The Moline-based non-profit association known since 1995 as the Child Abuse Council has a new name: EveryChild.
As part of a holistic rebranding initiative, the new name is designed to better reflect the agency’s long-term mission and connect more children and families with services that will help them thrive.
“Our goals haven’t changed – we’re here to help every child have the safe and healthy childhood they deserve,” said Mark Mathews, Executive Director of EveryChild. “Our new name will take this mission further by putting a more welcoming and inclusive face in the community and giving us more opportunities to do the things we are already doing.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic was a pivotal moment,” said Brooke Hendrickx, director of development and communications, explaining that although conversations about the organization’s rebranding predate the pandemic, the crisis has shed new light on the work of EveryChild.
Going through this pandemic we have all been exposed to the same trauma, which makes EveryChild’s services more relevant than ever, ”she said. “With this new identity, we want everyone to understand that we are there for all the children and families in our community, no matter what they’ve been through.”
Programs beyond abuse and neglect
EveryChild’s programs and services are not limited to children and families who have experienced abuse, neglect or trauma, said Mathews. “We take a proactive, strengths-based approach, with a focus on preventing problems before they arise. Our new name centers on who we do this work, not what we work against.
EveryChild’s prevention programs range from Second Step, which partners with schools and agencies to provide preschoolers, teachers and parents with the information they need to stay safe and prevent abuse child sex, basic training for new dads, which helps new fathers prepare for the birth of a child.
Healthy Families home visits and Community Doula services help parents before, during and after childbirth to ensure that their babies have the best possible start in life. In addition, EveryChild reaches thousands of professionals and parents each year through its community education classes, trainings and presentations.
“We like to say that when we know better, we do better,” said Mathews. “Parenting is a learned skill, and part of our job is to provide the resources and community connections new parents need to feel confident every step of the way. “
EveryChild will also continue to offer its treatment programs, which aim to reduce the immediate and long-term effects of childhood trauma.
“What we experience during childhood – and particularly between birth and age five, when 90% of brain development occurs – impacts us into adulthood,” said Mathews. “Our specialized childhood trauma programs are at the heart of how we support safe and healthy childhoods and ensure that every child in our community has a chance to succeed.”
EveryChild’s treatment services include Safe from the Start Children’s Therapy, holistic accompaniment services through the Mississippi Valley Child Protection Center, and the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program, which enables trained volunteers to defend the interests of children in court.
According to Mathews, the decision to adopt a new name is the result of both ongoing conversations and an intensive six-month research and strategy process.
“We were fortunate to finally have the capacity and the resources to rethink our name and our brand in a deliberate and thoughtful way,” he said. “We also have a board of directors that was motivated to bring this idea to fruition and all the other things we worked on. “
“For years the board struggled with the name Child Abuse Council,” said board chair Linda Wastyn. “We came to think that it didn’t accurately describe the true scale of what we do, and the negative connotations of the word ‘abuse’ even turned away those we could help. There is always something new to learn when raising and caring for children, and we have so many fantastic educational resources, but our name has kept people from seeing this.
Established in 1977
EveryChild was established in 1977 as the At-Risk Children Council by a group of community members to lead efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect in the Quad Cities.
In 1992, the organization was renamed Child Abuse Prevention and Services Council, shortened three years later to Child Abuse Council. Today, the organization offers a full continuum of education, prevention and treatment programs and services reaching both a broad community base and families and children most at risk.
In 2021, they served 7,100 children, parents and community professionals.
“We believe EveryChild does a great job of capturing our mission of strengthening children and families through prevention, education and treatment,” said Wastyn. “Any child in any family can experience abuse, neglect or trauma, whether it’s the death of a loved one, weathering a horrific storm or just the stress of the pandemic. We want every family to know that they can turn to us for help and feel comfortable doing so. As such, the Board of Directors unanimously believes that the EveryChild name communicates what we do and why we do it.
In addition to better reaching families who could benefit from EveryChild’s programs and services, Mathews hopes the new name will help the agency engage with a wider range of funders and provide a broader platform for advocate for children and families.
“Our new name also recognizes that the well-being of children is an issue we all care about,” he said. “Until we fix all as a child to flourish, we cannot reach our potential as a community.
“This is a milestone in our more than 40 year history, and it marks an important step in ensuring that all members of our community can access the support and services we provide,” added Hendrickx . “The new name reflects our inclusive and strengths-based approach to our work and reaches more children and families with services that will help them thrive. “
The group’s new website is www.ForEveryChild.org.