Childhood is meant to be a time of innocence, exploration, and growth. However, the children we meet as Court Appointed Special Advocates have had childhoods marked by painful experiences. Despite these circumstances, many of these children show incredible strength and adaptability. These qualities combine to form what we call resilience. Resilience is not just an inherent trait; it’s a skill that can be cultivated.
Victims of child maltreatment already show resilience by surviving their childhood adversities. However, that’s just a baseline. With help, they can build upon their innate strength. Resilience will equip these children with tools for coping with stress, regulating emotions, and forming healthy attachments.
Something that is crucial to build resilience is at least one positive relationship. This is not just any relationship, but one with a safe, trusted adult. If that adult provides consistent care, empathy, and understanding, the relationship can serve as a foundation for emotional support and growth.
Henrico CASA’s advocates are these adults. They show up again and again to listen and encourage children who are victims of abuse and neglect. They offer a path to healing. They offer hope. They help youth overcome their traumatic pasts to build promising futures.
We look forward to exploring the three aspects of resilience (recovery, resistance, and reconfiguration) in our October blog posts. In doing so, we hope to help children not only bounce back, but bounce forward into a more positive future.