Webinar presenter Andrew Campbell answered a number of your questions after his presentation, A Day in the Life: How Exposure to Community Violence Affects Children. Here are just a few of his responses.
Audience Question: Can you clarify what kind of housing puts children at greater risk?
Andrew Campbell: So when I was talking about the housing point of it – I think I’m referring more to the idea of essentially like apartment-style, more where we see individuals coming and going frequently. We see that in maybe condos, apartment, things like that where we just see individuals coming and going more frequently as opposed to residential neighborhoods where we may be more likely to see homeowners who are staying in that home for prolonged periods of time. We’re referring really big with the concept of the ideas is housing structures where residents of that housing structure are coming and going more frequently in terms of only residing there for a month, only residing there for a few months, only residing there for a year. Researches were very clear that in those types of scenarios we see a lack of unity among the community which makes sense when you have your neighbors constantly changing, may not take the time to know them or may not be able to get to know them. And we just see, less likely, of this bond between neighbors that can be critical. We’re talking about community violence in terms in terms of identifying and speaking out to our concerns. That’s what I’m referring to when I’m talking about risk relating to the type of housing.
Aaron (host): I did want to share some feedback from one of our audience member, Stacy. She says thank you for your honesty and vulnerability and your passion for teaching despite at it being mentally and emotionally difficult for you to do that. She hopes that you’re able to get some software after today’s great presentation – so thank you, Stacy.
Audience Question: Are there studies that have examined risk factor associated with the children of fathers who have either never been married or are single?
Andrew: So the information I shared was actually regarding mothers. That is actually a question I had too. I dug a little bit into research and didn’t find anything, just on the surface. I was up about 3 in this morning trying to – that is actually one of the things I was looking for. Obviously, as a father myself, I’m interested too. So if that person could email me directly or anyone else who have interest on that same question. I’ll share that interest and I’ll dive deeper into it. Like I said I don’t pretend to know the answer to every question that’s why I actually looked at it and didn’t see anything on the surface. All I could find was research indicating the associated risk for mothers who hadn’t been married. I have speculation but I don’t want to share that. I try to be very careful any time I get these talks and I want to make sure everything I’m saying I can support in some way. So I would be glad to dive deeper into that and share that as I come across it.
Audience Question: Richmond, California has a program that pays monetary rewards to prevent violence. Have other communities implemented a similar program and do you have any research about whether that has been effective?
Andrew Campbell: So that can be a pretty a broad kind of topic. I can’t say, off the top of my head, I am familiar with their enrichment programs they referred to. So that might be something I can either look at a little deeper, just to gain a great understanding before I respond. I know that we do see another type of study, another type of word and monitoring must have been effective. Surely we’re thinking about the populations that we’re dealing with here. I mention poverty being a risk factor for many of these types of families and some programs that I’m trying to develop definitely take that into account in effect and know that add in the potential stressor and relieving some of to stressors, we’re really trying to reduce types of violence. So just theoretically from kind of surface standpoint for not knowing the specific program, it makes sense, it would be effective. I guess the concern would be that we make long term changes as well and that we’re not just meeting the financial need of these families may have but not fixing the real problem here, which was seen on a lot of programs. Programs across the country and really around the world. Kind of band-aid fixes that don’t necessarily get to the heart of these issues that we talked about today. That we have to do if ever see a long term change.
Audience Question: Once the child has been removed from the violence and stress, what are the chances of the neuron damage being repaired and are there things we can do to help the brain heal?
Andrew Campbell: Unfortunately in those early years, that’s the one-shot deal. I don’t mean that to sound depressing, I just mean it to be real and that’s the truth. In those early years, where children are dependent on those safe environments for brain growth, brain size, things like that we really do get one shot at it. Now that doesn’t mean that those kids, that we can’t still work with them and that we still can’t find positive outcomes. There’s a program that comes to mind called La Escuelita. It was originally out in San Diego. It’s now also I think being expanded to other communities. This is the school that is designed for children who come from traumatic backgrounds. They realized that many of these children are probably experiencing some of those real brain changes or have experienced and they utilize Trauma-Informed Care, that’s where they see that takes into account all the things we talked about and they have found some great results in terms – as an independent study from the University of San Diego actually found that students who were in that pre-school and went on to the public school system in San Diego actually achieved as good or better than their peers and some of the things we talked about. And so again the reality is that it’s very serious, it’s always serious for those first 3 years, we don’t get a second chance at brain size. You know that is very dependent on the environment but that being said it does not mean that there’s no hope for those children. It just means that we need to be more trauma-informed on how we’re approaching it. And as long as we do it in that in that way that we do see positive outcomes as well.
Audience Question: Kelly works with a school district where high school students report anxiety at an alarming rate. Is there data to support whether or not the school shootings are having this impact on high school students?
Andrew Campbell: Again, just speaking from my own personal experience and just from my own personal knowledge of the topic, I think it would have to be. I think my own 13-year-old who we homeschool now like there’s other factors that play there but there is concerned anxiety. The more and more times we see these types of events and incidence occur, I think the less children do feel safe at school. That really saddens me. I think of my own experience and the other issues were when I was at school the things that – it really wasn’t anything that I worried enough in terms of being some sort of shooting incidence at school. I think unfortunately for our youth, now, currently, it is a very real concern and I would say absolutely can tie into PTSD and some of those other real fears of this happening, obviously, going to affect them academically and their ability to be able to concentrate and learn and achieve their full potential at school. It came to a point where for my 13-year-old we had, we are homeschooling him. It’s not just that. I’m not saying it just, obviously, the nature of my work makes a lot of these issues resonate with me and I understand that. But I think yeah. There are very real concerns there and I would be even more concerned than before. If we don’t get it out of the way, again, the root of these crumbs when I showed that picture of the iceberg I think, often we think community violence we think about during some sort of quick solutions and hopefully drop numbers the following year. As long as we can choose to do that and not go under the water and see what’s underneath and think about why this 13 years old is holding a gun, or why this 22-year-old is holding a gun and addressing those issues, unfortunately, we’ll continue to see that same trend and it saddens me but it’s reality. And so yeah I do think a kid can be emotionally affected by that in the school system.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of A Day in the Life: How Exposure to Community Violence Affects Children.