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“Stewards of Children” Aims to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse in ID

PHOTO: There's a "Stewards of Children" training in Boise today - to empower caring adults to prevent child sexual abuse. The training is part of the Idaho Children's Trust Fund "Strengthening Families Institute." Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
PHOTO: There's a "Stewards of Children" training in Boise today - to empower caring adults to prevent child sexual abuse. The training is part of the Idaho Children's Trust Fund "Strengthening Families Institute." Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
March 11, 2013

BOISE, Idaho - Child sexual abuse can be prevented, and it's up to adults to prevent it. That's the premise of the Stewards of Children program, which aims to train 5 percent of Idaho's adults to be protectors of kids - a threshold determined to make a significant difference in prevention success. The training is part of the Idaho Children's Trust Fund "Strengthening Families Institute."

Angie Curtis with FACES of Ada County is offering a training today in Boise. She says it will cover the basics of who abuses children and how.

"Almost always, the abuse takes place by somebody that the child knows; often, it's also somebody that the family trusts. That's how they get access to the children."

The top tip for preventing abuse is to limit unmonitored one-on-one child-adult situations. Other strategies include asking organizations that offer children's classes about their child sex abuse prevention policies, and being sure that lessons can be observed at any time.

Curtis admitted that the facts about child sexual abuse can be sobering, since the perpetrators are usually trusted adults. However, she said, the training is empowering and not meant to close children off from mentoring relationships.

"It's important for children to have relationships with safe adults," she said. "So it gives them some tips to help limit the risk while letting children have interaction with adults."

The training lasts about three hours and costs $10. It is offered at the Red Lion Downtowner today, and Curtis said trainings are available by request anywhere in the state. Thousands of Idahoans have already completed the program, she noted.

The training is from 2 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. at the Red Lion Downtowner. The Strengthening Families Institute schedule is available at www.idahochildrenstrustfund.org.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID