Heart to heart summary for isbe prevention initiative programs welcome to Heart to Heart

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The Ounce of Prevention Fund
Welcome to Heart to Heart

The Ounce of Prevention Fund cordially welcomes you to this innovative sexual abuse prevention program enhancement. Comprised of three elements- technical assistance, training, and curriculum- Heart to Heart was first developed by the Ounce in1987 to help teen mothers learn how they can protect their children from sexual abuse. The curriculum development followed a statewide survey conducted in 1986, indicating that 61% of the 445 Illinois teen mothers who took part in the survey had been forced to have an unwanted sexual experience at some time in their lives. After 20 years of implementation in Illinois home visiting programs, Heart to Heart underwent a major retooling and revision in 2008 including the development of parent-child activities, ice-breakers, and a video.

Heart to Heart builds on participants’ inherent strengths and reinforces their desire to be effective and nurturing parents. Specific objectives include:

  • Increasing knowledge of child sexual abuse prevalence and risk factors;

  • Enhancing positive parenting skills and communication skills;

  • Developing awareness of child sexual abuse response and treatment options;

  • Increasing knowledge of healthy relationship attributes;

  • Empowering teen moms to inform others about child sexual abuse through community outreach;

  • Enabling teen parents to draw on community resources for continued support and information related to sexual abuse.

In May of 2011, the Ounce offered Heart to Heart program scholarships for the first time to Prevention Initiative programs with support from the Illinois State Board of Education. The Ounce is continuing this partnership with ISBE, exploring program development options in Prevention Initiative program settings.

Technical assistance is provided to program leadership in determining readiness and planning options for implementation, identifying staff to attend training, preparing the team and responding to questions regarding implementation.
Scholarships for PI programs will cover the $1,500 program fee, and includes technical assistance, a two-day training, Facilitator Guides, Handbooks for 10 participants (possibly more pending availability), the Heart to Heart video, and an Activity CD.

Heart to Heart is designed to be interactive and engaging, with games, discussion, ice breakers and parent-child activities for each unit. The following group design elements are considered essential for successful implementation of Heart to Heart:

  1. Co-facilitators: For group implementation, Heart to Heart is led by two co-facilitators who receive specialized training in curriculum implementation.

  1. Referral resources: Programs who implement Heart to Heart maintain relationships with domestic violence and sexual assault service providers who may provide counseling for participants, and consultation for program staff if needed.

  1. Child Abuse Response and Reporting Protocol: Each program implementing Heart to Heart develops a plan for responding to disclosures of abuse, including procedures for child abuse reporting.

  1. Journaling: Participants practice journaling in each session as a form of creative self-expression.

  1. Community Project: Together group members plan and carry out a community project involving outreach and education focused on child abuse prevention.

Unit Topics
Unit 1: Express Yourself! Provides an overview of Heart to Heart and encourages creative self-expression. Ice breakers and parent-child activities are introduced and continue through all units.

Unit 2: Let’s Talk about Sex: Encourages frank discussion about sex, including the correct names for sexual body parts, and child sexual development. Introduces the practice of journaling, which will continue at the close of each unit.

Unit 3: Child Sexual Abuse 101: Provides basic information about child sexual abuse via video and activities. Introduces planning for the community project.

Unit 4: Protecting Your Child: Offers concrete strategies for safe care planning and for responding to potential child sexual abuse concerns via video and activities.

Unit 5: Intuition and Safety Tips: Encourages parents to trust their intuition about unsafe people and situations

Unit 6: Nurturing Self-esteem: Provides strategies for parents to help their children feel loved and enhance self-esteem from birth.

Unit 7: Communicating with Care: Offers tips for communicating with infants, toddlers and preschoolers, highlighting the importance of open communication in sexual abuse prevention.

Unit 8: Respectful Parenting: Encourages reflection on respectful and disrespectful parenting practices, including anger management, via role plays and activities

Unit 9: You Call this Love? Provides information about abusive relationships, and how to access help and support if needed. Connects domestic violence with risk of child sexual abuse.

Unit 10: Circle of Support: Encourages identification of healthy relationships and building of a positive support system for the mom and child.

Unit 11: Personal Power: Focuses on empowerment and goal-setting.

Unit 12: Love Yourself, Love Your Baby: Allows for reflection on the Heart to Heart experience with tips for self-care and relaxation.

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