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updated: Jun 26, 2010, 9:00 AM
Child Abuse Listening and Mediation's (CALM) mission is to prevent, assess, and treat child abuse by providing comprehensive, culturally competent services for children, families and adults. CALM offers a safe, non-judgmental, caring and strength-based environment to heal from trauma and increase family well being.
CALM was started in 1969 by Claire Miles, a local nurse, when she heard about an overworked and emotionally stressed father who had shaken his infant son to death in a moment of desperation. Claire took immediate action: She put a phone in her living room and took out classified ads in the News-Press urging parents in need to call for help. The phone rang almost 40 times that first month. She and her friends took turns answering the calls, with the hope of helping stressed parents before they hurt their children.
Forty years later, that single phone has grown from a small, mostly volunteer organization to a strong professional mental health agency recognized throughout the state and the nation. The vision of one single woman has become the vision for hundreds - CALM's professional staff, volunteers, Board of Trustees and Auxiliary members. CALM's mission has never wavered - to serve and protect the most vulnerable in our community: our children.
In 2008, 4,769 children in Santa Barbara County were referred to Child Welfare Services for alleged abuse, and substantiated cases rose by 21% in 2009. The severity of abuse also has risen. However, early identifica¬tion, intervention, and continued follow-up are valuable strategies to prevent or decrease the negative impact of abuse, helping to stop the cycle of violence that tends to continue generation after generation.
CALM's philosophy includes strength based, culturally sensitive services, recruitment and retention of excellent staff, collaboration with other public and private agencies to facilitate comprehensive treatment, and the incorporation of research and evaluation to inform and improve practice. CALM's staff have over 350 years of combined experience in Mental Health treatment, and are 59% bilingual, which allows us to provide the expert, specialized treatment necessary to effectively treat child trauma, as well as utilize strategies that meet the needs of underserved populations. CALM provides nationally recognized, state of the art treatment that has proven effectiveness in improving the lives of traumatized children, or preventing abuse from occurring.
In the last year, over 1,350 clients received direct counseling services. In addition, 89 families with young children received intensive in-home support, and another 5,600 schoolchildren, teachers, and child-serving agencies received child abuse prevention education, including education on Internet safety. The majority of CALM's clients are low income children, youth, and families in crisis who have neither the experience nor the resources to effectively use available community services, or are prevented from doing so through language barriers.
For more information on how to donate, volunteer, or receive services, contact (805) 965-2376, or visit www.calm4kids.org. CALM is located at 1236 Chapala Street in downtown Santa Barbara, with a satellite office at the Main Family Resource Center in Carpinteria.
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