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Framing Your Prevention Message


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Ben Tanzer
Prevent Child Abuse America

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Framing Your Prevention Message

  1. 1. 2013 Prevention Conference Presented by Ben Tanzer, Prevent Child Abuse America September 2013
  2. 2.  It’s a cognitive failure - they don’t understand what their responsibility could be…  Which is a communications failure - we haven’t successfully shown them what their responsibility could be.
  3. 3.  When communications is inadequate, people default to the “pictures in their heads.”  When communications is effective, people can see an issue from a different perspective.
  4. 4.  Developing Community Connections: Qualitative Research Regarding Framing Policies (2003) A report of findings from focus groups designed to test the impact of four frames about child abuse and neglect: Child Abuse, Parenting, Child Development, and Community.  Two Cognitive Obstacles to Preventing Child Abuse: The 'Other Mind' Mistake and the 'Family Bubble' (2003) A report on a series of cognitive interviews that identifies two common mistakes in thinking that the public makes about child abuse prevention, and recommendations on how to overcome them.  How the News Frames Child Maltreatment: Unintended Consequences (2003) A report summarizing some of the major patterns in news coverage of child maltreatment – the key narratives, frames and causal stories that are conveyed to the public on the issue.  Discipline and Development: A Meta-Analysis of Public Perceptions of Parents, Parenting, Child Development and Child Abuse (2003) A report reviewing PCA America’s research on child abuse, as well as existing, publicly available opinion research regarding parenting, child development, child abuse and discipline, and the political landscape for child abuse prevention policies.  Breaking the Resistance: Creating a Movement for Prevention (2008) A report by Dig Communications looking at research results and analysis on Pinwheels for Prevention, Prevent Child Abuse America’s signature campaign.  Framing Child Abuse and Neglect: Effects of Early Childhood Development Experimental Research (2009) A report summarizing results from the latest iteration of FrameWorks experimental research focusing specifically on outcomes related to policies and programs associated with prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect as well as additional policies associated with improving children’s healthy development, family assets, education and mental health.
  5. 5. ( c ) FrameWorks Institute This presentation was developed for individual use and cannot be represented, adapted or distributed without the express written permission of the FrameWorks Institute. All images in this presentation are licensed for the purpose of this presentation only and may not be reproduced elsewhere. Message Framing for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention
  6. 6. Framing 101 • Order matters in framing: – Level one - big ideas (prosperity, ingenuity) – Level two - issue types (child abuse, health) – Level three - specific policies/solutions (mental health services, respite care, expansion of SCHIP) • Use causal chains to explain the link between cause and solution - don’t assume the public can connect the dots.
  7. 7. Elements of the Frame • Core story elements: –Values –Issues –Metaphors and models –Solutions
  8. 8. Framing and CAN Initial Research • We know there are three CAN related frames the public diverts to when they hear about CAN –Horrible criminal atrocity –Failure of CPS –Prevalence of sexual predators in our midst • We know we need to avoid the use of CAN statistics and negative graphic imagery
  9. 9. Framing and CAN Initial Research • We tend to start at level three • The public struggles with the “family bubble” • There are four potential reframes –Family strengthening –Prevention –Early child development –Community
  10. 10. What people think –Parents are solely responsible/family autonomy/the family bubble –Safety is the main concern - protecting kids from harm and disease –If kids don’t do well, lack of parental discipline is the reason –Solution? Parent education, not policy
  11. 11. EXERCISE
  12. 12.  Watch the video with things like order, values, metaphors, solutions, and causal chains in mind.  What was done well?  What could be improved?
  13. 13. Reframing and the Core Story of Child Development 1. Child development is a foundation for community development and economic development, as capable children become he foundation of a prosperous and sustainable society (Prosperity). 2. The basic architecture of the brain is constructed through an ongoing process that begins before birth and continues into adulthood (Brain Architecture). 3. Brains are built from the bottom up (Skill Begets Skill). 4. Interaction of genes and experience shapes the developing brain and relationships are the active ingredient in this Serve and Return process (Serve and Return).
  14. 14. Reframing and the Core Story of Child Development 5. Cognitive, emotional, and social capacities are inextricably intertwined, and learning, behavior and physical and mental health are inter-related over the life course (Can’t Do One Without The Other). 6. Toxic stress damages the developing brain and leads to problems in learning, behavior, and increased susceptibility to physical and mental illness over time (Toxic Stress). 7. Brain plasticity and the ability to change behavior decrease over time and getting it right early is less costly, to society and individuals, than trying to fix it later (Pay Now or Pay Later).
