2018 NEWSLETTERS

Archive

SPOTLIGHT

November 2018

The BIG Picture

  • Winter coats and car seats can be a dangerous combinationExperts at the American Academy of Pediatrics and NHTSA recommend no coats or bulky clothing should be worn in car seats. Car seat technicians also say to put nothing thicker than a sweatshirt on your child under the harness straps of a car seat.

  • The US waived FBI checks on staff at a migrant camp in Texas.  The ramifications for neglecting, at minimum, to appropriately and rigorously background check employees and staff who work with and come into contact with children, especially children as vulnerable as those in migrant camps, are horrifying.  No matter what your stance is on immigration, keeping children safe should be a priority.  Has the organization, team, or school that your child attends or participates in background checked their employees?  Have they ensured that they have policies in place to keep children safe?  Contact Ralston House to set up a free training to learn how your child's group can ensure that they are taking steps to keep your child safe from abuse.

RALSTON House

Ralston House relies on funds from corporate and individual contributors like yourself to continue work toward our mission to stop the abuse and start the healing for children and youth in our community.  We raise funds through Colorado Gives Day scheduled for Tuesday, December 4.  Colorado Gives Day is a citywide campaign to give where you live to organizations that impact your community. 

  • Schedule your Colorado Gives Day donation to Ralston House today or make your donation to Ralston House on Colorado Gives Day.  

We'll be at locations in your community on Colorado Gives Day so you can invite your friends to join you in giving to Ralston House and in making a difference in the lives of children affected by abuse. Come visit us.

  • Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern - The Orchard Town Center, 14613 Orchard Parkway, Thornton, CO

  • Bar Louie - Belmar Shopping Center, 7111 W Alaska Dr in Lakewood, CO

  • Bad Daddy's Burger Bar - Arvada Centerplace Shopping Center, 7450 B W 52nd Ave, Arvada, CO

  • Bad Daddy's Burger Bar - FlatIron Crossing Mall, 1 W Flatiron Crossing Dr., Broomfield, CO

  • Bad Daddy's Burger Bar - Northglenn, 100 E 120th Ave, Northglenn, CO

GOOD Vibes + BAD Vibes

GOOD

Ralston House is still on-target to provide 1,400 children and youth with forensic interviews this year.  Children and youth will receive these neutral and unbiased interviews in a safe and welcoming environment designed to ensure that they are not retraumatized in telling their story.

BAD

The vast majority of parents home schooling children do it with good intentions and good results.  But for a small minority, home schooling is not about learning, but rather an easy - and unchallenged - means to hide abuse.

SPOTLight

Each month, we ask a question.  This month, we ask Victim Advocate Volunteer, Lorraine why she volunteers?  

What inspires me to volunteer?

Volunteering "fills my bucket", I leave my volunteer job with a smile and a sense that I've done something good for someone else. 
 

Why Ralston House?

I am a retired teacher and throughout my career I reported many cases of abuse. Protecting children is something I am passionate about, Ralston House and all the people working and volunteering there care deeply for the victims that visit and they work to protect all children. For me it was a natural choice to volunteer at Ralston House.
 

If someone wants to volunteer as a victim advocate volunteer what should they do?

Currently, Ralston House is not accepting new victim advocate volunteers.  If you would like to be considered for a victim advocate volunteer position in the future, visit the website at  www.RalstonHouse.org.  Once accepted, potential volunteers at Ralston House are interviewed and go through a background check as well as a polygraph to be sure that the safest people are working with the families. These are minor inconveniences considering the good you are doing for children and families.

Get Out + DO

Learn

With the tragedies in the news, do you wonder how to talk to children about tragedy?  The American Psychological Association's guide is helpful in talking to children about difficult news

 

Get Involved

If you haven't had a chance to take a look at our wish lists, please visit Amazon or Target, then search, Ralston House to check-out items needed for the newly expanded Ralston House Northglenn site opening this January. 

 

Listen

Listen to this podcast, Believed by NPR, about the disturbing case of sexual assaults by Larry Nassar. More than 150 women and girls came forward this year and said they were sexually abused by one man. The reality is that guys like Larry Nassar don't operate in a vacuum.  Many women and girls reported their abuse to the authorities; many of whom did not investigate the outcries appropriately or listen to the women and girls which allowed for Larry Nassar to continue abusing many more girls and for such a long time.  

The BIG Picture

  • Separating children from their parents isn't a red or blue issue.  It's wrong and is tantamount to child abuse Dr. Colleen Kraft, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics shares.  The New York Times reported last week that 12,800 children are being held in contracted shelters for migrant minors this month. Even a short separation can damage the mental health of a child, and the conditions at some of the centers can harm physical and mental health alike, Kraft said.

RALSTON House

  • Ralston House temporarily closed it's Northglenn location to expedite construction of the near-complete expansion (located on the same property).  Though this means that families and professionals will have to travel to Arvada or Lakewood for a short time, we know that this short-term inconvenience will yield swift and immeasurable benefits for children and families in Adams and Broomfield counties.  We anticipate opening for interviews at the new Northglenn site in December 2018.

  • Despite temporarily closing the Northglenn location, Ralston House remains on target to interview more than 1,400 children in 2018.

  • If you'd like to help Ralston House Fill the House in Northglenn, visit our wishlist at Target or Amazon.

GOOD Vibes + BAD Vibes

GOODRalston House hosted a Hard Hat Tour of our Northglenn construction site for community members, friends of Ralston House and potential supporters in early September.  Moved by the impact that the expansion will bring to children and families, several donors have agreed to sponsor rooms.  Several rooms remain unsold and can be purchased by contacting Ralston House at 720-898-6752.

 

BAD:  In a letter to parents this week, Cherry Creek School District shared that in the wake of three District employees failing to report sexual assault of a student by a teacher they settled a lawsuit for $11.50-million.  *The silver lining is that it has strengthened its mandatory reporting procedures and trained all of its more than 9,000 employees how to identify signs of abuse.

SPOTLIGHT

Each month, we ask a question.  This month, we ask Victim Advocate Janae Moe about the work she does with older persons.

 

Almost 50% of individual with dementia are abused or neglected by their caregivers*

What are common ways that older adults are victimized ?

Older adults are victims of physical and sexual abuse, neglect and financial crimes.  Often these crimes are committed by their caretakers or family members making it hard for the older adult victims to report.   

Why Ralston House?Ralston House conducts a small number of interviews of older adult victims of crime.  Although we're not the experts in the field of older at-risk-adults, we are the experts at forensic interviewing and in collaboration with the District Attorney's office, social services and law enforcement Ralston House is able to

provide our expertise in these instances where older adults are the victim of crime and abuse.  

 

What should I do if someone I know has been a victim of a crime?

If you suspect an older at-risk-adult is the victim of a crime, report it.  Call social services' adult protection unit or law enforcement.  

 

*"Screening for Abuse and Neglect of People with Dementia"

Get Out + DO

Learn

Ask the organizations your child is involved with including school, sports, after school programs, camps, youth group, etc. what training they have received around mandatory reporting, identifying child sex abuse perpetrators patterns and what policies they have in place to keep kids safe.  If they haven't been trained, contact Ralston House for a free two-hour training on mandatory reporting and identifying perpetrator patterns.  Learn more here


Get Involved

Each year, Echter's Garden Center in Arvada hosts a Girls' Night Out event that typically sells out within weeks of tickets going on sale.  Follow Ralston House on Facebook or www.RalstonHouse.org for updates on when tickets go on sale.  This is an event you don't want to miss.  Admission includes the opportunity to sample food and wine from different vendors, and shop for holiday gifts. This year's event is scheduled for Thursday, November 15th.

 

Listen

Have you ever wondered what happens when someone makes a call to report a concern about possible child abuse or neglect?  Watch this short video on Facebook to learn more ... don't forget,  we all play a role in preventing child abuse and neglect.  If you see the signs, call 1-844-CO-4-KIDSYour call is confidential, toll free and can help a child and family.

July 2018

Rachael Denhollander gave a powerful victim impact statement during Larry Nassar trial.

