Texas Approves Training to Protect Campers and Staff from Child Sexual Abuse

NEWS RELEASE

October 17, 2023
For immediate release
Media contact: Cara Scarola Hansen
Center for Child Counseling Public Relations Counsel
cara@yourmissionmarketing.com

Texas Approves Training to Protect Campers and Staff from Child Sexual Abuse
Center for Child Counseling’s CampSafe® training approved by Texas Department of State Health Services

Every year, about 26 million children attend roughly 15,000 day and overnight summer camps across the United States. In the past 25 years, more than 575 cases of child sexual abuse have been reported at camps in North America. Unfortunately, given 86% of abused victims never disclose sexual assault at all, that number is likely much higher. Earlier this month, the Texas Department of State Health Services approved Center for Child Counseling’s CampSafe® training which is designed to provide camp leadership and staff with the awareness and knowledge needed to prevent child sexual abuse. 

Every nine minutes, a child is a victim of sexual abuse and assault (rainn.org). Of those children who are sexually abused, 90% are abused by someone they know and trust. Center for Child Counseling (CFCC), a Florida-based nonprofit, wants to ensure every child, including all who attend day and overnight camps, is protected and safe from abuse. 

“We applaud the State of Texas for mandating instruction within schools and camps on child sexual abuse awareness and prevention and now for putting its stamp of approval on our CampSafe® training in order to provide more options of protection for children with increased prevention and awareness in the summer months,” said CEO of CFCC Renée Layman.

For summer 2023, more than 7,000 camp staff–across 75 camps in 27 states and Canada– participated in the CampSafe® training program, protecting more than 37,000 campers from child sexual abuse. The goal is for all staff–including counselors, administrators, supervisors, dining and health personnel– volunteers, and board members to arrive at camp with the same strong foundational knowledge of child sexual abuse prevention and awarenss. 

“Our philosophy is to empower caregivers in all settings with a level of confidence around this topic, therefore better protecting all staff and campers. Training staff and volunteers helps break the cycle of child sexual abuse and shines an important light on this often-taboo topic,” said Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW, director of national outreach and education for CFCC and creator of the CampSafe® training.

The program was created with both young adults, ages 18-26, and more seasoned staff in mind to take the topic seriously but not instill fear and reinforce the message of how to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse. The training promotes compassion toward campers as staff become fluent in the language of safety while providing comfort, aide, and access to supervisory staff for guidance.

According to Nathaniel Miller, a director with New Life Camp, North Carolina, “CampSafe provided an easy yet effective resource to train our summer and seasonal staff in the important understanding of protecting children placed in our care. It handles the serious matter of child abuse in a way that doesn’t sugarcoat the problem but also makes it digestible for high school and college-aged staff. The online course also provided great discussion points when we did our in-person training.” 

From setting healthy boundaries to ensuring the entire camp team has a consistent safety protocol, CampSafe® training provides scenarios, interactive learning, and clear safety language for staff. Director training modules include: interviewing and background check protocol; child protection policy and procedures; supervising around the issues of child sexual abuse prevention; in-person followup training to provide during pre-camp week; links to state resources; establishing healthy boundaries ice breakers for counselors and campers; sexual harassment; letters to parents and staff; and post-testing for certification. 

“Training before staff arrive at camp, focused squarely on sexual abuse prevention, sends a message that your camp has ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual abuse. This helps weed out potential staff who may have other motives,” added Benjoseph. 

The CampSafe® program was developed by professionals with expertise in sexual abuse prevention and training. The Center for Child Counseling team partnered with experts in learning and development, using the most up-to-date elearn method. The training is designed to empower all camp personnel, gently but thoroughly, before camp begins.

In addition to the State of Texas approving CampSafe® for both Youth Camp and Campus Programs for Minors, the American Camp Association also endorses the program. CampSafe® can be provided to all camp staff for a nominal fee, ranging from $250-$650 depending on the number of staff members being trained. 

For camp associations, camp directors, parks and recreation departments, and school districts interested in learning more about how to be proactive in preventing and responding to child sexual abuse at your day or overnight camp, visit centerforchildcounseling.org/campsafe or email bekidsafe@centerforchildcounseling.org.

