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Free Training Aims to Help Adults Protect Children From Sexual Abuse

Posted on July 31, 2018

Johnstown, PA (July 31, 2018) –When Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Monday that his office had filed additional charges against a Johnstown pediatrician accused of sexually assaulting children, the news highlighted the importance of learning how to protect children through awareness, prevention and intervention.

Although teaching children about their bodies and boundaries is important, adults can help to reduce the risk of child sexual abuse by understanding the facts and taking steps to minimize opportunities during which abuse can occur. Stewards of Children® is an evidence-informed child sexual abuse training that teaches adults practical actions to prevent child sexual abuse or intervene if abuse is suspected. The training is designed for parents, concerned individuals, and anyone over age 18 who is concerned with the safety of children and is FREE in Cambria and Somerset Counties through the Safe and Healthy Communities Initiative. 

A pilot project of Penn State and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the Safe and Healthy Communities Initiative (SHCI) is a statewide, comprehensive Child Sexual Abuse prevention strategy with interventions that target school-aged children, parents in high-risk families and the general adult community. That is where Stewards of Children® comes in.

“Stewards of Children® is a two-hour training that reinforces the personal responsibility we share as adults in protecting children from sexual abuse,” explained Valerie Fletcher, Stewards of Children® facilitator at The Learning Lamp. “Participants learn the facts about abuse, when and under what circumstances that abuse is most likely to occur, how to minimize those opportunities, recognize the signs and react responsibly when you suspect boundaries are crossed.”

Over the next three years, through the Somerset County Commissioners’ Office, the Safe and Healthy Communities Initiative in Cambria and Somerset Counties aims to deliver Stewards of Children® to 5% of the adult population in each county. The SHCI also includes implementation of the school-based intervention Safe Touches to 100% of second grade classrooms in the region and parent-focused intervention through programs such as Incredible Years, SafeCare and Parents As Teachers, with a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention-specific module. For more information about Stewards of Children® or to schedule a training for your parent group, workplace, club or organization, call Val at 814-262-0732 ext. 292 or email vfletcher@thelearninglamp.org. To learn more about the entire Safe and Healthy Communities Initiative, contact Shiryl Barto at 814-443-1676, or via email at SHCI@co.somerset.pa.us.

The Learning Lamp is a nonprofit organization with a mission to engage all children in the support they need to succeed. We deliver high quality programs that are affordable and accessible to families of all income levels. The Learning Lamp served 37,197 children and adults from 52 school districts and 71 non-public and private schools and other organizations in 19 Pennsylvania counties and communities in Maryland and West Virginia in 2017.

Our programs include: one-to-one tutoring; before/after school programs; portable classrooms aimed at building math and science skills; alternative education programs for at-risk students; evidence-based prevention programs; online learning and credit recovery; SAT preparation; educationally-focused child care; literacy-based preschool programs; and grant writing and project consulting for schools.

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