The BIG Picture

  • Rachael Denhollander gave a powerful victim impact statement in the Larry Nassar trial earlier this year.  The video is incredibly powerful.  We encourage you to watch it in its entirety; but to also view the video at 34m 04s when Rachael speaks about what it looks like when people fail to act and take seriously, allegations of abuse.  Reporting suspected child abuse and child sexual abuse is the right thing to do.

​​

RALSTON House

  • Ralston House has hired three new team members this summer, two bilingual, bi-cultural victim advocates to meet the growing demand for services that we are experiencing and a special events associate to help meet the increasing funding needs brought on by this exponential growth.  

  • 53-percent of Ralston House's cases, this year, have originated from the 17th Judicial District (Adams and Broomfield counties), while the Northglenn Ralston House location has been able to accommodate only one-third of our cases.  When the new building is open in late 2018, we anticipate this location will become our busiest.  

GOOD Vibes + BAD Vibes

GOOD:  Pay It Forward.  We've all heard the phrase.  Maybe we've been a part of a pay it forward chain in a drive-through or we've picked up the bill for the person behind us in line at the grocery store.  When a Chicago schoolteacher shared with her seatmate that she was a teacher and the struggles that so many of her students face, the seatmate asked, "what is the most challenging part of your job?"  She responded that seeing the children go without supplies is heart-breaking.  Another passenger who was listening in on the conversation handed the teacher money which started a chain-reaction of giving, as passenger after passenger handed the schoolteacher money for her student's supplies.  How will you pay it forward?

BAD:  We've mentioned in prior Newsletters that Ralston House is on target to see more children than last year.  What is the most challenging part of our job?  Finding funding to meet our commitment to fulfill the growing need for our services in Jefferson, Gilpin, Adams and Broomfield counties.  

SPOTLIGHT

Each month, we ask a question.  This month, new Ralston House team member, Jennifer Kemps to talk about the upcoming .5K Endurance Challenge event on Saturday, August 4.

One Day.  One Race.  

Bringing our communities together to stop child abuse!

I love a challenge!  Tell me about the .5K Endurance Challenge.

The .5K race route is an quick and flat course through the streets of Olde Town Arvada.  On this grueling 1,640 foot long trek around the block, you'll be cheered on by volunteers and passersby before cooling off in the mist provided by Arvada Fire Department.  

Just a little farther up the block, you'll be able to quench your thirst at one of the event's water stations.  Just feet away from the finish line with the end in sight, your adrenaline will be pumping and the last 20-feet of the race will be over in a blink of an eye.  Arvada West High School's Poms Squad will be at the finish line to encourage you through the finish line tape and into the Square to collect your finisher medal.  

Sounds fun!  Wait ... there's more?

Participants are invited to join in all the activities throughout the morning, starting with the Pancake Breakfast (for a donation) that opens at 8:30 a.m. along with registration. Enjoy live music by the Funk Uglies, participate in games, giveaways, face painting, braiding bar, K9 demonstration and lots of fun freebies for the whole family!

I Can Feel Good About Exercise?

Ralston House is celebrating the 12th Annual .5K Endurance Challenge and this is a run/walk/crawl that recognizes the name of each child who has been helped by Ralston House in 2017.  Each participant will receive a bib and will race in support of a special child or teen that came forward to share their story and begin to heal.

Get Out + DO

Learn:  Each year, during the summer, Ralston House posts a lot about making sure to not leave your children alone in a hot car.  "I would never," you might think.  But, "‘Forgotten Baby Syndrome’ is a common memory failure with tragic consequences".  Learn how the research shows that anyone could forget kids in hot cars and then make a plan with your partner/family/caregivers that when their is a change in normal routine, you'll take steps and precautions to mitigate this common memory failure.    

Get Involved:  The internet and YouTube are chock-full of cute videos, inappropriate videos, videos created simply to pass the time and so much more useless information.  Here are 24 YouTube Videos That Will Change How Your Kids See The World, from The Power of Breath to Winning Isn't Everything, all compiled by the blog, "Happy You Happy Family.

Listen:  We've shared in prior Newsletters an informative video about Consent geared towards tweens and teens.  Here is a video targeted toward preschoolers and elementary-aged children called, Consent for Kids.  An important message to share with your children.

