Family Safety Resources

As devoted as we are to the protection of children in the Church, we also understand the importance of empowering families with information and resources that support children’s safety in their home and social life as well. In recognizing the power of prevention, we hope to support families as parents and caregivers juggle the demanding challenges of raising children, now more so than ever.

We know that clergy, diocesan personnel, volunteers, parents, and youth all play a critical role in child safety and prevention. Unfortunately, we also know that research and experts alike have highlighted that children are at a greater risk for abuse and neglect amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic due to the dangers of isolation, inadequate or non-existent childcare, increased stress and surmounting fears triggered by growing economic instability and housing insecurity, which will continue to be exasperated under current circumstances. While this is alarming, we must remember that we are all in this together, and the Office for the Protection of Children & Vulnerable Adults wants to support families during this unprecedented time of shifting social norms that we are all trying to comprehend and navigate. 

During the Shelter-At-Home mandate, it is important to highlight that with school closures and people confined to their home, the reality is that children are spending more unsupervised time online which puts them at an increased risk for exploitation.  Please explore the “Online Safety Information for Parents & Activities for Youth” tab below for helpful tools and resources on how to have open and honest conversations with your children.

Services critical to children’s safety, and family support, will continue to be made available despite the outbreak. Our intent is to share these resources and services with you, as we all play a vital role in the protection and well-being of children within our local communities. We hope this information will be helpful to you and your family. As always, please feel free to contact our office without hesitation with your questions or concerns. Please be assured of our continued prayers for you and your family during these trying times.

The Office for the Protection of Children & Vulnerable Adults
Anthony Gonzalez, Griselda Cervantez, & Ly Helgeson 

Tips for Parents & Caregivers:

COVID-19: Helpful Information & Santa Clara County Resources (Multilingual)

The outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) may be stressful for families. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. The emotional impact of an emergency on a person can depend on the person’s characteristics and experiences, the social and economic circumstances of the person and their community, and the availability of local resources. The following is helpful information for parents and caregivers, in addition to local resources. 

Prevent Child Abuse America (Multilingual Website): Coronavirus Resources & Tips for Parents, Children & Others
Provides information about the impact of COVID-19 on families and children, ways to communicate with children about the epidemic, activities during shelter in place, and ways for parents and caregivers to reduce stress and practice self-care.

Darkness to Light (Multilingual Website): Protecting Children During a Crisis
The Protecting Children During a Crisis online training is designed to help you navigate through the unusual circumstances you might face during times of crisis. This change is any situation where you need to modify the steps you take to protect your children because of a situation that is out of your control. This training will help you consider your current strategies, help you identify the new situation, and help you change your strategy.

End Violence Against Children: Protecting Children During the COVID-19 OutbreakPositive Parenting in COVID-19 Isolation
As we continue to navigate this rapidly evolving situation, it is essential to stay informed on the latest news, updates and resources around the virus and its effect on children. As a global partnership, End Violence Against Children is are here to share the latest evidence, data and information to protect children from COVID-19 and the related risk of violence.

First 5 (Multilingual Website): first5kids.org/covid19
Resources and advice about child abuse in general and COVID-19 specifically. Information is offered in multiple languages.*

UNICEF (Multilingual Website): How to Talk to Your Children About Coronoavirus (COVID-19)
8 tips to help comfort and protect children.

Silicon Valley Strong (Trilingual Website): siliconvalleystrong.org/go-virtual/family-resources   
Provides resources for families and emotional support tools for all ages. Has specific resources regarding COVID-19. Information is offered in English, Spanish, & Vietnamese.*

Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks & Taking Care of Children: Helpful Tips for Parents & Children. Information is offered in English, Spanish, & Vietnamese.*

Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks: Helpful Tips for Parents & Adult Family Members. Information is offered in English, Spanish, & Vietnamese.*

Parent hotline (Multilingual Website): Bay Area TALK (415) 441-5437 
Provides 24-hour support for parents and caregivers in the Bay Area. Multilingual Website with Hotline Information.* 

211 United Bay Area (Bilingual Website): 211bayarea.org/santaclara  
Provides information about available health and human services in the Bay Area.*

Santa Clara County Child Abuse and Neglect Center: 1-822-722-5437
This is a 24-hour toll free hotline to report suspected child abuse and neglect.

