Monico promotes child abuse prevention in North Carolina

Elon faculty Carmen Monico trains with Connections Matter with Prevent Child Abuse in North Carolina 

Carmen Monico, assistant professor of human service studies, is bringing a program to Elon and surrounding communities with the goal of preventing child abuse in North Carolina. 

Elon faculty Carmen Monico and Elon partner Julie Budd from Crossroads during the Connections Matter ® training.

Monico and Julie Budd of Crossroads Sexual Assault Response & Resource Center recently completed training with Prevent Child Abuse in North Carolina and the Train a Trainer Connections Matter initiative. The Connections Matter framework provides a strengths-based approach to understanding adverse childhood experiences and the vital role caring relationships play in buffering the long-term negative outcomes of those experiences. 

Monico and Budd’s training focused on a study that showed more than half of adults in Iowa experienced at least one type of abuse or household dysfunction as children. The team plans to bring the program to the Burlington and Elon communities by offering Connections Matter training to community leaders and students. The program will also be folded into the service-learning activities of the Monico’s human service studies courses in the coming year. 

Child abuse and neglect can cause toxic levels of stress that, over time, change the structure of the developing brain and lead to poor health, learning and overall well-being. Significant levels of toxic stress in childhood increases the likelihood of depression, diabetes and heart disease in a child’s lifetime. 

However, social supports and caring connections strengthen families, mitigating the negative outcomes of childhood trauma and reducing the risk of child abuse or neglect. Connected communities have lower crime rates, better physical and mental health, and spend less money on treating social problems. ​

Information on Connections Matter is available through Prevent Child Abuse Iowa or by visiting