What is the H.E.A.R.T. Program?
Based on a nationally recognized model, New Hampshire’s Child Advocacy Centers are community partnerships dedicated to pursuing the truth in child abuse cases and coordinating social services for child victims. The majority of the children seen at Child Advocacy Centers (CAC) in NH are school age. Through our Helping Ensure Appropriate Response to Trauma (H.E.A.R.T) program, CACs are partnering with school districts to address trauma related needs of school aged children.
The H.E.A.R.T program is a collaboration between school districts and the Greater Lakes Child Advocacy Center in order (with parental permission) to inform appropriate school personnel when a child has been seen at the CAC, so that school staff can respond to the child’s needs in an appropriate, trauma informed way.
Why it matters?
Child Advocacy Centers in NH served 2011 children for interviews related to physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, as a witnesses to violent crime or some other A.C.E in 2018.
20% of New Hampshire’s Children had one or more Adverse Childhood Experience (A.C.E) in 2018.*
A study of 2,100 children in Spokane Washington showed the following:**
- Children exposed to 1 or more ACEs had a 54% chance of having academic/behavior problems at school.
- Children exposed to 2 or more ACEs had a 74% chance of having academic/behavior problems at school.
- Children exposed to 3 or more ACEs had an 88% chance of having academic/behavior problems at school.
The majority of children seen at NH Child Advocacy Centers are of school age. Often educational staff, teachers, guidance or school administrators are not aware that a student has experienced some sort of trauma or adverse experience.
Research indicates that appropriate response and early intervention can help to mitigate the long term effects of childhood trauma.
Through this collaboration with local school communities, we hope to ensure that children who experience child abuse, neglect or other adversity can heal, survive and thrive not only in their education, but in life.
The Granite State Children’s Alliance seeks to break the cycle of abuse not only by seeking justice for child victims, but also by putting families and child victims on a sustainable path to healing.
For more information
We are happy to share more inforamtion about the H.E.A.R.T. Program and steps to begin this program in your local communities. Currently, it is a pilot program through our Greater Lakes Child Advocacy Center in Belknap County. Click here for the HEART Brochure.
Victim Services Quality Assurance DirectorGranite State Children’s Alliance
The Northeast Regional Child Advocacy Center (NRCAC) hosts a podcast called NRCAC Team Talk. On May 7, 2020 Tony DeVincenzo, Training Specialist with the NRCAC interviews Meg Noyes and Nicole Ledoux about the H.E.A.R.T. Program. Listen to learn more about the benefits of the program and how to bring it to your local community.