Parents Helping Parents: php.com
Offers support for parents and guardians.*

Parenting During an Epidemic, Dr. Damon Korb, M.D.*

Working, Parenting, and Sheltering in Place, Dr. Damon Korb, M.D.*

Santa Clara County Office of Education: sccoe.org
For information about education and home-based learning.*

*Resources & Information Provided by Child Abuse Prevention Council of Santa Clara County
& the Department of Family & Children Services

WHO & CDC Parenting Tips During COVID-19 Shelter-At-Home (Trilingual)

Parenting tips from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to help promote healthy quality time with your children during COVID-19 Shelter-At-Home.

Try to Keep Calm to Help Manage Stress: English | Spanish | Vietnamese

Try to Keep It Positive: English | Spanish | Vietnamese

Talk to Your Children About the COVID-19: English | Spanish | Vietnamese

Create Daily Routines for Structure: English | Spanish | Vietnamese

Make Time for Quality Time: English | Spanish | Vietnamese 

Redirect Bad Behavior: English | Spanish | Vietnamese

Caring Questions & Reminders:

    • Do ask your child daily: “What was the best part (high point) and worst part (low point) of your day today?”
    • Do ask your child: “Do you know the difference between a good/right touch & a bad/wrong touch?”
    • Do ask your child: “Which (3) safe adults would you tell if somebody was harming you or pressuring you to do something risky?”
    • Do pay attention to non-verbal hints your child’s might be trying to communicate, because “Behavior IS Language”. So, ask your children often: “How are you feeling?”
    • Do pay attention to how you as a parent communicate. As a parent, you are your child’s first and most important teacher in life. So, HOW you communicate is often more impactful than WHAT you communicate verbally.
    • Do pay attention on how you treat others in your home. Witnessing Domestic Violence is a form of emotional and psychological abuse with long-term negative impacts.
    • Do talk to your child and other family members about a plan and meeting places in case of emergencies.
    • Do talk to your child about a “Safety Word” in case somebody (stranger or family) tells them: “Your mommy or daddy asked me to give you a ride home.”
    • Do teach your child to look for potential injury hazards at home or during play.
Online Safety Information for Parents & Activities for Youth (Bilingual)

Interactive Online Resources from VIRTUS, in partnership with theNational Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)

    • NetSmartz is NCMEC’s online safety education program. It provides age-appropriate videos and activities to help teach children how to be safer online with the goal of helping children to become more aware of potential online risks and empowering them to help prevent victimization by making safer choices on- and offline. Available in English and Spanish Language: English Language Website | Spanish Language Website
    • KidSmartz is NCMEC’s child safety program that educates families about interpersonal safety and empowers kids in grades K-5 to practice safer behaviors. This program offers resources to help parents, caregivers, and teachers protect kids by teaching and practicing the four (4) Rules of Personal Safety using tips, printable activities, quizzes, articles, music, videos, and more. Available in English and Spanish Language: English Language Website | Spanish Language Website

Keeping Children & Teens Safe Online – Download: ENGLISH | SPANISH

Technology Safety Through the Eyes of Faith: www.faithandsafety.org
A resource guide brought to you by a collaboration between The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Research-Based Online Safety Tips, Parent Guidebooks, & Advice: www.connectsafely.org 
ConnectSafely.org is a Silicon Valley based nonprofit organization dedicated to educating users of connected technology about safety, privacy and security.

Darkness To Light: Advocacy, Awareness & Statistics (Multilingual)

Darkness to Light empowers adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse through awareness, education, and stigma reduction. Resources are multilingual on the Darkness to Light website: www.d2l.org 

These 5 Steps to Protecting Children are key factors in preventing child sexual abuse

    • Step 1: Learn the Facts – If we don’t understand child sexual abuse, we can’t end it. It is highly likely that you know a child who has been or is being abused.
    • Step 2: Minimize Opportunity – Safe environments can help reduce the risk for abuse. More than 80% of sexual abuse cases occur in isolated, one-on-one situations.
    • Step 3: Talk About It – Talking openly breaks down barriers and reduces stigma. By talking openly about our bodies, sex, & boundaries we can encourage children to share.
    • Step 4: Recognize the Signs – Signs of abuse aren’t always obvious, but they are often there. Emotional or behavioral changes are often the most common signs.
    • Step 5: React Responsibly – It’s our responsibility to react appropriately to suspicion, disclosure, or discovery of abuse. Only 4% to 8% of reports of all sexual abuse are false.