May 2018

The BIG Picture

  • If you're #HashtagSavvy​, this is for you.  Be careful with the hashtags that you use to describe your photographs in your posts on social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) as they can be used by perpetrators to sift through the many photos online for specific photos (e.g., bath time photos, etc.).  Let's not make it easier for perpetrators to view the content that they're looking for.  

  • Keeping up with your kids on their social media apps and on their electronic devices is a workout for parents and caregivers.  Here are some parenting apps to help keep an eye on what your kids are doing online.  Even if you can trust your kids online and on electronic devices, can you trust 'the other guy'?​

RALSTON House

  • Construction is underway at Ralston House in Northglenn.  Tune in on Mondays on Facebook for updates on the Northglenn site expansion.  We're at @RalstonHouse on Facebook! ​

  • Ralston House is on target to interview more than 1,300 children in 2018.   

GOOD Vibes + BAD Vibes

GOOD:  ​In May, David Weekley Homes selected Ralston House to donate their time, talent, and energy to help repair, refinish, and revitalize our Lakewood site.  Their subcontractors and team members refinished our hardwood floors, replaced carpet in our children's playroom, parent room, interview rooms, victim advocate and forensic interviewer offices.   They also enlisted their subcontractors' help to build a privacy fence along our property, removing old fencing, tree stumps, and disintegrating railroad ties, and pouring and installing a sidewalk to connect Ralston House's property to each of our neighbors, balancing our HVAC, building cabinets for our recording equipment and installing light fixtures ... just to name a few.  Thank you David Weekley Homes for your generosity!

BAD:  Human trafficking is real.  And it's in our community.  Last year, sex trafficking led the types of trafficking most prevalent in Colorado, with 28% of those trafficked being under age 18 years old.  Ralston House works with the Human Trafficking Task Force to address human trafficking in our community (*humantraffickinghotline.org).  

SPOTLIGHT

Each month, we ask a question.  This month, we ask Victim Advocate Misty Horton, and Deputy District Attorney Christian Gardner-Wood about the work they do to address human trafficking.

24% more survivors of human trafficking reached out to hotlines for help in 2016 over 2015.

Who are the victims of human trafficking?

Christian:

Trafficking victims come from all walks of life.  From poverty and drug addiction to affluent, well-educated suburban households.  It is, and has been a myth that crime, especially human trafficking, only comes from poor inner city areas.  What is most important when thinking about children that are vulnerable or have run away is that they are running from something, not running to this life of commercial sexual exploitation.

We have seen victims of all ages.  However, a strong prevention approach taken in Jefferson and Gilpin counties is to identify high risk juveniles who are at risk for exploitation and therefore many investigations and prosecutions

regarding human trafficking have involved juvenile victims. 

Misty:

It's important to note that human trafficking isn't just sex trafficking; it's labor trafficking, too.  Anyone who is vulnerable is at risk of being exploited.  If someone doesn't have a place to sleep at night or doesn't have a VISA, they are at risk of being exploited.

What measures are set up to address human trafficking in Colorado?

Christian:

Statewide, there is the Human Trafficking Council that is a diverse group of more than 30 people that come together every month to address the problem of HT and develop best practices for prevention, prosecution, and victim support.

What is Ralston House's role in combating Human Trafficking

Misty:

Ralston House, in conjunction with law enforcement, the District Attorney's office, human services and victim advocates, works together on a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) to identify and establish resources for those at risk of being trafficked.  Resources that we work to provide to those at risk include therapy and services to help with recovery if needed.

 

Don Moseley, our Executive Director, is a part of the Colorado Council on human trafficking, while I am a member of the Jefferson County Human Trafficking Sub-Committee.  Ralston House interviews victims of human trafficking and high-risk youth, and through victim advocacy, we work to help them be children again.  We work to help high risk victims connect to long term resources.  

What are some resources we can access to learn more?

Misty:

The Polaris Project is a great resource for those who are seeking additional information.  The presentations that they do in schools is great.  Also, The Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, or known simply as, The Lab is also a great resource.  They're a non-profit that works to connect government agencies.  ​

What can we do to stop human trafficking?

