ANDRUS launched a public education campaign to raise awareness in the community about the effects of childhood adversity, along with a White Paper showing at least 66% of Yonkers children likely experienced at least one of ten forms of adversity such as parental divorce, family substance use or physical abuse.
The multi-year effort seeks to educate teachers, parents, social service providers, religious leaders and first responders about how to recognize adversity in children and ensure that effective protection and treatment services are provided.
ANDRUS has organized a series of town hall-style meetings with high-level stakeholders in the community, including school principals, business leaders, social and human service providers, clergy and other local leaders. Each meeting will feature a 60-minute presentation on the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study and its applicability to the children and future of Yonkers.
“The ACE Study points to a serious and potentially tragic public health crisis for thousands of children in Yonkers who have experienced sustained and ‘toxic’ stress. According to the study’s findings, as many as 30,000 children in Yonkers potentially live with the impacts of this level of stress which could lead to poor health outcomes in the future,” said Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “Andrus’ commitment to address this crisis -- through education and advocacy -- is commendable and important. I look forward to partnering with them to help improve the lives of our children.”
The new White Paper by ANDRUS, entitled The Public Health Crisis Facing Yonkers Children, estimates that of the 45,600 children in Yonkers, 30,000 of them, by the age of 18, will likely experience some form of adversity, and 23% of them will likely experience chronic adversity.
Other key findings of the report include that by age 18:
• Approximately 11% of children in Yonkers will experience physical abuse
• An estimated 26% of children in Yonkers will grow up in homes with substance abuse
• An estimated 13% of children in Yonkers will witness domestic violence
• Approximately 22% of children in Yonkers will be sexually abused
• Approximately 3% of children in Yonkers will have a parent who is imprisoned
“Community organizations like ANDRUS provide an immeasurable service to the children and families of Yonkers,” said Mayor Spano. “It is vital that we counter childhood adversity with awareness, education and guidance. ANDRUS is taking the necessary step to ensure the well-being and future of our children, and the City thanks them for their commitment.”
Andrus’ research looked at the findings of the groundbreaking ACE study, which found that children who experience childhood maltreatment are more likely to be at risk for poor health outcomes. The report estimates the following:
• Over 2,000 teenagers will likely either become pregnant or father a child before age 18
• About 2,000 girls and 1,000 boys will likely battle lifelong chronic depression
• Almost 1,500 will likely attempt suicide at some point in their lives
• Over 1,000 will likely struggle with adult alcoholism
• Approximately 1,200 are likely to have serious job problems, including difficulty holding a job due to high absenteeism
• Over 2,300 will likely be the victim of a sexual assault or rape
• Over 1,000 will likely suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
• Over 200 will likely use intravenous drugs
“Understanding that how we treat children today will impact our society tomorrow is very important to the overall wellness and future of our City,” said Nancy Ment, President and CEO of ANDRUS. “ANDRUS is committed to working with our many partners throughout Yonkers to raise awareness of this issue, and we’re honored to have the support of Superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools Bernard P. Pierorazio and Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano as we launch this important initiative.”
With sites throughout Westchester County, ANDRUS serves 2,500 children and families each year from the New York Metropolitan area. ANDRUS also operates the Andrus Center for Learning and Innovation (ACLI) and The Sanctuary Institute, which has provided training and consultation to over 200 organizations worldwide in the use of a trauma-sensitive model for treatment and organizational change.