Providing an opportunity for every person
to help children heal, learn and thrive.

Child Abuse Prevention
Child Abuse Prevention

Long-Term Effects of Abuse on Children

Child Abuse Prevention

Every ten seconds a report is made on child abuse. To build awareness of this issue, Child Abuse Prevention Month was created in April of 1979 by Child Help founders Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson and joined by legendary actress Sophia Loren. The Children’s Foundation of America (CFA) takes this issue very seriously and in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, CFA would like to call attention to the dreadful long-term effects of abuse on children and bring light to the efforts we make to support these children.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), four common types of abuse are physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglectWhen a child experiences traumatic events due to any of the four common types of abuse, they are referred to as having adverse childhood experiences (ACE)ACEs have been linked to negative effects in long-term health and wellbeing of a child. For example, ACEs can lead to a Toxic Stress Response which the Center for Youth Wellness reported to “disrupt the development of brain architecture and other organ systems, and increase the risk for stress-related disease and cognitive impairment, well into the adult years. If left unaddressed, toxic stress can affect growth, learning, behavior, immunity and even the way DNA is read and transcribed. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that if left untreated child abuse, neglect and other ACEs “increases the risks of injury, future violence victimization and perpetration, substance abuse, sexually transmitted infections, delayed brain development, lower educational attainment, and limited employment opportunities.” The weight of abuse is carried throughout a child’s life and when left untreated can continue to weigh on them and negatively effect their day to day lives.  

In a study done by Child Welfare, the following are possible signs that may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect: 

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance 
  • Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention 
  • Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes 
  • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen 
  • Lacks adult supervision 
  • Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn 
  • Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home 

CFA has supported thousands of children who have been victims to abuse and continues to provide support to programs that advocate for children’s issues and community-based organizations that assist trauma-endured children in healing, so they can develop into adults with a bright future. CFA supports these children through our yearly campaigns and monthly through our “Birthday-ina-Bag” campaign. Our mission is to provide an opportunity for every person to join us in helping children heal, learn, and thrive 

How You Can Help

Get Involved by volunteering! Contact or (909) 426-0773 ext. 236. 

Donate to our support children affected by abuse, neglect or abandonment here.

Become a Resource Parent by filling out an application with our partners at Trinity Youth Services.

Take the Pledge to #StopChildAbuse. Copy and paste the following text into your own social media with a photo of yourself raising your hand signaling to “STOP” child abuse.

I pledge to help #StopChildAbuse because every child deserves to be loved, cared for, and kept safe. I will engage in discussions with family and friends on the importance of child abuse prevention. I will support and advocate for policies and programs that promote healthy families. I will learn to recognize the signs of abuse and neglect. I will take any child’s claims of maltreatment seriously. I will report all suspected incidents to the appropriate county’s Child Protection Services.

For information on where to call or how to make a report, contact the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453).

Join me and the Children’s Foundation of America in taking the pledge to #StopChildAbuse. Copy and paste this text to post to your own social media with a photo lifting your hand to STOP child abuse.

Isabel Millward-Pena
Isabel contributes content for our social media, blog, newsletters and promotional materials. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University San Bernardino and is currently working on her master’s degree. Isabel began working with our team as an intern and, luckily for us, never left. Prior to her work at CFA, she was a substitute instructional aid and a supervisor at Starbucks. She has also volunteered as an aid at local elementary schools and notably achieved “Partner of the Quarter” at Starbucks in 2017.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Dear Friends,

This time last year, I asked for your help with the many unexpected challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our main priority was the safe care of the children we serve, and you responded to our call for assistance. Together, we provided foster care facilities with much needed hand sanitizer, hand soap, disinfecting wipes, face masks, medical gowns, toilet paper, additional staffing, and meals for children in need. Thanks to your help, the Children’s Foundation of America provided support to over 2,000 children at 23 direct service organizations.

During the pandemic, children across the country have been isolated at home with their abusers, and experts believe there has been an unseen surge in abuse behind closed doors related to unemployment and financial strain. The extent of the abuse inflicted on children during the COVID-19 lockdown is unknown, but many children continue to be removed from their unsafe homes and placed into foster care until a permanent safe place can be provided.

