O.U.R. Children’s
Safety Network Expands

Observing, Understanding, and Responding  (O.U.R.)™ to Child Abuse and Neglect for children who are deaf/hard of hearing has now expanded from a CO H&V chapter pilot to a national effort, thanks to the support and perseverance of Dr. Harold Johnson at Michigan State University, also a board member of the national/international organization of Hands & Voices™.

Based on a ‘community of learners’ approach with the CO H&V Guide By Your Side Program, the O.U.R. Children’s Safety Network now includes members from over 15 state Hands & Voices chapters. The group meets once a month to discuss ideas for disseminating information, educating, and ultimately making an impact in reducing the number of children who are d/hh and subject to child abuse and neglect.

Hotline Specifically for D/HH Population

One of the accomplishments of this project is partnering with ChildHelp.org and the creation of a toll-free number specifically for support for children who are deaf/hh.  This number can be called by anyone anonymously who needs information/support about a particular situation.  The number is 1-800-222-4453. 

If, as a parent, you are feeling overwhelmed:

Other reasons one might consider calling the hotline:

New Project on the Horizon:  “Bright Spots”

The O.U.R. Children’s Safety Network has recently begun a new project to expand the impact of its work, aptly named, “Bright Spots”. This project has begun a search for 100 Individuals to serve as “Bright Spots” members of a community of learners for the protection & success of our children. The following is a description of the efforts of this project and opportunities for involvement.

Reality: Children with disabilities are two, to three times more likely to experience to abuse and/or neglect than their nondisabled peers. This experience significantly impairs their health, learning, language, social behavior, and academic performance. 

Problem: While a great deal is known regarding the causes, indicators, impact, and prevention of childhood abuse and neglect, most children, parents, and professionals are ill prepared to prevent, observe, understand, or respond to possible incidences of abuse and/or neglect. 

Solution: The identification of 100 community leaders to serve as “Bright Spots,” i.e., respected and trusted individuals who participate in a community of learners to share, gather, and develop the knowledge, skills, and programs needed to increase awareness, enhance communication, and establish programs for the protection and success of our children. 

Strategy:  Ask three questions of three individuals that you trust and respect within your community, e.g., a parent, teacher, counselor, administrator, social worker, etc.

Identify those individuals that provided a credible response to one or more of the questions.  Send the names and contact information of the identified individuals to the “Bright Spot” Project Directors, i.e., Harold Johnson/Michigan State University ( 3hajohnson@gmail.com) and Janet DesGeorges/Hands & Voices (janet@handsandvoices.org).  Harold and Janet will then contact the individuals regarding becoming a “Bright Spot.”

*A collaborative project of:  Hands & Voices; Association of College Educators–Deaf/Hard of Hearing; Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf; National Center for Hearing Assessment & Management; Childhelp.org; & National Exchange Club Foundation.