Congratulations to Ken Cabral, who was honored last night for his leadership in child abuse prevention by over 250 people, including select Waterbury educators, the Superintendant, Chief of Police, Fire Marshall, Mayor, and honored youth. Mr. Cabral was nominated by Kelly Cronin the Executive Director at Waterbury Youth Services. This extremely nice event was held at the Exchange Club in Waterbury. Mr. Cabral praised the leadership and vision of his boss, DCF Commissioner Joette Katz, and also her practice changes which are really impacting the children and families we are working with, it is making a difference!!! (Click here to read Mr. Cabral's acceptance speech)
WATERBURY — The Waterbury Exchange Club will present the Dr. Lawrence J. Shea Awards Banquet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, at the La Bella Vista (formerly the Ponte Club).
The ninth annual banquet presents awards and scholarships to students and community leaders. The dinner is named in honor of Dr. Larry Shea, one of the founders of the Waterbury Exchange Club, and its first president.
Joseph N. Amato, principal of Wendell Cross Elementary School will be honored as Educator of the Year. Dr. Paul Kelly, a cardiologist with Franklin Medical Group, will be the Book of Golden Deeds recipient.
The Blue Ribbon Award that recognizes dedication and commitment in the area of child abuse prevention will go to Kenneth Cabral, regional administrator in the Department of Children and Families.
Each year the Exchange Club also honors a local police officer and firefighter from the Waterbury area. This year’s honorees are Sgt. Charles Sampson of the Waterbury Police Department and Firefighter Fernando Ramirez of the Waterbury Fire Department. The Accepting the Challenge through Excellence award recipient is Patrick Sullivan, a senior at Holy Cross High.
Good Evening Everyone,
I am honored to be here tonight to accept this award for leadership in the prevention of child abuse. As a Regional Administrator for the State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families I have seen the damage that child abuse can do to a person, a family and to a community. I am privileged to be able to use my position to make a difference in our community to at least lessen the amount of child abuse that occurs. I’d like it even better if we could eradicate it altogether but like all things in life we take on this cause one step at a time, one person at a time, one family at a time.
I have learned that many people agree with me that this is a job for the entire community, not just a few people or certain organizations. It is imperative that our department focus on collaboration with families, children and communities for the safety of our children both now and in the future. There have been important changes in our department over the past year that have helped us to focus on strengthening families and increasing family engagement. Over the past two years our department has taken significant steps to bring people and providers together to change the image of the department from a focus solely on protecting children to one of including family and family strength.
We have learned so much from the way things were done in the area of child abuse for so long. We learned that just removing the children from the situation didn’t change the situation. It just separated the children from their families. What this left us with was a family that was broken into pieces; children who were safe, but away from their families; families who couldn’t hurt the children but were now separated from them, maybe forever. But it didn’t do anything to help the family move forward to change behaviors or beliefs or ideas that allowed child abuse to happen. So, the cycle of violence and the child abuse continued. We’ve learned that when someone is abused as a child, even if they are removed from the situation, if they don’t come to some kind of healing they can either grow up to be an abuser or enter into an abusive relationship as an adult. Just removing them didn’t really solve the situation because it didn’t deal with the cause of the abuse or the effects of the abuse; all it did was remove them from the immediate danger even though that is the immediate concern sometimes.
Now that we have made these recent changes our goal is to work on gathering the people and resources necessary to strengthen the family unit whether that means counseling or parental instruction or family mentoring in some manner. There’s an old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, I’d like to change that to, “It takes a village to make a family strong.” We have to work together, not just to prevent abuse but to help struggling families learn how to overcome their problems. Some problems come from the trials of life; some problems come from making bad choices; some problems come from hurtful people. But, what is better for the child in the focus of their whole life? Is it better to just remove them from danger, possibly never to see parents again? Or is it better to come alongside the family and help them to realize that life can be better if we work together and help them figure out what went wrong and how it can be overcome? We need to teach children what a healthy family atmosphere looks and feels like in some way. Will this solve every abuse problem? No, it won’t. But, for the sake of the children I believe we need to try in situations that we can determine are salvageable as well as work in the unsalvageable situations to help the children overcome the terrible events in their lives that were not their responsibility or their fault. If we don’t teach them then how will they learn how not to repeat their own childhood?
There was a time in society when communities joined together to help one another in very personal ways. Neighbors thought nothing of helping one another by watching out for each others’ children at play. Your neighbor’s child’s safety was as important as the safety of your own child whether it was protecting them from accidents or protecting them from a person who meant them harm. Neighbors looked out for one another’s property when they were away from home or when there was bad weather. Much of today’s society has come to be more of a survival of the fittest where everyone looks out for themselves.
I’d like to think our community is more like the former description. I believe if we work together to put together the resources of the whole community to help families at risk then we can do more than simply remove children from the abusive situation. I think we can help families learn how to cope with their problems, whether they are financial, or emotional or behavioral. We’ve already seen much success by the changes we’ve made over the last two years and I believe we will see more success as we move forward with the plans we have in place and with new ideas that may come from our continued collaboration. I believe that as we work together with this new focus of strengthening the family we will see the fruit of our labors through lower numbers of child abuse cases that go through our legal system and social services. I believe we can help these struggling families grow healthier and stronger and that kind of community growth is contagious.
Thank you for your part in this community wide effort to strengthen the family. We couldn’t do this without each and every one of you and thank you again for this award. It only strengthens my belief in this community’s desire to help strengthen families.
Content Last Modified on 3/28/2013 1:41:34 PM