Learning the facts is the first step to preventing child sexual abuse.

    • The Magnitude of the Problem – Child sexual abuse is far more prevalent than people realize. Find out how big the problem really is.
    • Signs of Abuse – Do you know what to do if you suspect or discover child sexual abuse? Learn the facts about signs of abuse that will help you identify when to report.
    • Offender Statistics – Those who molest children look and act just like everyone else. Abusers can be neighbors, friends, and family members.
    • Circumstances of Abuse – Child sexual abuse takes place under specific, often surprising circumstances.
    • Risk Factors – While no child is immune, there are child and family characteristics that can heighten the risk of sexual abuse.
    • Consequences of Abuse – Emotional and mental health problems are often the first consequence and sign of child sexual abuse.
    • Facts on Reporting – Only about one-third of child sexual abuse incidents are identified and even fewer are reported – HELP REPORT ABUSE! Please note that this is a general statistic and not based on the diocese’s reporting procedures, which follow State and Federal Mandated Reporter laws.
Teaching Touching Safety for Parents (Bilingual)

These lessons focus on an age-appropriate discussion of touching safety, relative to the specific roles that different people play in a child’s life. All of the lessons stress the importance of keeping private body parts “private.”

Download Document – English

Download Document – Spanish

Cyber Bullying: What to Know & Do (Bilingual)

StopBullying.gov: English Language Website | Spanish Language Website
Managed by the US Department of Health and Human Services this site has a number of resources on cyberbullying, who is at risk, how to respond, and how to get help immediately.

What to Know 

    • Cyber bullying is a form of violence that can do lasting harm.
    • Posting or texting mean messages to another person or about another person is cyber bullying.
    • Spreading rumors through posts, texts, or burn sites.
    • Trashing a persons’ web page or social network site.
    • Pretending to be someone else online to cause harm.
    • Taking unflattering pictures of someone then texting or posting them online.
    • Sexting suggestive pictures or messages about a person, even yourself.
    • Cyber bullying can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide.
    • Once things are online, they never disappear, resurfacing later to renew the pain of cyber bullying.
    • Many cyber bullies think that bullying others online is funny.
    • What is posted online now may reflect badly later when applying for schools or a job.
    • Cyber bullies and their parents may face legal charges for cyber bullying.
    • If cyber bullying is sexual or sexting, the results can include being registered as a sex offender.
    • There are many ways to track some one who is cyber bullying, fake names are traceable.
    • Over 50% of youth have engaged in cyber bullying. As the bully, the victim, or both.
    • One in three young people have experienced cyber-threats online.
    • 50% of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.
    • 20% of young people have posted/sent sexual or nude pictures of themselves to others.
    • Cyber bullying is often not reported.
    • Most youth are embarrassed, scared, ashamed of their behavior or actions

What Can You Can Do

    • Print the evidence. Print blogs, emails, posts, polls, texts, etc for proof.
    • STOP. Put the bully on notice that you want the treatment to stop.
    • Teach your kids to tell you and other trusted adults.
    • Block the bully from all sites. Avoid retaliation!
    • REPORT the cyber bully to the web master or use REPORT buttons.
    • Make a plan, with your family, about what is acceptable behavior.
    • Never to share personal information online. 8. Keep the computer in a shared space like the family room.
    • Do not “friend” a stranger on line or accept texts from numbers you do not know.
    • DO NOT forward any hate messages.
    • DO NOT forward any sexting messages or pictures.
    • Cyber Bullying is against the law – call the police and REPORT the bully.
    • Sexting is against the law – REPORT the sext to the police.
    • Avoid reacting to the cyber bully – they want you to be affected.
    • Change or delete your online profile and start over or wait a few months.
    • Unfriend the cyber bully on your social network sites.
    • Tell a school staff is cyber bullying is taking place during school hours.
    • We can STOP cyber bullies when we STICK UP for one another.
    • Encourage your children to be ROLE MODELS!