Christian:

Community awareness goes a long way to addressing the problem of human trafficking.  Many times, people will say that they didn't know that human trafficking was happening in their community and are surprised when they find out it is happening right here in Jefferson, Gilpin, Adams and Broomfield counties.  Once people realize that human trafficking occurs, they can be proactive in reporting concerning behavior.  As always, if you see something, say something.  

Further, community partnerships and collaborations are key to addressing this problem.  A key example of this collaboration is the partnership that exists between Ralston House, the district attorney's office, law enforcement and human services to combat human trafficking.

Misty:

A huge piece that is missing from the human trafficking conversation is the people who buy sex.  We talk about pimps a lot and we talk about the victims a lot.  But rarely do we talk about how we can effect change by educating ourselves and our community on the perils and ramifications of buying sex.

Get Out + DO

Learn:  Rocky Mountain PBS News conducted a report on human trafficking right here in Colorado.  Watch this news report for more information.  If you suspect a child is being abused, call 1-844-CO-4-KIDS.  It is our responsibility to keep children safe.     

Get Involved:  Darkness to Light shares, as your child gets older, you won't always be in the room with them at their doctor's appointments.  Help your child navigate these solo medical visits safe and comfortably

Listen:  Tips on how to navigate television and your teens from our friends at Wheat Ridge Police Department.  Season 2 of "13 Reasons Why" has just been released on Netflix.  It's a series about suicide.  Keep an open line of communication between you and your teen if they've seen the show.  Open communication can help reduce misinterpretations and helps facilitate healthy conversations about your child's thoughts and feelings.  Here are some additional talking points.  

March 2018

The BIG Picture

  • Ralston House has partnered with area non-profits and with the City of Westminster to launch a city-wide initiative of the global campaign, Start by Believing, that transforms the way we respond to sexual assault.

  • “We have to be willing to take some risks on behalf of kids, and sometimes that's going to be messy and often that's going to be difficult. But if we don't do that, children are the ones who will suffer," shares Roger Sherman, head of Idaho Children's Trust Fund.  

  • Some of the power structures that created an environment in which people like Larry Nassar are able to prey on young girls are as entrenched as ever.

RALSTON House

  • Ralston House served 113 children, youth, and adults with forensic interviews in February.

  • Ralston House hosted its fourth Ralston House Dinner at 240 Union restaurant in Lakewood on March 11, raising more than $93,000 to provide services to children and youth victims of child abuse in our community.

 

  • In 2017, the Wheat Ridge Police Department coined the hashtag, #PassthePinwheel in support of the Ralston House Pinwheel Garden Campaign which recognizes National Child Abuse Prevention Month each April.  This year, Ralston House is featured on illuminate Colorado's website for our work with Pinwheel Gardens.

GOOD Vibes + BAD Vibes

GOOD:  ​A child came to Ralston House and shared with us that this was the best day of her life.  On one hand, we applaud our volunteer and staff victim advocates and our forensic interviewers for making this child feel so comfortable . . .    

BAD:  On the other hand, a day at Ralston House, sharing her story of abuse, should not have been any child's best day.  

SPOTLIGHT

This month, we broke ground on our Ralston House Northglenn site expansion.  We checked in with Ralston House Board Member and Northglenn Chief of Police, Jim May to discuss the expansion.  

Ralston House broke ground on its Northglenn building site on March 1st. Tell us about that.

On March 1, Ralston House broke ground after a 5-year collaborative effort by Adams County, Aurora, Brighton, City and County of Broomfield, Commerce City, Federal Heights, Northglenn, Thornton, and Westminster. Each of these cities and counties came together for the benefit of the children and youth needing these services and provided financial support towards the construction of a new Ralston House Child Advocacy Center.  The event was touching-with city and county staff coming together with the Ralston House team to celebrate this occasion.

What does this expansion mean to you?

The  new build will take Ralston House Northglenn from a single interview room to three interview rooms and a medical exam room. This new facility will help Ralston House meet the growing needs of children and youth who require these services in Adams and Broomfield counties, which are growing by leaps and bounds.

 

What can we do?

