The Moline-based nonprofit, 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 longstanding mission and connect more children and families to 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 that mission a step further by giving the community a more welcoming and inclusive face and giving us more opportunities to do the things we already do.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic was a pivotal moment,” said Brooke Hendrickx, director of development and communications, explaining that while the organization’s rebranding conversations predate the pandemic, the crisis has brought to light 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 here for all children and families in our community, no matter what they have been through.”
Programs not limited to addressing abuse and neglect
EveryChild’s programs and services are not limited to children and families who have experienced abuse, neglect or trauma, Mathews said. “We take a proactive, strengths-based approach, with a particular focus on preventing problems before they arise. Our new name focuses on the people we do this work for, not who 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 abuse, to 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 birth ensure 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,” Mathews said. “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 alleviate the immediate and long-term effects of childhood trauma.
“What we experience during childhood — and particularly between birth and age five, when 90 percent of brain development occurs — affects us well into adulthood,” Mathews said. “Our specialized childhood trauma programs are central to how we support a safe and healthy childhood 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, comprehensive services through the Mississippi Valley Child Protection Center, and the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program. ), which allows 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 blessed to finally have the ability and resources to rethink our name and 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 as well as all the other things we worked on.”
“For years, the council has struggled with the name Child Abuse Council,” said council chair Linda Wastyn. “We came to believe that it did not accurately describe the true extent of what we do, and the negative connotations of the word ‘abuse’ even turned away people we could help. There’s always something new to learn when raising and caring for children, and we offer so many great educational resources, but our name has kept people from seeing it.
Created in 1977
EveryChild was established in 1977 as the Council on Children at Risk 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 the 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 to strengthen children and families through prevention, education and treatment,” Wastyn said. “Any child in any family can suffer from abuse, neglect or trauma, whether from the death of a loved one, a horrific storm or simply the stress of the pandemic. We want every family knows they can turn to us for help and feel comfortable doing so.As such, the Board unanimously feels that the name EveryChild 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 greater platform for advocate for children and families.
“Our new name also recognizes that the well-being of children is an issue that concerns us all,” he said. “Until we fix all child to flourish, we cannot reach our potential as a community.
“This is a major milestone in our more than 40-year history, and it marks an important milestone in ensuring that all members of our community can access the support and services we provide,” Hendrickx added. “The new name reflects our strengths-based, inclusive 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.