We’ve all read the tragic headlines… stories of children here in northern Indiana suffering abuse and neglect by their own parents.
The good news is SCAN, or Stop Child Abuse and Neglect, is well-equipped to help those children and their moms and dads.
“SCAN’s mission is to protect children, prepare parents, strengthen families and educate our community to stop child abuse and neglect,” says Amanda Drakeford, chief philanthropy officer for SCAN. “SCAN accomplishes its mission by offering a continuum of services to families who have experienced, or are at risk for, child abuse or neglect.”
This year, SCAN celebrates 45 years of providing services to families. From its humble beginnings as an agency staffed with one employee and run by volunteers, SCAN has grown from an educational resource to an action-oriented organization that works to Stop Child Abuse and Neglect. SCAN employs more than 200 staff and impacts more than 6,000 families annually across a 34-county region in northern Indiana.
“Our staff members are incredible at engaging our families, understanding their needs, and forming partnerships with parents to eliminate child abuse and neglect,” says Deanna Szyndrowski, chief executive officer for SCAN. “Our leadership team always encourages our staff to recognize and address the ever-changing needs of our families.”
Stephanie Paduch, a clinical manager at SCAN, explains the importance of designing a comprehensive continuum of services to support families’ needs.
“As the needs of our families changed, we’ve designed our services to wrap support around families,” Paduch explains. “For example, we provide home-based case management services in conjunction with Family Centered Treatment, an in-home intensive family therapy service. Our clinicians visit the home multiple times a week for several hours to work with families in creating and sustaining new ways to positively interact as a family unit. This approach allows our staff to address basic needs in tandem with working through the family trauma that has resulted in abuse or neglect.”
Szyndrowski underscores the significance of this team approach.
“It allows us to focus on the generations of trauma that our families are carrying into their parenting roles. We’re looking at all of our programs, from prevention to intervention, to ensure that we’re working cohesively to prevent child
abuse and neglect and rebuild families who’ve experienced trauma.”
Trish Fox, LMHC, LCAC, an administrator at SCAN overseeing Family Restoration, Fatherhood Engagement, Family Connections and the Dr. Bill Lewis Center, explains more about how SCAN staff work as a team to support families.
“We do everything we can to support families, even after a case with the Department of Child Services is closed. We recently worked with a family referred by DCS for home-based counseling and visitation, and when the case closed through DCS, the court recommended that we continue services,” says Fox. “Rather than dropping visitation with parent and child, our Family Connections program continued counseling and visitation with the family.”
Over the past 45 years, SCAN’s staff has restored thousands of families. Last year, they served 6,130 families, a total of 17,497 individuals.
SCAN’s Prevention programming offers Healthy Families, Daybreak, Be SomeOne Now, Community Partners, The Courtyard and Family Connections. In each of these services, SCAN staff members work to engage parents and children, educate using a mentor model and break down the shackles of abuse and neglect. Family Preservation services are cases referred to SCAN by the Department of Child Services.
Szyndrowski says Indiana ranks third highest in the country for the number of children referred to Child Protective Services, which is more than twice the national average.
“Adverse childhood experiences, or ACES, which include child abuse and neglect, make up the nation’s largest hidden health care crisis,” says Szyndrowski. “Childhood trauma has lifelong effects on children, and it’s imperative that our community responds to these issues to ensure the success of our children in northern Indiana.”
For decades, volunteers and donors have worked toward eliminating child abuse through their time, treasure and talent. SCAN credits many of its achievements to its volunteers, hundreds of whom help SCAN regularly. Many of them recently assisted with one of SCAN’s most significant annual fundraisers: The Brown Bag Lunch event.
“We do this every year in March,” says Drakeford. “Casa Restaurants in Fort Wayne donates all the food. We then sell those meals to build support for SCAN. It’s a great example of how partnering with the community is vital to our agency, and, we are so grateful for this crucial support.”
“We have many, many ways people can help us. Fundraising is crucial to our programs. Our fundraising team strives to raise $1.1 million to close the gap between state funding and actual program costs each year, and we are always looking to increase that number. Right now, we are accepting sponsorships for the annual Weigand Construction Duck Race, scheduled for June 15. Nearly all proceeds (97 percent) directly fund our programs. Monetary donations are important, but so are material donations such as diapers, baby formula and playpens.”
Drakeford says it may sound strange but, the truth is, she and her peers wish their positions would someday be gone.
“Our vision for SCAN is to eliminate child abuse and neglect. So, every day we’re getting up hoping that we will eventually be out of a job. When our services are no longer needed, that means children aren’t being hurt and that’s something we all wish for. SCAN can make that happen. We welcome as many people as possible to join us in our efforts and keep our kids safe.”
Address: 500 W. Main St. Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Phone: (260) 421-5000 (800) 752-7116
Years in Business: 45
Number of Employees: 220