With the construction of the building fully funded by the municipalities in the 17th Judicial District, we are in a unique position in our capitalization campaign-what we've termed our campaign-as we need financial support to fund furniture, fixtures and equipment, not to mention increased staff to meet the demands on two additional interview rooms and a medical room at the Northglenn location. We estimate the need at $540,000 to fund these expenditures that will include: forensic interview staff, victim advocate staff, furniture for three waiting rooms, child play rooms, state-of-the-art equipment for three interview rooms and a medical room. We still have a lot to do and we can use your assistance.  If you're interested in making a donation, please give me a call or contact Ralston House at troesener@arvada.org or at 720-898-6752.

52% of the cases seen at Ralston House in 2017 originated from the 17th Judicial District

(Adams & Broomfield counties)

Learn:  A Kentucky Senate panel heard testimony last week from a woman who says she was coerced into marrying at age 16. She urged lawmakers to pass legislation making marriage only for adults -- and curb an endemic child-marriage problem in the state.  Read more here.     

Get Involved:  April marks National Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Ralston House sells Pinwheel Gardens to recognize this month-long awareness campaign.  To participate in this fundraiser, reserve your garden today.

Listen:  In elementary, middle, and high schools across the U.S., the AP found a shocking level of sexual violence among students.  Listen to this story here.

Get Out + DO

January 2018

The BIG Picture

  • Oftentimes, when children are abused, it is at the hands of someone we have trusted most.  It is vitally important to believe children when they share that they have been abused.   

RALSTON House

  • Ralston House served a record number 1,225 children, youth, and adults with forensic interviews and 93 pediatric sex assault medical examinations in 2017.

  • Ralston House has been viewed as an expert in child victim services and in interviewing at-risk and vulnerable populations. Police, district attorney’s offices, and social service agencies are now turning to us to provide not only forensic interviews for children, but also for elder victims of crime, those with developmental disabilities, and adult survivors of sex assaults who are too traumatized to be interviewed by police.

 

  • Ralston House forensic interviewers received intensive training about strangulation.  They learned different ways to ask questions of children.  The more information we learn from these interviews, the better we know how to ensure a child has proper follow-up treatment, and hold the offenders accountable.

GOOD Vibes + BAD Vibes

GOOD:  ​Increased interviews at Ralston House mean that law enforcement, district attorney’s offices, and social service agencies are continuing to count on us as experts in the field of neutral and forensic (investigative) interviews for children and youth.

BAD:  Increased interviews at Ralston House have increased wait times for scheduling interviews to a week out in some cases (except in cases of emergencies).

 

SPOTLIGHT

Each month, we ask a question.  This month, we ask Executive Director Don Moseley how #MeToo has affected the work at Ralston House.

80% of children initially deny when asked about being abused

#MeToo ​has become the forefront of media reports and news articles. How has this affected your work?

It has given the community perspective on how hard it is for children to tell someone that they are being abused.  #MeToo has allowed people to put themselves into the shoes of professional and successful men and women who have been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted and to really understand how difficult it is to share that they have had these negative experiences.  

How is it harder for children to tell someone that they're being abused?

If sharing a person's story of abuse is hard for adults, it's that much harder for kids who have a power differential with adults.  If a child is being abused by an adult that they trust, or by one who is supposed to protect them or take care of them, it makes it that much harder to share their story; to tell on their caretaker, their coach, or their pastor.  Parents and adults are in positions of power over children and abusers often tell children that the abuse is the child's fault, that they're the cause of the abuse.  Or sometimes children don't even understand that what they're experiencing isn't right, and that it is abuse.  And sometimes teens can confuse their abuse with love or being cared for by someone.  

What can we do?

Believe a child if they share their story of abuse with you.  Invite Ralston House to speak at your parents group, PTO, school administration, religious institution or business about how to protect children from sexual abuse.

20% of children will deny abuse even when there is evidence of abuse and a confession

Get Out + DO

Learn:  Childhood sexual trauma can have a lifelong effect on a person. Learn more here.   

Get Involved:  Talk to your kids about consent and what it looks like when consent is taken away.

Listen:  Do your children participate in sleepovers with other children?  Hear other parents' perspectives and thoughts on sleepovers.  Overprotective or not?

Call us:
(720) 898-6741

Admin Office and Mailing Address: 

10795 W 58th Ave, Arvada, CO 80002

Child Abuse Hotline:  1-844-CO-4-KIDS