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Protecting children from abuse, physically and mentally is a major responsibility for all caregivers of children. This includes parents, teachers and childcare workers. According to research conducted by Spungen, Jensen, Finkelstein and Satinsky, it was estimated that one out of five females and one out of six males would be the victim of sexual abuse before the age of 18. In 1985 it was estimated that over 113,000 children between the ages of six through 18 were sexually assaulted in that year alone (Spungen, et al 1989, p127). Due to the increasing incidence of child sexual abuse, a need arose for prevention and training programs for families and caregivers of children. To fulfill this need, child sexual abuse prevention education programs were established.
Research conducted in 1987, indicated that over nine million preschoolers and millions of school aged children were cared for by some type of daycare program. Consequently, daycare providers were in a unique position to provide this prevention program (Spungen, et al 1989, p127.)
The first such program was established in Philadelphia at the Federation Day Care Services. The goal of the program was to enhance the knowledge of staff, parents and children and to help children develop skills to protect themselves from sexual abuse. The goal for parents and staff was to help them become sensitive about child safety issues and be prepared to cope with the feelings that the children expressed. This program was developed and coordinated by an interagency committee comprised of administrators, educational supervisors and masters prepared social workers who had expertise and training the area of child sexual abuse (Spungen, et al 1989, p127).
In developing this program they used the eight basic steps for problem management (Halley, Kopp, Austin 1998, p 183).
1. Perceiving a need and then defining the problem that must be addressed
2. Stating a purpose to be achieved by addressing the problem.
3. Collecting data related to the situation.
4. Using the data to generate alternative responses, opportunities, or solutions to the problems.
5. Assessing the costs of pursing different solutions and weighing the choices.
8. Evaluating the results and beginning again, drawing on what is learned.
To effectively implement this prevention program, each audience was identified to develop a different service delivery system. Staff training and parent workshops were conducted by social workers. Classroom teachers implemented programming for children. The linking policy that was used in these deliveries was that of direct practice with the consumer. According to Halley, Kopp, and Austin "Human service practitioners make, advance, retard and shape policy all the time during their interactions with consumers and with each other ...the work of delivering human services is linked to all aspects of social policy" (Halley, Kopp and Austin, 1998 p100 & 101).
The goals for staff were to increase awareness of child sexual abuse, increase their comfort level and improve their ability to teach prevention curriculum. In addition to providing a safe environment for children to express themselves and also be able to identify and react appropriately to disclosures of abuse (Spungen, et al 1989, p128).
In the first year, two staff training sessions were held at each branch of the Federation Day Care Services. The first session focused on the identification and assessment of child sexual abuse, the second was on disclosures and reporting procedures. There was minimal discussion of the curriculum yet the staff was expected to follow it strictly. Due to the rigidity of the program, staff was resistant to the workshops and felt the training was unnecessary. The committee paid too little attention to the staff's feeling and attitudes regarding this issue. They also did not focus enough attention on teachers' feedback on the curriculum. As a result, there was low staff enthusiasm and increased staff resistance to the training. By the end of the first year the committee became aware of the staff's resistance to the training approach and felt the need to address their concerns. To respond to these concerns and to meet the staff's needs, the committee used the feedback from teachers and actively involved them in the development of the next year's program (Spungen, et al 1989, p128).
Names mentioned in this term paper
Spungen, Halley, Kopp, Satinsky, Judy; Austin,
Organizations talked about in this essay
Federation Day Care Services,
Locations referenced in this report
Keywords talked about in this report
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