  15. 15. Tested Values • Prosperity: As we look for ways to keep our country prosperous, we need to think of the connection between child development and economic development. • Ingenuity: When we invent and replicate high quality programs for young children, we can solve problems in early childhood development and shown significant long-term improvements for children. • Stewardship/Reciprocity: It is our responsibility as adults to steward the next generation. The future of our society tomorrow depends the opportunities we provide kids today. • Responsible manager: Addressing problems before they get worse is the responsible way to manage our society’s future. Taking advantage of opportunities that arise as we understand science better allows us to innovate.
  16. 16. Simplifying Models • Brain architecture - WHAT develops The early years of life matter because early experiences affect the architecture of the maturing brain. • Serve and Return - HOW that architecture gets built Scientists now know that the interactive influences of genes and experience shape the developing brain. • Types of Stress - the CONDITIONS that can disrupt development Scientists now know that “toxic stress” in early childhood is associated with such things as extreme poverty, abuse, or severe maternal depression and damages the developing brain.
  17. 17. The “What” • The early years of life matter because early experiences affect the architecture of the maturing brain. As it emerges, the quality of that architecture establishes either a sturdy or a fragile foundation for all of the development and behavior that follows --- and getting things right the first time is easier than trying to fix them later. When interpersonal experiences are disruptive, neglectful, abusive, unstable, or otherwise stressful, they increase the probability of poor outcomes. When a young child experiences excessive stress, chemicals are released in the brain that damage its developing architecture.
  18. 18. The “How” • Scientists now know that the interactive influences of genes and experience shape the developing brain. The active ingredient is the “serve and return” relationships with their parents and other caregivers in their family or community. Like the process of serve and return in games such as tennis and volleyball, young children naturally reach out for interaction through babbling and facial expressions. If adults do not respond by getting in sync and doing the same kind of vocalizing and gesturing back at them, the child’s learning process is incomplete. This has negative implications for later learning.
  19. 19. The “Conditions” • Scientists now know that “toxic stress” in early childhood is associated with such things as extreme poverty, abuse, or severe maternal depression and damages the developing brain. It is important to distinguish among three kinds of stress. We do not need to worry about positive stress (which is short-lived stress, like getting immunized). Tolerable stress is made tolerable by the presence of supportive relationships, like a strong family when a loved one dies. But toxic stress lasts longer, lacks consistent supportive relationships and leads to lifelong problems in learning, behavior, and both physical and mental health.
  20. 20. Framing “Do’s” – Prime the discussion with values like stewardship, future, responsible manager – Use the language of ordinary people, speak like you typically speak to a friend – Talk about children’s social and emotional development as well – Talk about how getting prevention right early is less costly to society, and to individuals, than trying to fix things later – Talk about the shared pleasures of raising children, for everyone – Position pre-school, or early care, as an opportunity for stimulation that all should have access to – Make community actors, neighbors, police officers, teachers, etc., visible in children’s development – Wherever possible connect children to the larger environment outside the home, i.e., school, church, temple, mosque, museums, libraries
  21. 21. Framing “Don’ts” – Begin the conversation with school readiness, brain, daycare or development – Use the language of experts, e.g., “multi-track, age appropriate development contexts – Focus only on observable learning, i.e., test scores – Use an extortion model: e.g., If you don’t do X, youth crime will go up down the road – Talk about parents as incompetent or super-competent – Make child rearing something you must have resources or education to do well – Reinforce the family, safety or individualism frames verbally or visually
  22. 22. EXERCISE
  23. 23.  Your organizations wants you to provide your marketing/media suggestions for an upcoming project.  What makes your organization unique? Different? Interesting?  Develop a media pitch. Outline a press release and Op- Ed. Develop DRAFT Talking Points. And script a PSA.  Create a narrative/story. Include frames, values, metaphors, et. Al.  Also, think about how will you collaborate across agencies. And how will you utilize your communications resources effectively.
  24. 24.  Elements of the core story  Talking points  FAQs  Sample editorial  Sample Letters to the Editor  Case studies
  25. 25. Ben Tanzer Senior Director of Strategic Communications Prevent Child Abuse America Website - Blog - Twitter - @PCAAmerica Facebook - America/14893558501