Jacksonville, FL – March 21, 2017 – It is a happy homecoming for the New Executive Director of The Exchange Club Family Center, Barbara Alexander. Alexander is familiar with the job – she had it from 2001 through 2005, when the organization was called First Coast Family Center. Now she returns to inspire and motivate the organization, and help guide the Exchange Club Family Center to new growth.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to have Barbara back,” says Amanda Rolfe, Board President of Exchange Club Family Center. “She has extensive experience in working with multiple philanthropic organizations which will prove extremely valuable as she carries her vison for the Exchange Club Family Center forward,” added Rolfe.
Alexander left Jacksonville in 2005 to become CEO of The Greater Chattanooga Area American Red Cross, where she led a team to provide humanitarian services to 11 counties in Southeast Tennessee. She was instrumental in turning around the chapter through major reorganization, increased fundraising, securing grants, and recruiting a highly engaged board of directors.
Prior to her work with the Exchange Club Family Center, Alexander’s professional work history included child abuse investigations, supervisor of an investigations unit in Clay County, before going into nonprofit management. She has over 15 years nonprofit management experience, including her time with Greater Chattanooga Area American Red Cross, the Family Nurturing Center of Florida, and First Coast Family Center, both in Jacksonville.
Alexander has one son, Tony Alexander, who attended UNF and now resides in Chattanooga. She begins her new position with the Exchange Club Family Center on March 22, 2017.
Conference on Human Trafficking Held to Combat 'modern-day Slavery'
Despite a wave of momentum in Northeast Florida to identify and protect survivors of human trafficking, the need for services to support victims is still catching up to the demand.
The Exchange Club Family Center hosted its annual child-abuse prevention conference on Wednesday, bringing dozens of area counselors, social workers, nonprofits and government officials together with experts to learn more about the link between human trafficking and child abuse.
The dialogue in the round table and panel discussions mostly focused on women and girls in sex trafficking, but included the lesser-talked-about problems of male victims and labor trafficking.
“Let’s call it what it is: It’s modern-day slavery,” said panelist Crystal Freed, an attorney, noting that slavery looks different than it did centuries ago. “We don’t see the chains that bind. … These victims are often chained to their traffickers in many ways.”
The state Department of Children and Families investigated 1,225 cases of suspected trafficking in 2015, said Marina Anderson, regional human trafficking coordinator for DCF. Of those, Anderson said, approximately 200 were in Northeast Florida and just under 100 were in Duval County.
Lt. K.S. Goff of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said the department made 43 arrests for trafficking and that there were 24 federal indictments last year.
Florida’s Safe Harbor Act took effect in 2013 to prevent children who are in the sex trade from being prosecuted and instead provides them with needed support services.
“That is one of the best things the state of Florida has ever done, to give these victims the right to be seen as victims and not as criminals,” said Sarah Markman-Sayar, vice president of operating services for Family Support Services. “It is not a choice to prostitute at 14 or 15 years old. … They are victimized in some way to be a part of that lifestyle.”
Goff said the Sheriff’s Office’s last three cases involved juvenile victims. Trafficking cases usually have a drug connection and often try to get their victims hooked on drugs, he said. And, increasingly, traffickers are women, and even close relatives of their victims, he said.
Getting victims into the support services that they need remains difficult. Freed said victims often feel an “incredible amount of shame” that comes with what they’ve been made to do.
“They don’t self-identify,” she said. “It takes a while for them to realize they’re even a victim.”
Melissa Teferra, licensed clinical supervisor for the community action team at Child Guidance Center, said trafficking victims are very oppositional and don’t comply with services. They have a hard time trusting people, push their providers away and deny they’ve been through trauma at all.
“You really have to take a long time to see beyond what they’re saying,” Teferra said.
There are five safe houses in the state, but none of them are located in Jacksonville, Markman-Sayar said. These safe houses only serve female victims. Anderson said DCF is seeing more and more male victims — about 15 percent of cases investigated — and it remains “very difficult” to find safe placements for them.
