Triad advocacy group offers preventative measures to help stop child abuse

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Stepping in is what Exchange SCAN in Winston-Salem is accustomed to doing before the worst happens.

“There's not a parenting class that you get when you leave the hospital. For a lot of parents, they parent the way they were parented,” said Elizabeth Miller, Executive Director of Exchange SCAN.

Exchange Stop Child Abuse Now, or SCAN, is an organization dedicated to helping to prevent children at any age from being abused.

“We work with supporting families. We're trying to give parents extra education and also to intervene anytime parents may need some extra assistance,” Miller said.

“The bulk of our services are in Forsyth County...sometimes there are some different challenges in the rural areas,” she went on to say.

In the 2015-2016 state fiscal year, there were nearly 65,000 investigated reports of abuse and neglect cases statewide, according to the State Department of Health and Human Services. That number is slightly down from the year before.

“We have not seen a huge rise in numbers, but I think one of the things we have seen though are cuts to state funding for programs working with families and children. In the rural areas, we've seen a real increase in opioid usage. We also see a higher unemployment rate and a higher rate of families that are uninsured and both of those can be contributing factors,” Miller said.

The advocacy group uses lessons to help aid parents having trouble with their children. Miller says a lot of their cases come the department of social services.

“So, we try to encourage people to reach out and not to be embarrassed or ashamed,” she said.

Not only do they get referrals from DSS, but neighbors and grandparents reach out to them too.

They offer numerous classes to help guide parents to do the right things before social services steps in.