New Program Helps Protect Kids from Sexual Abuse: Research-based training and curriculum teaches adults as well as kids

SEATTLE—Every adult in a child’s life has the responsibility to make sure they wear a seatbelt and avoid playing with matches and guns. And that responsibility extends to keeping children safe from sexual abuse—but that’s often not an easy task. Teachers, parents, and program leaders may feel awkward talking about it and may not even know where to start.

But Committee for Children’s new Second Step Child Protection Unit gives them research-based tools they need to start these critical conversations. The newly released unit provides staff training, parent materials, and student lessons that can be used in any educational setting. The online staff training helps school administrators develop a comprehensive child protection plan and prepares all school staff to recognize indicators of abuse and neglect, identify staff violations of child protection policies, respond to a child who discloses abuse, and teach personal safety skills to students.

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Kirkwood Elementary Finds Solutions to Pressing Problems: Social-emotional learning program to be rolled out in all classrooms

TOPPENISH, WA—The Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) team at Kirkwood Elementary recently took a hard look at the school’s needs: achievement gaps in social skills and math, and physical aggression and defiance in the classroom. They determined that these seemingly unrelated problems all have the same main solution: social-emotional learning (SEL).

As Principal Shelby Robins puts it, “It was becoming very clear that if staff were to close the achievement gap in math, they would need to get the students safely to the table to do math first.” The school, whose student population is largely Native American and Hispanic with 99% free and reduced lunch, needed a way to teach all students they have a voice and that others care about their feelings and needs.

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Experts Help Parents Make Caring Common: Leading organizations team up to offer tips on raising caring, respectful, ethical children

SEATTLE—Research in human development clearly shows that the seeds of empathy, caring, and compassion are present from early in life. But to become caring, ethical people, children need adults to help them at every stage of childhood to nurture these seeds along the way.

So the Making Caring Common project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education brought social-emotional learning and character development experts and organizations together to create a set of guidelines for parents on raising caring, respectful, ethical children, along with tips for putting them into action.

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Best Prevention for Child Sexual Abuse is Open Communication

Nonprofit Launches #KeepKidsSafe Campaign to Get Families Talking

SEATTLE—The statistics are hard to believe. New research suggests that approximately 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 20 boys report experiencing childhood sexual abuse before the age of 18.1 “Child sexual abuse is pervasive, but hidden,” says Joan Cole Duffell, Executive Director of Seattle-based nonprofit Committee for Children. “Yet research shows that the best way to protect children from sexual abuse is to bring it out of the shadows. If we can break the taboo of talking about it, we will take away the offenders’ best defense: secrecy.” Toward that end, Committee for Children is launching a six-week campaign this week called #KeepKidsSafe

Keep Kids Safe
 

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Committee for Children Sponsors Points of Light Civic Accelerator: Fall 2014 Program Now Accepting Applications

SEATTLE—Committee for Children (CfC), the nation’s leading non-profit provider of social-emotional curricula, has teamed up with Atlanta-based Points of Light to find and support innovative ventures in social-emotional learning during the fall 2014 Civic Accelerator. This fall’s challenge focuses on creating new pathways and increasing access to economic opportunity for all and is open for applications until August 15 at www.pointsoflight.org/civic-incubator/apply. The 12-week accelerator program provides both non-profit and for-profit startups with valuable advice, mentoring and networking opportunities with a goal of equipping them to seek investments and scale their social innovations. It also offers $50,000 in funding to the top candidates, as selected by their social-enterprise peers.

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Lawmakers Working to Give Students Vital Skills

Congressional briefing focuses on research linking social skills, academics

WASHINGTON, DC—In a complex and increasingly challenging world, children need every competitive advantage they can get. In addition to academic skills such as reading and math, students must also develop social and emotional competencies like self-control, problem-solving, and the ability to work cooperatively with others. According to educators and researchers who presented evidence to support these findings in a congressional briefing today, these skills will help students succeed not only in school but in future roles as citizens, employees, managers, parents, volunteers, and entrepreneurs.

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Teaching Social Skills Means Assessing Them, Too

Seattle nonprofit teams up with two assessment publishers to evaluate social-emotional learning

SEATTLE—Research is showing more and more positive effects of social-emotional learning (SEL), making it an imperative part of school curriculum. But just like math and reading programs, it’s important to assess whether students are truly learning what they’re being taught.

Seattle nonprofit Committee for Children, creators of the research-based Second Step SEL program, is now partnering with publishers Apperson, Inc. and Pride Surveys to bring schools dependable tools they can use to evaluate what their students are learning in the Second Step program.

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Helping Little Children Face Big Challenges

Sesame Street teams up with Committee for Children to help kids overcome odds

NEW YORK—“Providing your love and support is the most important step in helping children develop the confidence to overcome anything they face,” reads the Little Children, Big Challenges page of nonprofit Committee for Children’s website. Sesame Workshop, creators of the iconic Sesame Street TV show, asked the Seattle-based nonprofit to collaborate in the dissemination of materials that will help young children and their adult caregivers face challenging situations like divorce and incarceration, as well as addressing general resilience.

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Social Skills Help Austin Students Overcome the Odds

New mini-documentary shows district’s focus on social-emotional learning is paying off

AUSTIN—Austin Independent School District (AISD) discovered something a few years ago that many people are just realizing: Teaching social-emotional skills can help their schools become better places and their students become better learners. AISD’s dedication to social-emotional learning (SEL) has been documented in a short film, released today.

The film, titled Austin ISD: A District Embracing SEL, was produced by Seattle nonprofit Committee for Children and tells the story of AISD’s five-year initiative to implement social-emotional learning—including Committee for Children’s research-based Second Step program—in every school. The documentary also shows the positive results AISD is already seeing from the initiative.

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