About Center for Child Counseling
Center for Child Counseling has been building the foundation for playful, healthful, and hopeful living for children and families in Palm Beach County since 1999. Its services focus on preventing and healing the effects of adverse experiences and toxic stress on children, promoting resiliency and healthy family, school, and community relationships. www.centerforchildcounseling.org Twitter: @ChildCounselPBC Facebook: @CenterforChildCounseling Instagram: @childcounselpbc

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beKidSafe.org Teaches Teachers How to Keep Kids Safe

September 28, 2023
For immediate release
Media contact: Cara Scarola Hansen
Center for Child Counseling Public Relations Counsel
cara@yourmissionmarketing.com 

beKidSafe.org Teaches Teachers How to Keep Kids Safe
Center for Child Counseling launches an online platform to ensure children grow up safe from abuse.

28 states, including Florida, and D.C. have passed legislation mandating instruction within schools on child sexual abuse awareness and prevention, as of January 2023. Unfortunately, 14 states have no laws in place. Center for Child Counseling (CFCC) wants to ensure every student throughout Florida, and across the United States, is protected and safe from abuse. To attain this goal, the Palm Beach Gardens-based agency recently launched beKidSafe.org–an online platform with prevention education for all adults who work with children. 

Every nine minutes, a child is a victim of sexual abuse and assault (rainn.org). Florida ranks third in the nation in calls to the National Human Trafficking hotline. It is reported far too often—teachers, coaches, pastors, priests, family members, friends, neighbors, political and business leaders charged with sexual assault. One in four girls and one in thirteen boys will report they were sexually abused by the age of 18. 70 to 90 percent of commercially exploited youth have a history of child sexual abuse. Awareness of these offenders and those victims being grotesquely violated and trafficked is not enough: the abuse needs to be stopped before it happens!

beKidSafe.org is a platform for educators, camp staff, and other child-facing professionals to easily access online training programs, like Stay KidSafe!™ and CampSafe®, and workshops to learn how to keep children safe through effective strategies that prevent abuse, build safety and communication skills, promote positive relationships and resilience, and identify risk early.

Stay KidSafe!™ is an online training designed to provide educators and students with the awareness and knowledge needed to prevent child sexual abuse. Since 2009, the Stay KidSafe!™ program has empowered more than 60,000 children with personal safety education and has taught more than 50,000 parents, guardians, teachers, and child-serving professionals how to keep kids safe. In addition to protecting children from sexual abuse, KidSafe teaches children safety tools and skills that help them make safe and smart choices in all areas as they become healthy, powerful adults.

CampSafe®  ultimately serves the same purpose as Stay KidSafe!™ but is training for camp leadership and staff. For summer 2023, more than 7,000 camp staff across 75 camps participated in the CampSafe® training program, protecting more than 37,000 campers from child sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse and human trafficking can have long-lasting physical and emotional effects, including: depression, eating disorders, self-blame, self-destructive behaviors, intergenerational cyclical abuse, learning disabilities, drug abuse. 

“As devastating as this public health crisis is, sexual abuse and these long-term effects can be prevented through education. We created beKidSafe.org to make it easy for ALL adults to become trauma-aware and recognize and stop childhood trauma and abuse in its tracks.” stated Renée Layman, CEO for Center for Child Counseling.

The training programs and workshops offered on beKidSafe.org were developed by professionals with expertise in sexual abuse prevention and training. Center for Child Counseling partnered with experts in learning and development, using the most up-to-date elearn method utilizes engaging, child-friendly content, including professionally animated videos and age-appropriate safety skills and lessons. 

Stay KidSafe!™ is available at no cost to child-serving organizations and schools in Palm Beach County, FL, and reduced cost to other schools and districts throughout the state and country thanks to financial support from partner organizations, such as: Impact the Palm Beaches, the Morgridge Family Foundation, Boca Regional Hospital, Boca West Children’s Foundation, The Batchelor Foundation, First Horizon Foundation, Florida Blue Foundation, and Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. 

For teachers, schools, districts, and parents interested in learning more about how to be proactive in preventing and responding to child sexual abuse, visit bekidsafe.org or email info@centerforchildcounseling.org to learn more. 

