By Judy Wolf
In 1999, the Rotary Club of Davis began a program to reduce the incidence of child abuse locally, nationally and internationally. The Child Abuse Prevention Program (CAPP), was unanimously adopted as the club’s program for the new millennium. Since that time, the program mission has been one that seeks to inform the public of the tragedy of child abuse and to assist in the education process.
CAPP is a self-supporting program. Since 2000, each year the club hosts an event called “Big Night,” where Rotarians, community policy-makers, state legislators and business leaders gather to raise money to support the mission of the CAPP. To date, more than $330,000 has been raised to support nonprofit groups whose program is to provide primary child abuse prevention services to children and families.
Representatives of the Rotary Club of Davis have presented the CAPP program to more than 50 Rotary clubs and have made presentations to Rotary District 5160, at several Rotary Zone conferences and at three different Rotary International conventions.
CAPP has been a major contributor to child abuse prevention programs locally, in the state and internationally. Rotarians encouraged Yolo County to establish the Yolo Crisis Nursery and have supported the nursery financially and with hands-on-labor since its inception. The club additionally fostered the establishment of a Yolo County Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center (MDIC) and continues to provide funding for that program.
Both are significant programs that get up-stream from the abuse and help prevent child abuse from happening in the first place. More specifically, “Big Night” funds have been used to provide annual support of $10,000 each to the Yolo Crisis Nursery and the Yolo County Children’s Alliance.
CAPP has targeted Shaken Baby Syndrome as a major child abuse prevention project. “Big Night” funds are used to purchase Shaken Baby Syndrome simulation training dolls that are used to demonstrate the level of damage to a child’s brain when the child is shaken. This training tool is most effective when used to train mothers just before they are discharged from the hospital with their newborns, as well as pregnant teens.
CAPP has purchased these dolls and donated them to the local labor and delivery units at hospitals in Yolo County and at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. Dolls also were provided to American Red Cross and the Head Start programs.
Additionally, the Rotary Club of Davis was awarded a $49,750 Rotary International Training Grant to educate physicians, medical students and nurses on how to identify abusive head trauma (also known as Shaken Baby Syndrome). This project was a huge success, with more than 1,900 medical professionals trained in abusive head trauma identification. Additionally, two dolls were donated to a nonprofit organization in Kenya, East Africa, and are being used to train men and women throughout the country.