Last week we highlighted the Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief. This week let us discuss a program that takes a direct and comprehensive approach to educating adults and youth serving organizations to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse: Stewards of Children.
Child sexual abuse is a real and complex problem, not only in our community, but across America. As a father of two boys, anything that affects their safety and well-being is of high importance to me, especially when you consider these statistics: About 10 percent of child sexual abuse cases are reported. The Memphis Child Advocacy Center saw over 1,000 children last year — thousands more go unreported. Ninety percent are abused by someone known to the child, including trusted adults. The median age for reported abuse is 9 years old.
We need to be proactive in educating adults to be a part of the solution because a child’s safety is an adult’s job. We teach our children to wear seat belts and not talk to strangers, but we need to do our part in taking responsibility as well.
Stewards of Children is the only nationally distributed, evidence-based program proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes, and change child protective behaviors. Through a three-hour interactive training session with an authorized facilitator, adults learn seven steps needed to protect children. Steps cover topics, like learning the facts and understanding the risks, asking the right questions, properly minimizing one-adult/one-child situations, and communication tips that break down barriers. Overall, the program addresses the tough issues and support necessary to create change in our community.
The Stewards of Children program is offered locally through the Memphis Child Advocacy Center. If you or your organization works with youth, please consider hosting a training session. If you have employees with young children, it is a tremendous enrichment opportunity for parents. There is a nominal cost for a guidebook, but the small investment is well worth it when you consider we might help save a child. For more information about Stewards of Children, please contact Carol Drake at 901-888-4363 or cdrake@MemphisCAC.org.
Jeremy C. Park is president of the Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club. He is host of “The Spark” on WKNO-TV Channel 10 on the third Thursday of each month at 9 p.m. and the “Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club” on KWAM-AM 990 on Saturday at 1 p.m.