Layman emphasized, “Education is the key to prevention–we must empower our schools, homes, and communities with the tools to teach children and adults how to keep kids safe. It’s time we move beyond awareness and take action to stop sexual abuse before it happens so kids can grow up to be healthy, powerful adults!”

Click here to view the news release.

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Keep Kids Safe at Camp this Summer

NEWS RELEASE

April 24, 2023
For immediate release
Media contact: Cara Scarola Hansen
Center for Child Counseling Public Relations Counsel
cara@yourmissionmarketing.com
 

Keep Kids Safe at Camp this Summer

Center for Child Counseling’s CampSafe® Training is designed to protect campers and staff from child sexual abuse.

Every nine minutes, a child is a victim of sexual abuse and assault (rainn.org). Of those children who are sexually abused, 90% are abused by someone they know and trust. In the past 25 years, more than 575 cases of child sexual abuse have been reported at camps in North America. With summer around the corner, Center for Child Counseling (CFCC) wants to ensure every camper across the United States is protected and safe from abuse. CampSafe® is an online training designed to provide camp leadership and staff with the awareness and knowledge needed to prevent child sexual abuse. 

For summer 2022, over 7,000 camp staff across 54 camps participated in the CampSafe® training program. The goal is for all staff, including counselors, administrators, supervisors, dining and health personnel, volunteers, and board members to arrive at camp with the same strong foundational knowledge of child sexual abuse prevention and awarenss. 

“Our philosophy is to empower caregivers in all settings with a level of confidence around this topic, therefore better protecting all staff and campers. Training staff and volunteers helps break the cycle of child sexual abuse and shines an important light on this often-taboo topic,” said Cherie Benjoseph, CFCC director of national outreach and education and creator of the CampSafe® curriculum.

The program was created with young adults, ages 18-26, in mind to take the topic seriously but not instill fear. The training promotes compassion toward campers as staff become fluent in the language of safety while providing comfort, aide, and access to supervisory staff for guidance.

According to Nathaniel Miller, a director with New Life Camp, North Carolina, “CampSafe provided an easy yet effective resource to train our summer and seasonal staff in the important understanding of protecting children placed in our care. It handles the serious matter of child abuse in a way that doesn’t sugarcoat the problem but also makes it digestible for high school and college-aged staff. The online course also provided great discussion points when we did our in-person training.” 

From setting healthy boundaries to ensuring the entire camp team has a consistent safety protocol, CampSafe® training provides scenarios, interactive learning, and clear safety language for staff. Director training modules include: interviewing and background check protocol; child protection policy and procedures; supervising around the issues of child sexual abuse prevention; in-person followup training to provide during pre-camp week; links to state resources; establishing healthy boundaries ice breakers for counselors and campers; sexual harassment; letters to parents and staff; pre- and post-testing for certification. 

“Training focused squarely on sexual abuse prevention sends a message that your camp has ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual abuse. This helps weed out potential staff who may have other motives,” added Benjoseph. 

The CampSafe® program was developed by professionals with expertise in sexual abuse prevention and training. The Center for Child Counseling team partnered with experts in learning and development, using the most up-to-date elearn method. The training is designed to empower all camp personnel, gently but thoroughly, before camp begins.

CampSafe® is endorsed by the American Camp Association and can be provided to all camp staff for a nominal fee, ranging from $250-$650 depending on the number of staff members being trained. 

For camp associations, camp directors, parks and recreation departments, and school districts interested in learning more about how to be proactive in preventing and responding to child sexual abuse at your day or overnight camp, visit centerforchildcounseling.org/campsafe or email campsafe@centerforchildcounseling.org. 

Interview availability:

Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW, CFCC director of national outreach and education and creator of the CampSafe® curriculum.

CampSafe® Resources:

About Center for Child Counseling
Center for Child Counseling has been building the foundation for playful, healthful, and hopeful living for children and families in Palm Beach County since 1999. Its services focus on preventing and healing the effects of adverse experiences and toxic stress on children, promoting resiliency and healthy family, school, and community relationships. As of October 2022, KidSafe Foundation now operates under Center for Child Counseling as the two entities are now stronger together in their education and prevention of child sexual abuse and childhood trauma.
www.centerforchildcounseling.org Twitter: @ChildCounselPBC Facebook: @CenterforChildCounseling Instagram: @childcounselpbc

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