408 in 2009.
• The vast majority of rapes against both women and men remain unreported to police or sexual violence support organizations. In 2009, only 1 in 9.5 adult rapes came to the attention of law enforcement.
• Victims of sexual violence are overwhelmingly female (86 percent rape victims and 78 percent victims of non-penetration sex crimes).
• Almost one-third (31%) of rape victims and 29 percent of victims of non-penetration sex crimes are victimized before age twelve. Another 30 percent of rape victims and 32 percent of victims of non-penetration crimes are victimized before age eighteen.
• More than half (57%) of sexual assault victims were victims of a prior sexual assault.
• Almost two-thirds (60%) of prior assault victims were victimized by age twelve and 85 percent of these were victims of on-going sexual abuse.
• More than half of survivors and two-thirds of offenders had a history of domestic violence.

Reports on sexual assault and domestic violence in New Mexico can be found on the Office of Injury Prevention website: and on the NM Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs website at:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon Thursday

Join us as we Celebrate our Superhero CASA Volunteers!

Thursday, April 14th, 11:30 to 1:30, in the CASA Office, 500 N. Main St. #310

Congratulations to the following:

Volunteer of the Year Nancy Morales

Rookie of the Year Pam Coggins

Report Writing Award Fred Bennett

Starfish Award Judy Pittman

Angel Heart Award C&J Drug Screening

Super Hero Award Bill Jones

Social Worker of the Year Virginia Villareal

Mentor of the Year Janet Sanders

Energizer Bunny Award Judy Scripps

Lifetime Achievement Award Harriett Pinkerton

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Training Videos: First Visits with Children

Many new volunteers express anxiety around their first visit to meet a child or a family. National CASA has just posted two new training videos designed to assist a volunteer in envisioning what a first visit might actually look like.

In the first video, a volunteer is seen introducing herself to a caregiver and then talking with a preschool-aged child. In the second video, a volunteer demonstrates a conversation intended to build rapport with a pre-teen-aged youth. Using both videos, volunteers will be able to observe, take notes and compare their notes to the observations of an experienced volunteer supervisor, all from the comfort of their own computers.

To view these videos or to refer your volunteers to these resources, visit the Volunteer Resource Library at

Wings For Life Event - Parenting Skills

Parenting Styles- Find What Works for You Presented By Dare to Be You Team Door Prize- Easter Basket Giveaway -Easter Crafts for the Kids -Roswell Boys & Girls Club -201 S. Garden -SUNDAY, April 10, 2011 -6:00 PM to 7:30 PM -For Questions call: Shelly @ 317-2042 -Dinner provided & crafts for children in a family friendly environment (Sitter available)