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Our vision: Safe children thriving in a peaceful world




Child Abuse and Trafficking: The Connection

At a recent event at the WA State Governor’s Mansion, Committee for Children and the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center brought together groups and organizations working on the issue of trafficking, particularly as it informs policy makers and elected officials. Cultural anthropologist and Committee for Children co-founder Dr. Debra Boyer made compelling remarks and drawing the critical connect between child sexual assault and trafficking.


Impact of Media and Technology on Youth

Media and technology are changing the world as we know it. Our children are drawn to this new way of communicating, interacting and learning. The National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation encourages parents to speak with their children openly about media and technology use and set appropriate limits and safeguards.



Impact of Exposure to Sexually Explicit and Exploitative Materials

As electronic information sharing increases, parents must consider that their child may be exposed to sexually explicit and inappropriate content and the impact these materials may have on youth and adolescents. The National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation encourages parents to have ongoing dialogue with their children about materials they might encounter, explain possible consequences, as well as consistently monitor their children's electronic activities.


Our programs span the globe

As a nonprofit, our mission is to foster the social and emotional development, safety, and well-being of children through education and advocacy—and our work extends all over the world. This short video will show you more.



Senator Kohl-Welles honored with Visionary Leadership Award

Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (center) poses with Executive Director Joan Cole Duffell (left) and Dr. Debra Boyer after accepting a 2013 Visionary Leadership Award from Committee for Children.

On October 30, 2013, Committee for Children hosted local elected officials, community activists, and other guests in a celebratory reception honoring Washington State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles for her long-standing dedication to protecting Washington’s children by working to prevent human trafficking and child sexual abuse. Committee for Children board member emeritus and founder of Committee for Children, Debra Boyer, introduced the Senator and presented the Visionary Leadership Award to her. Since sitting on Committee for Children’s board of directors herself in the late 1980s, Senator Kohl-Welles has passed over a dozen laws in WA state aimed at protecting children from commercial exploitation and protecting them from child sexual abuse. She also has passed legislation strengthening the training teachers receive around recognizing and reporting child sexual abuse. Learn more about Senator Kohl-Welles.



Harkin's pitch for ESEA reauthorization

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Pensions and Labor Committee, recently made a strong pitch for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Read his article on why we must move forward with the ESEA.



Student Non-Discrimination Act

This week Committee for Children joined the National Safe Schools Partnership in a letter to Senator Tom Harkin, thanking him for making the Student Non-Discrimination Act part of his ESEA reauthorization bill (Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013).  The Student Non-Discrimination Act will address discrimination of LGBT students, giving them full recourse when schools fail to protect them from discrimination.


Massachusetts Safe and Supportive Schools Act

On May 30, 2013, Committee for Children submitted testimony encouraging the MA Legislature support S210/H520, An Act Relative to Safe and Supportive Schools. The bill:

  • Requires all schools, by 2016, to develop action plans for creating safe and supportive environments using the safe and Supportive Schools Framework and Self-Assessment Tool
  • Establishes a commission to assist statewide implementation of the Framework in schools and make ongoing recommendations
  • Establishes a Safe and Supportive Schools grant program to fund exemplar schools who wish to serve as models in creating safe and supportive schools (subject to appropriation)
  • Provides technical assistance to schools and districts

Research shows that safe and supportive whole-school environments are a necessary foundation for improving education outcomes for all students. Educators want a way to align initiatives that make schools safe and supportive: bullying prevention, dropout prevention, truancy reduction, trauma sensitivity, and social-emotional learning. 

Committee for Children supports the MA Safe and Supportive Schools Act.



Academic, Social and Emotional Learning Act of 2013

Working with CASEL, Committee for Children will be supporting the Academic, Social and Emotional Learning Act of 2013. Sponsored by Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH), this bill will expand the availability of evidence-based programs that teach students social and emotional skills, such as self-control, goal-setting, collaboration, conflict resolution and problem-solving. The bill will be introduced in Congress the week of May 5th.



A Framework for Safe and Successful Schools

Recently Committee for Children joined the National Association of School Psychologists and hundreds of other organizations in supporting their Framework for Safe and Successful Schools. This Framework will be used to call on Congress and President Obama to enact school safety policies that will genuinely support the well-being and learning of students over the long term rather than reactive strategies that may cause more harm than good.

