Connections Matter is an initiative designed to engage community members in building caring connections to improve well-being. Research shows that communities connected through caring relationships have better physical and mental health, increased workplace productivity and school success, and less crime and homelessness. Greater social connectedness also strengthens families from the start to reduce the likelihood that child abuse will occur.
The Connections Matter initiative is led by Prevent Child Abuse in collaboration with partners statewide. It responds to data that reveals child abuse and household dysfunction is common among Iowans and a major indicator of higher rates of chronic disease, mental illness, risky behaviors and reduced life expectancy among adults. Read the 2016 Iowa Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Report.
More than 400 presenters in Iowa have been trained to deliver the Connections Matter message and groups are initiating efforts to promote connections within organizations and communities. Visit Connections Matter to request a presentation or access the awareness toolkit.
Community-Based Prevention Response to ACEs
Connections Matter builds off a project that uses the ACEs research to raise the level of commitment to child abuse prevention in Iowa communities. Prevent Child Abuse Iowa has worked with 10 communities since 2013.
Each team worked with PCA Iowa to complete a community readiness assessment using an evidence-based model developed at Colorado State University. The assessment measured the level of awareness and readiness to address ACEs through child abuse prevention in six dimensions: efforts, knowledge of efforts, leadership, climate, knowledge of the issue and resources.
Community Readiness Assessment Reports:
Using the results of this assessment, teams have developed a strategic action plan to raise the level of readiness in their communities. All ten communities have been implementing activities to raise awareness and engagement in child abuse prevention using The ACE Study results, with ongoing evaluation and support from PCA Iowa.
Hornby Zeller Associates, Inc. examined the original six sites' efforts from 2014-2015 and identified lessons learned and best practices. These results provide insight into how other communities might implement a similar model and how groups can begin to raise greater awareness of child abuse prevention using The ACE Study results. Read the full report.
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