Michelle Clowe, the anti-trafficking program manager for World Relief Jacksonville, said her organization has helped settled 33 victims of trafficking locally. They’re both men and women, victims of labor and sex trafficking. They are first granted temporary legal status when they agree to participate in the prosecution of their trafficker, and can later be granted permission to bring their minor children to the United States, she said.
“It’s a long process, but it’s so rewarding,” she said.
SIGNS OF TRAFFICKING AND WAYS TO FIGHT IT:
• A child running away makes him or her susceptible to being trafficked. Children returning from running away and returning with new tattoos of diamonds, stars, dollar signs or a name on their neck or chest are a sign they may be trafficked. They also may return with new items, like clothes or jewelry, they cannot afford on their own. • To report suspected human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at (888) 373-7888. • To report suspect child abuse and trafficking in Florida, call the Florida Abuse Hotline at (800) 962-2873. • Calls to the hotlines are confidential and no one outside the agency will know who made the report.
April marks National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
In Duval County, there were 2,471 reports of child abuse last year. That includes reports of neglect, physical and sexual abuse combined.
Out of the 735 children who were removed and sent to Foster Care in that same time period, 307 were removed due to neglect, physical abuse or sexual abuse.
We begin the hour with a closer look at two important events coming up in our area, focused on protecting kids, spotting the signs of abuse, and also the link between child abuse and human trafficking.
Dr. Randall Alexander, program director of the Pediatric Child Abuse Fellowship UF Health, and Dr. Richard Lapchick, global humans rights activist, join us.
Dr. Alexander will present at UF Health's upcoming "Child Abuse and Neglect: A Training Program for Professionals in the Field" seminar. Dr. Lapchick will be one of the keynote speakers at the Exchange Club Family Center's annual Child Abuse Conference and Luncheon this week.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month Exchange Club Family Center Hosts Region’s Top Child Abuse Prevention Advocates; Connecting The Dots To Prevent Child Abuse Conference, April 20, 2016
Jacksonville, FL – April 7, 2016 – April is Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Month, so consider the fact that there were 2,471 reports of child abuse in Duval County from Oct. 2014-September 2015 - that includes reports of neglect, physical and sexual abuse combined (FosteringCourtImprovement.org). It is important that those who work with children, whether teachers, social workers, or coaches, understand and recognize the warning signs of child abuse.
The Exchange Club Family Center of Northeast Florida is proud to focus their 23rd annual child abuse prevention conference on the link between Child Abuse & Human Trafficking. The Connecting The Dots To Prevent Child Abuse Conference & Luncheon will take place April 20, 2016, at the Jacksonville Marriott, Salisbury Road from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
“For 23 years, The Exchange Club Family Center has worked within this community to strengthen families in Northeast Florida. With this conference, we hope to educate our community to prevent child abuse and neglect, as well as to shine a light on Child Abuse Prevention and Human Trafficking Prevention efforts in Northeast Florida," said Prudence Williams, Program Director, The Exchange Club Family Center.
Featuring speakers and panelists who are on the frontline of child abuse prevention, the conference will educate, inspire and support those who work with children, whether they are teachers, social workers, law enforcement, coaches or others. Attendees will also earn continuing education credits (4.5 CEUs).
Dr. Richard Lapchick, our keynote speaker, will discuss the Connections Between Child Abuse And Human Trafficking. Dr. Lapchick is a renowned human rights activist, creator of the NCAS Shut Out Trafficking initiative on college campuses in the U.S., professor at The University of Central Florida, and director of the university’s DeVos Sport Management Program. (More)
Panels and Discussion Sessions include:
• Child Abuse and Human Trafficking Awareness & Prevention • How We Combat Child Abuse and Human Trafficking In Jacksonville - A Roundtable Discussion With The Experts • Immigration and International Human Trafficking
Early Registration Ticket Prices Have Been Extended Through April 13: Tickets for the full day conference and luncheon are $100 ($145 After April 13). You can attend the luncheon only for $50 ($65 After April 13), or either the morning or afternoon session (no luncheon) for $25 ($40 after April 13).
Media are welcome. To register for the conference, or for more information, visit www.exchangeclubfamilycenter.com. ABOUT ECFC For 23 years, The Exchange Club Family Center of Northeast Florida has offered free, in-home Parent Aide services to at-risk families across Jacksonville’s First Coast to deter child abuse and strengthen families.
Lead Letter: Working Together to Prevent Child Abuse
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Across Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, organizations work diligently to stop child abuse and to help children and families make it through and overcome abuse.
As I take the reins as incoming board president for The Exchange Club Family Center of Northeast Florida, I want to highlight our efforts to stop child abuse in Northeast Florida in the best way possible — by preventing it from happening.
For 23 years, The Exchange Club Family Center of Northeast Florida has provided in-home, parent-aid services to families that are at risk of child abuse.
Families are identified as at-risk by the Florida Department of Children and Families and are then referred to our program.
Our social workers meet one-on-one with parents to teach them non-violent and nurturing parenting skills. And they work with the parents until those skills become second nature and children are out of potential danger.
These efforts would not be possible without the work and determination of Jack Morison, our outgoing board president. During his tenure, Jack headed up efforts to raise money and donations to make our organization run. With Jack’s help and guidance, we have been able to help thousands of families in Northeast Florida.
On April 20, we will host our 23rd Annual Child Abuse Prevention Luncheon and Conference at the Jacksonville Marriott, Salisbury Road.
The Connecting the Dots to Prevent Child Abuse initiative will focus on child abuse and human trafficking prevention in Northeast Florida.
Organizations and non-profits on the front lines of prevention will come together to share what they are doing to fight both.
For information on the April 20 conference, you can visit www.exchangeclubfamilycenter.com.
We hope you will join us to learn more about what is being done here in Jacksonville to prevent child abuse.
We also hope you will help recognize the many organizations here in Jacksonville who help prevent child abuse and human trafficking, including: Florida Department of Children & Families, Family Support Services, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Child Guidance Center, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Her Song, Rethreaded and many more.
Without their efforts, many children would suffer needlessly.
Amanda Rolfe, president Exchange Club Family Center of Northeast Florida
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Exchange's National Project: The Prevention of Child Abuse
Through the evidence-based Exchange Parent Aide model, The National Exchange Club has demonstrated a clear and unwavering commitment to preventing child abuse and strengthening families across the country. Studies have shown that child abuse and domestic violence are not mutually exclusive, nor are they exclusive to any particular race, culture or socioeconomic status.
Our Nation has been bluntly reminded by actions within the NFL that the damage and effects of family violence are devastating - physically, psychologically and emotionally. 15.5 million children in the United States live in families in which partner violence occurred at least once in the past year, and 31% (1 in 3) children who witnessed partner violence reported being physically abused themselves.
The National Exchange Club is calling on the National Football League, and its players, families, all NFL-related associations, and communities across the United States to take a firm stance against family violence. Exchange has reached out to NFL leaders to offer education and assistance through the Exchange Parent Aide model, and we will continue to do so.
Exchange's Mission, working to make our communities better places to live, reaches beyond simple geographic borders and recognizes a community as a unified body of individuals. The NFL is, in fact, a community where Exchange can make a difference, and where our National Project - the prevention of child abuse - has a place.
Congratulations! Exchange Club Receives Accreditation
The Exchange Club Family Center of Jacksonville, FL. recently achieved accreditation through the Standards of Operation and Practice (SOP). This Center is currently accredited at a AA level! The Standards were developed through a collaborative effort between Exchange Club center directors and the National Exchange Club and serves as a guide to sound management and best practice for our network of child abuse prevention centers. As a part of accreditation, seven areas are considered: Commitment to Mission; Financial Resource Planning and Management; Human Resources; Networking Resources; Organizational Resources; Program Practices, and Program Evaluation.
The Evaluation/Accreditation Committee congratulates this outstanding center for its achievement!
Give and Go 100 is your chance to get the best deal on Jaguars tickets in town while supporting your favorite charity! For every ticket you purchase to any of the Jaguars 2014 preseason and regular season home games through the secure Give and Go 100 site, you automatically donate $10 to Northeast Florida Exchange Club Center for Prevention of Child Abuse. Once the organization has sold 25 tickets, your $10 donation will be matched dollar for dollar for their WeGive.org project, instantly doubling your impact! And even better, once Northeast Florida Exchange Club Center for Prevention of Child Abuse sells 100 tickets, the match becomes a 3-to-1 deal, which means it could make up to $30 per ticket purchased!
In addition, your donation is being matched dollar-for-dollar and sent to fund this nonprofit's project on WeGive.org, an online site to help nonprofits connect with the community.
Give and Go 100 is a partnership of the Nonprofit Center, the Jacksonville Jaguars, The Jaguars Foundation, the DuBow Family Foundation, and WeGive.org. Only tax-exempt 501c3 organizations located in and serving Northeast Florida can participate. Visit our FAQ to learn more.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 22nd Annual 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Jacksonville Marriott 4670 Salisbury Road 32256 Honor Local Child Abuse Prevention Advocates and Earn CEUs
Spring Campaign Kicks Off Child Abuse Prevention Month
The Exchange Club Family Center is proud to announce several activities to support the prevention of child abuse in our community with special events kicking off in March and April.
Board Members and volunteers for the Exchange Club will plant pinwheels at their downtown center on March 27 th at 9am. The pinwheel planting is hosted annually to launch the Pinwheels for Prevention Program which uses pinwheels to remind us of childlike notions and to reinforce the goal of giving all children the chance to live a healthy, happy and full life.
“We hope the community will support the Exchange Club Family Center as we join in efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect of children and to strengthen families in Jacksonville and in our Nation," said Prudence Williams, Program Director, The Exchange Club Family Center.
The Exchange Club Family Center of Northeast Florida recently hosted its 20th Annual Child Abuse Prevention Luncheon and Conference with support from the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation. This year’s luncheon and conference raised more than $75,000 in support of the Exchange Club Family Center – an organization dedicated to preventing child abuse in Jacksonville by providing in-home services to parents struggling with abusive tendencies.
“The funds raised from the conference will allow us to continue to empower parents to learn nonviolent, nurturing parenting skills,” said Exchange Club Family Center Program Director Prudence Williams. “We cannot thank the Jaguars Foundation and all of our event sponsors, speakers and attendees enough for their support.”
Program Director Prudence Williams Profiled in Florida Doctor Magazine
Exchange Club Family Center Featured in Florida Times-Union to Shed Light on Child Abuse Prevention Efforts
$10,000 Jaguars Foundation Grant Will Help Exchange Club Family Center Prevent Child Abuse
The Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation recently pledged $10,000 to support the child abuse prevention initiatives of the Exchange Club Family Center of Northeast Florida. The grant will be used to increase community awareness of the organization’s child abuse prevention program and to enrich fundraising efforts so more at-risk families can be taught how to avert abusive behaviors and use effective parenting skills.
“We’re grateful to the Jaguars Foundation for its commitment to end child abuse in our community,” Morison said. “This grant will go a long way in letting families know there is a resource out there that can help them develop nurturing households for their children.”
“Child abuse affects more local families than people realize,” said Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation President Peter Racine. “We’re proud to support the Exchange Club Family Center, and more importantly, the children and families who will be served through this project.”
Jaguars Foundation Donates Food Baskets to Help Families in Need
The Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation recently donated 25 food baskets to the Exchange Club Family Center of Northeast Florida to help at-risk First Coast families during the holiday season.
The Exchange Club Family Center works to prevent child abuse by strengthening families through its Parent Aide program. Participants in this program received the donated baskets filled with fresh fruit and vegetables as well as canned goods.