KPJR films along with Prevent Child Abuse America held a Capitol Hill briefing, Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope.  The briefing focused on a new documentary on child abuse and neglect but included a panel discussion on prevention of child maltreatment.

Resilience is a documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.  The film explains the impact that child abuse and neglect has on child development.  The documentary is intended as a tool to energize communities in a commitment and strategy to address child abuse and neglect.  The briefing included opening comments from the President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America, Dan Duffy and included remarks by Karen Pritzker, producer of the film, Reverend Dr. Darrell L Armstrong, Shiloh Baptist Church, Trenton, New Jersey, Sandra Hassink, American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Deborah Houry, Center for Disease Control and Prevention with the discussion moderated by Janet Rosenzweig, Prevent Child Abuse America.

The event included powerful comments by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). DeLauro, co-chair of the House Baby Caucus, talked about the role of early childhood programs and how they are an important part of preventing child abuse.  The Congresswoman highlighted key programs such as home visiting, mental health services and parental supports, preschool programs and child care.  She spoke passionately about the need for greater investment in children’s programs and recounted words of former Congressman David Obey (D-WS) who would criticize members of Congress who pose for “holy pictures” meaning they pose with the infants, children and families but then vote against funding for the key children’s programs that would support those families.

Other speakers included Rev Armstrong who focused comments on strategies to support children and families in building resiliency.  He highlighted the special role religion and church can play in communities. Dr. Hassink discussed the impact of stress both positive and negative stress has on people but especially children.  As an example she asked the audience to think about the impact that some stress and fear can have on certain body functions such as heart rates and blood pressure and other elevated reactions when the body is under stress.  She then challenged people to think about the effect when this elevated defense by the body never subsides because of threats such as family violence and poor neighborhood conditions and atmosphere.

Dr. Houry talked about the CDC’s ongoing efforts to encourage the use of the ACE’s (Adverse Childhood Experience) screening tool and strategies that can strengthen communities in a strategy to reduce child maltreatment.  She suggested people use a new technical assistance guide to promote child abuse prevention. Dr Houry said the for now the effort is to reduce child abuse with a goal of preventing it.

During the briefing a number of key bills and programs were highlighted including home visiting, Head Start, the Child Care and Development Block Grant, greater mental health services for parents.  Several speakers highlighted specific legislation including Family First Prevention Services Act, (HR 5456).

For information on the movie Resilience you can go online to track Resilience screenings.