Supporting a Professional Environment

The Kids First Fund has enjoyed tremendous success with its series of educational seminars. Clearly, the need exists to reach professionals involved with child abuse issues such as social workers, schoolteachers and police officers. The social work profession needs educational support to increase overall standards of social work and to promote awareness of methods of identifying and treating abused children and women.

Similar to social workers, schoolteachers often represent an early opportunity to identify cases of abuse. They become aware of abuse by observing behavior that may include physical trauma. An interest in mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse appears to exist in Latvia. Future legislation may someday include mandatory reporting by teachers and doctors. Beyond the obvious benefits, it would be helpful to have the teaching profession support this initiative. Education and awareness are effective methods to ensure their future support.

Other professionals such as police officers are critical to the process of protecting children and women from abuse. As with any profession, some officers will become pioneers in the prevention of abuse. This was made apparent by the participation of the police at every seminar location. This group appeared eager for attention, resources and training. Continuous attention, along with cultural changes, will help make protection of children and women more of an expectation on behalf of the police and the communities they serve.