The Framework emphasizes:

  • The importance of establishing policies and practices that are comprehensive, integrated, and multi-tiered
  • Facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration across school teams and among school and community providers
  • Make the most effective use of school personnel
  • Are sustainable.

More than 100 education and children’s mental health groups and experts have endorsed the recommendations.

  • Other recommendations include:
  • Allowing for blended, flexible use of funding streams to address school climate, safety, crisis response, and mental health needs more cohesively and effectively
  • Improving staffing ratios of school-employed mental health professionals to allow for the delivery of a full range of services and the support of effective school–community partnerships
  • Employing effective school discipline that promotes positive behavior
  • Integrating ongoing school safety and crisis and emergency preparedness and response teams, training, and planning.

Safe Schools Improvement Act: Committee for Children, along with dozens of other organizations who are members of the National Safe Schools Partnership, is enthusiastically supporting the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) as it makes its way through Congress (HR1199 in the House of Representatives and S403 in the US Senate). The SSIA will help educators effectively address the bullying and harassment that creates significant adverse consequences for students. The act will ensure that schools and districts develop policies against bullying and harassment and focus on prevention strategies. 

The National Safe Schools Partnership is an informal coalition of over 100 organizations consisting of leading national education, health, civil rights, youth development, and other groups committed to ensure that America’s schools are safe for children.

Seattle FOX News affiliate Q13 interviewed our executive director, Joan Cole Duffell, on March 14. The interview centered on Washington State Senate Bill 5563, which would require training for school staff in preventing child sexual abuse.

In February, Committee for Children and the Conditions for Learning Coalition hosted a Congressional briefing entitled Social and Emotional Learning: Essential Skills for School Safety, Positive Behavior and Higher Student Achievement. Speaking at the briefing were Committee for Children’s Executive Director Joan Duffell; Dorothy Espelage, Ph.D. of the University of Illinois and noted researcher on bullying in schools; Lori Vollandt from the Los Angeles Unified School District; Steve Zimmer, a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s school board; and Michael Searcy of the Detroit Public Schools. The speaker urged members of Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and to include funding for social-emotional learning in the bill. Coming on the heels of the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, the briefing focused on ways to help kids stay safe in school by teaching social-emotional learning. Over 75 Congressional staffers were in attendance. Highlights of the briefing:


In 2011, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the “Successful, Safe and Healthy Students” program as part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Very similar to the Safe and Drug Free Schools funding provided for in No Child Left Behind, this bill passed out of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension with bipartisan support. Committee for Children supports the inclusion of this act in future reauthorization of the ESEA or as stand-alone legislation.

On Monday, February 18, Committee for Children Executive Director (and other supporters) testify on behalf of SB5563 in the Washington State Senate. The bill would require the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop and implement a training program for all school employees regarding prevention of sexual abuse; commercial sexual abuse of a minor; and sexual exploitation of a minor. In the bill, Committee for Children is invited to join the coalition of organizations to update existing materials regarding the laws related to sex offenses; how to recognize the behaviors of sex offenders; how to prevent victimization and take advantage of community resources; and how to prevent children from being recruited into sex trafficking. See full video.


Executive Director Joan Duffell testifies at a recent Congressional briefing

Committee for Children Executive Director Joan Duffell testifies during a recent Congressional briefing titled “Social and Emotional Learning: Essential Skills for School Safety, Positive Behavior and Higher Student Achievement.”

Next week, Committee for Children Executive Director Joan Cole Duffell and others will be testifying in Washington's state capitol, Olympia, in support of legislation that would provide teachers training to identify and prevent child sexual abuse and child trafficking.  On Monday, February 18 in the state Senate and Wednesday, February 20 in the state House, supporters of SB 5563 will share research and real-world stories about the importance of implementing a training program for school employees regarding the prevention of sexual abuse, commercial sexual abuse of a minor, and sexual exploitation of a minor.  If the bill passes, Committee for Children will be invited to work with a broad coalition to update existing educational materials about the prevention of child sexual abuse.

Sponsored by Seattle Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, SB 5563 has bipartisan support and has been endorsed by King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and the Archdiocese of Seattle.

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