New program aims to meld violence prevention into routine care

October 10, 2005

Six years in the making, a program that gives pediatricians tools to help families protect their children from violence has been launched by the AAP. The Academy's program, "Connected Kids: Safe, Strong, Secure," made its debut Monday at the AAP's National Conference and Exhibition.

Six years in the making, a program that gives pediatricians tools to help families protect their children from violence has been launched by the AAP. The Academy's program, "Connected Kids: Safe, Strong, Secure," made its debut Monday at the AAP's National Conference and Exhibition.

Connected Kids was born out of a recognition of the large number of childhood deaths and injuries caused by child abuse, domestic violence, and community violence, as well as surveys that showed pediatricians wanted support and training to address the problem. It took three years to obtain funding for the program, which was provided by the US Department of Justice, and another three years to develop it. The development process included extensive input from experts in child and mental health, general pediatricians, parents, and teenagers.

The program, available on CD-ROM, includes suggested topics for pediatricians to introduce and reinforce at well-child visits, supplemented by handouts that can be printed from the disk and given to parents and adolescents. Each counseling topic discusses the child's development, the parent's feelings and response to that development, and practical ways to help parents build the child's social skills and resilience. The emphasis is on, first, promoting growth that will enable the youngster to respond to conflict in a positive, nonviolent way and, second, on ensuring that parents have the support and resources they need to help their child.

Connected Kids includes 21 brochures, divided into three age groups: infancy and early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence. Brochures for parents include "Welcome to the World of Parenting!," "Your Child Is on the Move: Reduce the Risk of Gun Injury," and "Teen Dating Violence: Tips for Parents." Among the brochures for teenagers: "Staying Cool When Things Heat Up," "Expect Respect: Healthy Relationships," and "Connecting with Your Community."

The CD-ROM of Connected Kids is expected to be available for distribution in November. It can be ordered in advance through the AAP bookstore (www.aap.org). Price: $275 for AAP members, $325 for nonmembers.