Mayor Annise Parker Announces Groundbreaking Training Initiative for Public Teachers to Prevent, Recognize and React Responsibly to Child Sexual Abuse
Mayor Annise Parker, the Children’s Assessment Center and YMCA of Greater Houston announced that 600 Region 4 public school teachers will receive child sexual abuse (CSA) prevention and response training. Scheduled for August 21, 2013, this will be the largest single-day training of its kind. In all, more than 4,100 Houston area public school teachers will receive CSA prevention training over the next year.
This groundbreaking effort supports a common goal of enhancing the wellbeing and quality of life for children and families in Houston. Their collaboration leverages the resources and expertise each organization has to offer in a concerted effort to maximize the program’s reach and impact.
On Tuesday, August 20, 30 individuals will receive training to become authorized facilitators (trainers) of Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention training program. Twenty-four hours later, these 30 facilitators will then train 600 public school teachers how to prevent CSA, recognize the signs of sexual abuse, and respond if abuse is suspected. The two-hour Stewards of Children training an evidence-informed program designed to increase knowledge, improve attitudes, and change child protective behaviors. This training acts as a starting point for similar collaborative Stewards of Children seminars across the State of Texas. Prevention programs in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio will train nearly 15,000 public school teachers by the end of 2013.
“The work of protecting our children is the responsibility of the adults in their lives,” said Mayor Parker. “With the help of these two extraordinary agencies, The Children’s Assessment Center and the YMCA of Greater Houston, we will be able to educate a large number of adults who can help to keep our children safe from those that would harm them. We hope this program model will inspire other cities and communities across the nation to make the commitment to prevention.”
Elaine Stolte, Executive Director for The Children’s Assessment Center added, “The Children’s Assessment Center is excited to be training nearly 600 teachers tomorrow on how to recognize, respond and report child sexual abuse. The future of our community depends on healthy and happy children and we are grateful to be part of this exciting national prevention curriculum to change child protective behaviors. As a leader in the advocacy center movement we are embracing the opportunity to be a leader in training our teachers to keep our children safe.
“We want all kids to be safe and protected from abusers,” said Paul McEntire, Chief Operating Officer of the YMCA of Greater Houston. “The health and happiness of the children in our community should be our priority. By joining forces in this effort, we make our community stronger.”
This prevention effort also helps to meet the requirements of Texas State Legislature Senate Bill 471, which mandates implementation of training and policies addressing sexual abuse and other maltreatment of children in public schools and several other youth serving organizations. While the bill does not address funding for the mandated training, organizations across Texas are working together to explore creative funding options. The project to train 15,000 teachers this year is a collaborative funding project from more than seven private funders across this State.
About The Children’s Assessment Center
The Children’s Assessment Center of Houston, TX treats nearly 5,000 sexually abused children each year. Their mission is to provide a professional, compassionate and coordinated approach to the treatment of sexually abused children and their families and to serve as an advocate for all children in our community. Founded in 1991, the CAC brings together social workers, physicians, attorneys and law enforcement professionals in one central location to provide a continuum of critical, coordinated services. The CAC represents a true partnership of the public and private sectors joining to provide the most effective service delivery to children and families.
About The YMCA of Greater Houston
First organized in 1886, the YMCA of Greater Houston is one of the city’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The YMCA, a United Way of Greater Houston agency, seeks to serve all – regardless of age, income, faith or background and we welcome everyone. In the greater Houston area, 37 YMCA facilities, one overnight camp and hundreds of program sites nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the city’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in the Houston community, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. To learn more, call 713-659-5566 or visit us on the web at www.ymcahouston.org.
About Darkness to Light (D2L)
Darkness to Light is the recognized national leader in the field of child sexual abuse prevention education for adults, with affiliates in all 50 U.S. states and 16 additional countries. Stewards of Children is available in English and Spanish-translated versions, and can be taken in both online and facilitator-led formats. Currently, Darkness to Light has trained nearly 500,000 people in child sexual abuse prevention, with 6,000 authorized facilitators and 250 Partners in Prevention. Visit D2L.org for more information.