The CDC found that if left untreated, child abuse and neglect increases the risks of injury, future violence victimization and perpetration, substance abuse, sexually transmitted infections, delayed brain development, lower educational attainment, and limited employment opportunities. As someone who has faced abuse in my own childhood, I can say that without a doubt, one caring adult changed the trajectory of my life. My fifth-grade teacher noticed I needed help and provided the support I needed. Thanks to her, I am here advocating for children who have experienced the same trauma and hardship that I endured.

For Child Abuse Prevention Month, please consider changing the odds for a child who has experienced abuse, neglect, or abandonment by making a donation. Your contribution provides scholarships, art therapy, clothing, bedding, summer camp, contact lenses, birthday and holiday gifts, and so much more. These resources and opportunities are necessary to the development of any child but are especially important to a child who has experienced trauma and the disadvantage of not having family support.

Thank you for helping provide what is essential for children to heal, learn, and thrive.

Cher Ofstedahl
Chief Executive Officer

Donate Now


Ontario Improv

13th Annual “Funny 4 A Reason” Raises Awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month at Ontario Improv

Ontario Improv

The Children’s Foundation of America raised nearly $4,000 for children affected by abuse, neglect and abandonment at this year’s “Funny 4 A Reason” comedy fundraiser at the world-famous Ontario Improv on April 2.

Thank you to the Ontario Improv for once again hosting the event and to the comics for donating their time and talents to this important cause! Approximately 200 people came together to support and raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month, which takes place nationally each April.

Comics and guests wore blue and were provided with Child Abuse Prevention Month clappers and stickers to participate in the movement. For the first time at our show, the audience was also given the opportunity to engage in a raffle! The Ontario Improv provided the opportunity to win tickets to the upcoming Arsenio Hall show. There was also an opportunity to win a Starbucks gift card, a Buca di Beppo gift basket and more. Additionally, Rainforest Café provided coupons for all our guests!

Amber Thorneycroft

“It’s for the Children!”

This year’s event headlined Michael “Batman” Rhodes (Last Comic Standing) and also featured Vince Royale (Attack of the Killer Donuts), Ro DelleGrazie (Tru TV), Laniea Dominguez (Comedy For Causes), and Anthony Stone (I’m In Love With The Tacos viral video).

Our Donor Relations & Community Outreach Coordinator, Amber Thorneycroft, has been a stand-up comic for several years and made her debut as this year’s host to rave reviews! One attendee said they “enjoyed the comedians and Amber as the host.” Another said they enjoyed “the variety of comics” that our host brought to the show.

CFA Executive Director, Cher Ofstedahl, who has previously hosted the show, got the opportunity to present a whole stand-up set at this year’s event and was an audience favorite! In addition to her role at the Children’s Foundation, Cher is the Chief Operating Officer for Trinity Youth Services foster agency and has also worked in the music industry and as a professional actress.

Everyone on our team got the opportunity to shine. Development Specialist, Jenelle Phillips, sold raffle tickets during the show and Communications & Volunteer Specialist, Marie Maghuyop, “felt like a bridesmaid” supporting Amber on stage with awarding raffle prizes.

Supporting Victims of Child Abuse

Nearly 700,000 children are the victims of abuse annually in the United States. The purpose of CFA’s “Funny 4 A Reason” is to bring hope and support to trauma-affected children. Proceeds from ticket purchases, raffle tickets and other donations directly benefit foster youth in San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.

“What we’re trying to do is give these children something to smile about, and you can do your part by buying those tickets,” said headliner Michael Rhodes.

Laniea Dominguez, who was our show opener said, “We’re here to help foster youth. They always end up getting the short end of the stick, so we’re here to make that stick longer. We’re just going to do great things for this cause.”

Be the Difference

The Children’s Foundation of America has already provided over $4,000 in support to children in need this year, with opportunities like sports uniforms/equipment, prom tickets, grad night tickets, yearbooks, GED fees, music lessons, books, birthday gifts and more.

There’s still so much more to do! Get involved and support a child in foster care by donating. Consider becoming a sustaining, monthly donor to provide funds to help a youth participate in the same activities as their non-fostered peers. Just $10 a month provides a child with a birthday gift and the opportunity to participate in an extracurricular activity. Please donate today.

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Photos by Jenelle Phillips and Jose Rojas