March 2023 Newsletter


Our Growing Program Team

We have doubled our statewide program team in just two months! We are grateful to welcome Michelle Simmons and Michelli Castaneda to our team.

Michelle Simmons fills the newly created role of Statewide Safe Babies Court Teams Coordinator. Safe Babies Court Teams increase shared knowledge regarding the unique needs of infants and toddlers through community collaboration to improve outcomes for those children. In her role, Michelle works with a statewide leadership team to share best practices and determine needed system changes. 

Michelli Castaneda is the Training Specialist at Prevent Child Abuse Arizona. Her role intertwines her expertise in the Arizona justice system and curriculum development to support program development through collaborative work with Prevent Child Abuse Arizona partners. 

Learn More about Michelle and Michelli

Impact Story

Young Parent University

There’s a common adage that “children do not come with an instruction manual.” Not only is becoming a parent an entirely new endeavor, but children grow so rapidly that new challenges and needs are constantly developing on the pathway of parenthood. This is why the Department of Child Safety Office of Prevention hosts a Young Parent University - to offer workshops that build family protective factors and strengthen bonds between young parents and their children. This program is offered to teen parents who themselves are in out-of-home care within the child welfare system.

“It was fun and educational for young parents. If they want to learn more about being a parent, they should go!” shared one attendee. One of the planning committee members, Robin Smith of the DCS Office of Prevention, shared how moving it was to hear a young mother and father describe how they overcame newborn parenting struggles through compromise and communication.

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Biden's Top Child Welfare Official Discusses 2023 Priorities

According to an interview with The Imprint, Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families January Contreras says she will "focus on helping people who take care of relatives’ kids and supporting, encouraging, and when necessary, pushing states to prevent foster care.”

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Today in Prevention


Join the Nurture Connection

Nurture Connection, created by the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), advances Early Relational Health so that all families can experience the joy and lifelong health benefits that come from strong, positive, and nurturing relationships in early childhood. Subscribe below to join the Nurture Connection and be the first to hear about new resources from the initiative.

48% of Arizona is in a Child Care Desert

Access to affordable, quality childcare is vital to supporting families and achieving at least two of the Center for Disease Control’s strategies to prevent child abuse – strengthening economic support for families and providing early quality care and education early in life. Unfortunately, nearly half of Arizona families cannot access childcare, especially those in rural and urban areas. Those who can access childcare spend around 20% of their income on tuition.

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Sponsor the Child Abuse Prevention Conference

It’s up to all of us to reduce obstacles to strong, positive, and nurturing parenting. Child adversity, including child abuse and neglect, is a public problem. We all have a role in solving it, and we must work together.

Prevent Child Abuse Arizona is seeking sponsors for the Statewide Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Conference, taking place July 18 &19, 2023, at the Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel & Spa. You can help make our vision of a world without child abuse a reality.

Explore Sponsor Opportunities

Director's Corner

Speaking Each Other Into Greatness

When I was starting my career, trying to find direction, I learned of a job opportunity doing community outreach with First Things First in Yavapai County. I remember how big, important and official that job looked. Even applying felt like a stretch. At the time, I was just finishing a year as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Prescott, and I was considering moving back home to New York so I could figure things out from there. Could I stay? Could I be successful doing something I had never done before? If I somehow got the position, what if I failed? Plus, the job involved a lot of public speaking. That, at the time, terrified me.

And then a colleague forwarded the job posting to me. “You’re applying, right?” she asked. “You’d be amazing at it.”

That simple nudge was what I needed. I applied, interviewed, and got it. I’ve been in Arizona working in the field of child and family wellbeing ever since.

It’s amazing how powerful a simple affirmation can be. For me, it launched a whole career. What we are told about ourselves matters, especially when we’re taking a leap into something new. 

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As a 501(c)3 organization, Prevent Child Abuse Arizona is eligible to receive bequests. Please contact Molly Peterson at if you would like to discuss including Prevent Child Abuse Arizona in your legacy.

Prevent Child Abuse Arizona can only accept donations from individuals, businesses, and foundations located in the State of Arizona.

Tax ID #86-0832901

Prevent Child Abuse Arizona is dedicated to strengthening families and protecting children through collaboration, education, and advocacy. The organization provides research-based prevention services, education and training to help promote strong families and safe, healthy children. For more information, visit