“Protecting Our Children”

by Martine Bacci Siegel

The return to school is an exciting time for most, but for some it simply serves as a short respite from abuse at home. Listed here are some behaviors school staff should be on the lookout for as they could be an indicator of a more serious problem. Remember, the Commonwealth of Kentucky is a mandatory reporting state. You MUST report any suspicions you have. If you believe a child is being abused, neglected or is dependent, please call the Child Protection Hotline number below or the Protection and Permanency office in your county or call the Child Protection Hot Line 1-877-KYSAFE1 (1-877-597-2331)

The online KY Child/Adult Protective Services Reporting System is available for professionals to report non-emer-gency situations that do not require an immediate response from staff. The website is monitored from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday. Reports will not be reviewed evenings, weekends or state holidays.

Here are a list of behaviors to look out for

  1. Changes in behavior. Abuse can lead to many changes in behavior. Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive.
  2. Returning to earlier behaviors. Abused children may display behaviors shown at earlier ages, such as thumb sucking, bed-wetting, fear of the dark or fear of strangers. For some children, even loss of acquired language or memory problems may be an issue.
  3. Fear of going home. Abused children may express apprehension or anxiety about leaving school or about going places with the person who is abusing them or exhibit an unusual fear of a familiar person or place.
  4. Changes in eating. The stress, fear, and anxiety caused by abuse can lead to changes in a child’s eating behaviors, which may result in weight gain or weight loss.
  5. Changes in sleeping. Abuse children may have frequent nightmares or have difficulty falling asleep, and as a result may appear tired or fatigued.
  6. Changes in school performance and attendance. Abused children may have difficulty concentrating in school or have excessive absences, sometimes due to adults trying to hide the children’s injuries from authorities.
  7. Lack of personal care or hygiene. Abused and neglected children may appear uncared for. They may present as consistently dirty and have severe body odor, or they may lack sufficient clothing for the weather.
  8. Risk-taking behaviors. Young people who are being abused may engage in high-risk activities such as using drugs or alcohol or carrying a weapon.
  9. Inappropriate sexual behaviors. Children who have been sexually abused may exhibit overly sexualized behavior or use explicit sexual language and may exhibit symptoms of a genital infection.
  10. Unexplained injuries. Children who have been physically abused may exhibit unexplained burns or bruises in the shape of objects. You may also hear unconvincing explanations of a child’s injuries.


Overdose Help . . . FREE Naloxone Kits With Training, June 26, 2017

  • Do you know the number of deaths in Kentucky each year from heroin and opiate overdoses?
  • Did you know that both the equipment and training to save the life on an overdose victim are available for FREE?

The Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition is a statewide organization whose mission is to reduce substance addiction overdoses and deaths, the stigma associated with addiction, and to offer harm reduction solutions which includes improving public health in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

To do this they are offering free Naloxone kits along with training in their use to provide immediate life-saving treatment for overdose situations to as many people as possible.

The Coalition is offering a special evening event in the Multi-Purpose Building at Holy Trinity Parish, 501 Cherrywood Road, Louisville, KY 40207 on Monday June 26th at 6:30 PM. At this time Naloxone kits and training in their use will be provided to all attendees.

The event is free but in order to make sure there are enough materials available for everyone, pre-registration is required which can be done via the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Family Ministries Office at https://www.archlou.org/naloxone-training-registration/.

Everyone is invited to become a lifesaver to someone in need!

“How Almost Everything About Your Mother Comes Down to Neurochemicals”

by Martine Bacci-Siegel

Mother’s Day should be a joyful celebration, and our mothers deserve a special day. But what about the day after Mother’s Day? And the 363 days after that? What can neuroscience teach us about how to celebrate and treat our mothers every day?

While psychiatry and neuroscience are incredibly complex fields, some surprisingly simple insights have emerged about the easy ways you can help yourself and others to boost well being, vitality, and happiness. A surprising percentage of human behavior comes down to the interplay of 4 important neurochemicals.

  • Cortisol: Our bodies release cortisol when stressed, and it can seriously damage the body in the long run. As we age, we become more sensitive to cortisol. The older your mother is, the less cortisol (and stress) she’ll be able to handle well.
  • – Dopamine: This neurochemical is released any time we encounter something new. It could be a new song, a new movie, or even a new website or a piece of technology. Essentially, it is our brain’s way of rewarding us when we discover something.
  • – Endorphins: Endorphins are released in response to physical activity/exercise. This is the neurochemical that is responsible for the “runner’s high.”
  • – Serotonin: Serotonin is produced when you help others, bond with others, and when you feel healthy pride in a job well done.

