News & Perspectives

News & Perspectives

​The Children’s Trust and Cape Cod Children’s Place Launch New Initiative to Stop Child Abuse

Dottie Smith, Chief of Staff for Representative Sarah Peake; Suzin Bartley, Executive Director of the Children's Trust; and Cindy Horgan, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Children's Place

Cape Cod towns selected as first Children’s Trust SAFE Child Community in Massachusetts

Eastham, MA (3/6/2020) – Today, the Children’s Trust and Cape Cod Children’s Place announced a first-of-its-kind initiative to stop child abuse and neglect on Cape Cod. Together, with nearly 60 years of combined experience, the two organizations are launching the first Children’s Trust SAFE (Stop Abuse for Every) Child Community in Massachusetts, serving Yarmouth, Dennis, Chatham, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown.

A SAFE Child Community integrates the evidence-based child abuse prevention strategies the Children’s Trust has honed over its 30-year history with the local expertise of experienced community partners. Research shows that by enhancing access to programs that build resilient, stable families, child abuse and neglect can be prevented. That is why the Children’s Trust developed the SAFE Child Community initiative to eliminate barriers families too often face when seeking guidance and support. After an extensive proposal submission and review process, Cape Cod Children’s Place was chosen as the first partner in this new initiative because of the organization’s demonstrated commitment to the initiative and their 25-year history of providing high-quality services to families. 

“This initiative shifts the approach from intervention, or what to do after children are in trouble, to prevention. By strengthening families and helping parents build healthy parenting skills, we can stop abuse and neglect before it happens,” said Suzin Bartley, Executive Director of the Children’s Trust in remarks made this morning at Cape Cod Children’s Place. “If we had approached polio the same way we have historically approached child abuse, we would have built an iron lung to treat patients instead of a vaccine to prevent the disease. Our SAFE Child Community initiative is a vaccine for child abuse.”

The initiative focuses keenly on coordination and communication across service providers so that those who work with children and families come together to provide integrated services. That way, families can more effectively navigate the programs and resources available to help them raise safe and healthy children. 

The Children’s Trust will provide strategic guidance, evidence-based program models, training, evaluation, and funding to this community-wide, community-driven initiative, influenced by the input and ongoing feedback of Cape Cod Children’s Place and Cape Cod organizations and families.

“Because of this initiative, Cape Cod Children’s Place and our partners will be able to expand programs we know work, such as providing access to home visiting for more parents seeking guidance and giving local youth-serving agencies support to develop sex abuse prevention plans,” said Cindy Horgan, Executive Director of Cape Cod Children’s Place in her remarks at the announcement this morning. “Cape Cod Children’s Place is honored to have been selected as the Children’s Trusts’ first SAFE Child partner.”

Child abuse was reported in every single community in Massachusetts last year and 240 children were confirmed as abused or neglected in the ten towns selected for this initiative. SAFE Child Communities are built on a foundation of programs proven to stop child abuse and neglect, which will save the Commonwealth tax dollars spent on child protective services, health services, housing, cash assistance, and more. The initiative’s impacts and results will be tracked and evaluated by Tufts University. 


About the Children’s Trust 
The Children’s Trust is on a mission to stop child abuse in Massachusetts. We give parents the tools and resources to build self-confidence and gain lifelong skills to ensure children grow up safe and healthy. You can learn more at

About Cape Cod Children’s Place 
Children’s Place is a non-profit resource, referral, and education center committed to providing high-quality care, support, and advocacy for families with young children in order to sustain a healthy community for Cape Cod’s future. Learn more at