Attorney General Andy Beshear announced a series of statewide child sexual abuse prevention trainings for organizations that serve children, and presented two grants totaling more than $45,000 to support victims of child abuse.
Joined by leaders of partner organizations, Beshear made the announcements at the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass in Lexington.
The 22 trainings, set to begin this fall, aim to aid daycares, summer camps, churches and other youth-serving organizations with program evaluation and implementation of an action plan that will strengthen protocols and policies to safeguard children from sexual abuse.
“Across the country every year, approximately 35 million adults in youth-serving organizations come into contact with more than 70 million children and teens,” Beshear said. “Through these trainings we are providing support to many organizations in the state that are working hard to create and maintain a safe place for children, employees and volunteers.”
As a training partner, the Kentucky Association of Children’s Advocacy Centers will work with Beshear’s team to host trainings at advocacy centers across the state.
“Youth serving organizations are poised to serve as a first line of defense in the battle against child sexual abuse,” said Executive Director Caroline Ruschell. “By implementing the right strategies, these organizations can create an environment that fosters open dialogue and reduces opportunities for an act of abuse to occur.”
The Office of the Attorney General’s Child Victims’ Trust Fund (CVTF), administered by the Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Board (Board), is providing the funding for the trainings. The Board also approves annual grants from the CVTF to support child abuse prevention programs.
Last year, the Board sponsored statewide trainings for law enforcement, prosecutors, social workers, community advocates, religious affiliates, parents and educators on how to protect children from predators.
Beshear said the new trainings are a critical next step in protecting Kentucky’s children – one that allows his office to provide youth-serving organizations information from the risk reduction handbook that Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky developed with the assistance of a CVTF grant.
Jill Seyfred, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky attended today’s event and said the organization will continue to partner with Beshear to protect children.
“The training will help us move the needle one tick closer to achieving our ultimate goal of ensuring our children are safe; not only in their own homes, but at school, summer camps and everyplace they go,” said Seyfred.
Beshear also presented Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky with a $34,493 CVTF grant. The organization and its 130 partner groups will use the grant funding to create a public awareness campaign aimed at educating Kentuckians on how to recognize and prevent child sexual abuse.
To date, Beshear has announced more than $260,000 in CVTF grants to eight organizations working to prevent child abuse across the state, and more than $160,000 to help the state’s 15 Child Advocacy Centers cover costs associated with 2,200 child sexual abuse forensic exams.
While at the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass, Beshear presented the organization with an $11,250 grant to cover the cost of more than 150 child sexual abuse forensic exams in the Bluegrass Region this fiscal year.
“This funding is critical to our mission of helping reduce the trauma experienced by sexually abused children,” said Winn Stephens the center’s executive director. “Through our partnership we are able to provide comprehensive medical examinations that help children overcome the abuse they have suffered and bring perpetrators to justice.”
Beshear said supporting the CVTF is a direct investment in our children and encouraged others to consider making a donation, which can be made in three ways:
Beshear reminds Kentuckians that everyone has a moral and legal duty to report any instance of child abuse to local law enforcement or to Kentucky’s Child Abuse hotline at 877-597-2331 or 877-KYSAFE1.
For additional information regarding the upcoming youth-serving organization trainings, please visit, http://ag.ky.gov/family/childabuse/Pages/trainings.aspx or http://www.pcaky.org/news/freetraining.html.