Statement issued Friday:
FORT WAYNE, Indiana. (Sept 9, 2011) – SCAN, Inc., (Stop Child Abuse and Neglect) announced today the founding of the Joan Sherman Program for Resilient Children, thanks to a $534,930 donation from former SCAN volunteer and board member Joan Sherman. A former Fort Wayne resident, Sherman now lives in the New York City area.
Sherman’s gift, which will be donated over 5 years, is the largest private donation SCAN has received in its 37-year history.
The Joan Sherman Program for Resilient Children will provide resources and staff training to further develop resiliency services and a site for collaborative research with the Devereux Center for Resilient Children, a nationally-recognized nonprofit leader in behavioral health.
Research shows children who have been traumatized can be taught specific resiliency skills that help them adapt and recover from the trauma. Devereux has developed scientifically-validated resiliency assessment and behavioral screening tools which are used with families in SCAN’s Family Restoration Division. Family Restoration serves those Allen County families who have already crossed the line of abuse and neglect and are referred by the courts and the Allen County Department of Child Services.
Sherman, who began her long-time career in banking after leaving home at age 18, was a victim of child abuse while growing up in Michigan. “Children who grow up in an environment where abuse and neglect are an everyday part of life do not have to live their lives, even after becoming adults, in chaos and pain. Some children seem to find some inner strength that helps them find their way, many times much better than their own siblings who have been subjected to the same daily trauma and tensions. Through the proper tools, we can help children find and develop those small seeds of resiliency so their past does not have to be their future. What better way to help children than to help them help themselves?
We are most thrilled and honored to be able to work with SCAN in these endeavors, because we believe there is no better champion for children anywhere,” Sherman said.
“Having the opportunity to help develop a program working with SCAN by researching the effects of resiliency training for children and their families is a very powerful and lasting legacy of the success my husband, Don, and I have enjoyed in our business lives and through the joys we have experienced with our families and friends,” Sherman added.
The mission of SCAN is to eliminate child abuse and neglect through family services, education and community partnerships. In 2010, SCAN directly touched the lives of 27,143 children and adults through a spectrum of Prevention services and through Family Restoration. More than 450 unduplicated families were served in Family Restoration last year.
“In my 27 years working in the area of child abuse, I can only remember one other time when I felt there was a window of opportunity that could make a major difference in the life of child who had been abused or neglected,” said SCAN Executive Director Rachel Tobin-Smith. The opportunity to teach our child victims the protective factors that will build their resiliency is a vast window of opportunity,” “It is even more valuable because we are going to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of our resiliency tools and strategies.
“It is very exciting to realize that this could have major, lasting effects on the arena of child abuse prevention and intervention services,” Tobin-Smith acknowledged. “SCAN is indeed deeply grateful to Joan for her vision and commitment to SCAN and to Joan and Don for this generous gift to SCAN and the community at large.”
Sherman and Tobin-Smith pointed out the goal is to leverage additional dollars from the community to help underwrite cost of supervised visits not reimbursed by the state. “Each $18 ensures the visits will continue and that the children have the opportunity to benefit from the curriculum used in the Joan Sherman Program for Resilient Children,” said Tobin-Smith.
In 2010, 60 percent of families completing Family Restoration services were able to improve parenting skills and the home environment to the level their children could return home safely. SCAN’s data show 91 percent of families who completed the Family Restoration program have not returned to services because of a new charge of abuse or neglect of a child.
For more information on SCAN and the programs and services offered, visit www.scaninc.org.