Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden discusses the Stewards of Children program during a press conference at UD.

Recognizing, reporting child abuse

UD will train 1,100 individuals in first phase of Stewards of Children program

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8:26 a.m., Feb. 21, 2012--“One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18, yet only one in ten abused kids reaches out for help.”  This is the sobering statistic provided by Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden as he discussed the Stewards of Children program, aimed at training adults to recognize and report child abuse.

During a press conference held Thursday, Feb. 16, at the University of Delaware, Attorney General Biden was joined by UD President Patrick T. Harker, the presidents of Delaware State University, Delaware Technical Community College and the vice president for academic affairs of Wilmington University as they announced plans to introduce the Stewards of Children training to their campuses.

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Already at work in 48 states and 10 countries, the Stewards of Children program is designed to teach adults the signs of child sex abuse to prevent it and report suspected incidents. It highlights facts about abuse, common situations in which it occurs, ways to talk to children and adults about it, and simple and effective protection strategies. Taught by trained facilitators to the general public, the program is brief, inexpensive and effective.

“This is an important opportunity for the higher education community to be proactive in our defense of children,” said Harker. “In the first phase of this program, we will train nearly 1,100 individuals affiliated with the University of Delaware, and we plan to take this training throughout Delaware – to all three counties – to ensure that everyone associated with UD acts immediately and responsibly on behalf of the children in our care.” 

The training will be under the coordination of Jennifer (J.J.) Davis, UD’s vice president for finance and administration, with assistance from Lynn Okagaki, dean of the College of Education and Human Development.

“This is an issue that we take very seriously in the College of Education and Human Development,” said Okagaki. “We have a number of programs in place that educate not only our students but also faculty and staff how to identify, prevent and report abuse. It is a natural fit for our college to serve as an active partner in this program.”

Since the Stewards of Children program was launched in September, more than 2,000 people have been trained, with a goal to certify 35,000 Delawareans over the next five years. 

“It is not a child’s job to protect him or herself from abuse, it’s our job as adults,” said Attorney General Biden. 

To learn more about the Stewards of Children program, visit Prevent Child Abuse Delaware or call 302-425-7490. 

Article by Alison Burris

Photo by Evan Krape

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