Here are some examples that will help you go beyond telling your mother that you love her and show you how to demonstrate and create love.

  • Help manage her cortisol: Find ways to reduce her stress. If your mother is not being social enough, her loneliness could lead to increased cortisol levels. If she’s struggling with keeping up with housework, you can reduce her stress by helping her out. Also, just be kind. Nothing makes a mother prouder than a kind child. Seeing you being kind to others goes a long way toward reducing her stress level.
  • Increase her dopamine: This one is easy. The more new and novel experiences you can give your mother, the greater her dopamine level. This could be taking her to a restaurant she’s never been to before, or introducing her to a new technology.
  • Endorphin rush: Do your best to increases your mother’s physical activity. It could be going on walks, gardening, or any physical activity that is appropriate for her fitness level.
  • Elevate Her Serotonin: T here are several ways to boost serotonin. Frequent contact, especially face to face, is one of the most effective ways. Visit, call, send texts or emails…the point is to maintain consistent and frequent contact. Another way to boost serotonin is to engage in acts of kindness, so consider taking your mother to a volunteer event, or over to help a friend or relative.
  • Helping others will do amazing things for her mood and well being. Serotonin is perhaps the most important of the neurotransmitters

So yes, go all out on Mother’s Day. Your mother deserves the best. Just don’t forget that your mother deserves the best every day.

“Report Child Abuse”

by Martine Siegel

April is National Child Abuse Prevention month. Child abuse and neglect are significant public health problems in the United States and Kentucky is a mandatory reporting state.

  • According to child protective service agencies, about 702,000 children were substantiated victims of child abuse or neglect in 2014.
  • Self-reported data consistently show that more than 1 in 10 children and youth experienced at least one form of child abuse or neglect in the past year.
  • More than 1,500 children died in the United States in 2014 from abuse and neglect.
  • The financial costs for victims and society are substantial. A CDC study showed that the total lifetime estimated financial cost associated with just one year of confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect is $124 billion
  • What should you do if you suspect that a child has been abused? It’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed and confused in this situation. Child abuse is a difficult subject that can be hard to accept and even harder to talk about.

Just remember, you can make a tremendous difference in the life of an abused child, especially if you take steps to stop the abuse early. When talking with an abused child, the best thing you can provide is calm reassurance and unconditional support. Let your actions speak for you if you’re having trouble finding the words. Remember that talking about the abuse may be very difficult for the child. It’s your job to reassure the child and provide whatever help you can.

If you believe a child is being abused, neglected or is dependent, remember Kentucky is a mandatory reporting state. Call the Child Protection Hotline number below or the Protection and Permanency office in your county.

Child Protection Hot Line:   1-877-KYSAFE1 or 1-877-597-2331 (Toll Free)

The online Kentucky Child/Adult Protective Services Reporting System is available for professionals to report non-emergency situations that do not require an immediate response from our staff. The website is monitored from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday. Reports will not be reviewed during evenings, weekends or state holidays.

“Alleviating that Sense of Dread . . .”

by Deacon Stephen Bowling

As our Lenten observance this year comes to a close, I cannot help but feel a sense of trepidation. I know the stories we will relive in the coming days. The Passion itself looms large in my mind and I cannot help but face it like Jesus surely did . . . with a sense of profound sorrow and dread.

We often carry forward our attitudes from childhood and this time of the year is no different. Christmas for me was always a time of joy and anticipation . . . whereas Good Friday always seemed to be a scary but necessary moment which mentally stood in the way of my properly remembering the Easter miracle.

I now know better of course . . . but that feeling of dread still persists in me for some reason. And in feeling that dread in myself, I cannot help but think about those who may live with feelings like that all the time . . .

Continue reading ““Alleviating that Sense of Dread . . .””

“Parental Love”

by Martine Bacci-Siegel

It is a well-known fact that warm-loving parents create equally warm and loving children. Through this relationship, your children would learn things about life initially. It has been found that young people, who grow in and around secure attachment, stand a much better chance of developing happy and content relationships with others in their life. A child who feels insecure due to lack of attachment from parents is at an increasing risk of depression, aggression, and even emotional deregulation. So for that, here are our simple tips for you to strengthen the bond between you and your child:

Always Express Yourself. It is very important for you to tell your child how you feel about him. picture1

  • Express yourself, say I love you often.
  • Express love day in day out.
  • If you disagree on something, sit and discuss what exactly you didn’t like and why.

When you express yourself, nothing is left unsaid, leaving you both on the same page. This goes a long way in building a strong relationship.

Let Your Child Be Inquisitive:

  • Tell your child what you believe in and explain why.
  • Let him ask you questions. Answer all questions with patience.

Remember, you are building the foundation of your child’s future belief and faith. So always be ready to nurture the queries. It will help him form his own opinion and views later.

Let Your Child Help:picture2

  • When you let your child help, you are not only teaching him to be responsible, but also getting closer.
  • Ask for his opinion on what to wear while going out and be ready to opt for what they suggest.
  • When you take his suggestions seriously, he gets your respect too and feels good.

Play With Your Child:

  • Play time is the best bonding time.
  • It is a good way of getting to know each other and brings you closer.
  • It can always be a great way of teaching your child about winning and losing.
  • Get silly with your child and show him your side that he doesn’t often get to see.

Always Eat Together:picture3

  • Meal time should always be family time.
  • Let it be the place for discussion and sharing stuff.
  • You can spend some quality time at your meals.
  • The dinner table is the most common place for family talks.

The relation that your form with your child is actually the foundation upon which he will later define himself. This is going to help him develop and sustain more meaningful and close relationships in his life.

The love and care that you offer to your child determines your equation with him not just now, but for years to come.

Combating Elder Abuse

Occupational therapists launch new guidelines to help stop elder abuse before it starts (CNW Group/Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists)by Martine Bacci Siegel

Elder abuse is a significant problem in the United States; over 500,000 cases of mistreatment against adults aged 60 or more are reported annually. During State Fiscal Year 2015, the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services received 30,037 calls for reports concerning adults 60 years and older. Those calls were screened and 12,618 met acceptance criteria for an adult protective services investigation under KRS 209. Sadly, in the majority of these incidents the abusers are members of the victim’s own family.

Abuse toward older people can occur in various forms. The most common types of elder maltreatment include physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, neglect or abandonment, financial exploitation, sexual abuse, and health care fraud and abuse.

It can be difficult to identify symptoms of elder abuse as they may be similar to the expected signs of physical and cognitive decline usually associated with old age. This fact, in conjunction with assurances from the caregiver that everything is fine, can easily contribute to a loved one overlooking warning signs for abuse.

Some of the signs of elder abuse include:

  • Unexplained signs of bodily injury such as welts, scratches, bruises, scars, sprains, broken bones, or dislocations
  • signs of restraint on wrists or ankles, having too much or too little medication left over (based on the dosage instructions)
  • the caregiver refusing to allow the elderly person to meet with visitors alone
  • Signs of emotional abuse include behaviors such as avoiding eye contact, not talking openly, or expressing the desire to hurt oneself or someone else.

There are many factors which could potentially contribute to the onset and perpetuation of elder abuse. If a caregiver is untrained, unable to cope with stress, receives little support, or views his or her caregiving responsibility as a burden, then the possibility that the caregiver may turn to abusive behaviors toward an elder increases. Debilitating illnesses, an elderly person’s history with the caregiver, social isolation of the older person and the caregiver from other individuals, as well as the elder’s own aggressive tendencies may also trigger the onset of abuse.

Several strategies can be employed to reduce the likelihood of elder abuse. These include:

  • Listening intently to the elder.
  • Asking family members and friends for help with caregiving.
  • Utilizing local adult day care programs.
  • Eating nutritious foods and maintaining healthy personal habits.
  • Employing stress relief and relaxation techniques.
  • Visiting caregiver support groups.
  • Calling caregiver support hotlines.
  • Encouraging regular visits from friends and relatives.
  • Staying alert to signs and symptoms of abuse.
  • Getting involved when abuse is suspected.
  • Educating others about elder abuse

If you suspect elder abuse, you are legally required to report it. You can report abuse at the 24 hour toll free hotlines at 1-877-597-2331 or 1-800-752-6200. Calls can be made anonymously.

Do you have family issues where you feel that you need professional assistance? Contact the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Counseling Referral Services at (502) 636-1044 or by email at counseling@archlou.org.