Law Requires School Personnel to Take Course on Child Abuse, Allows Parents the Same Training

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Carbon School District Press Release

Last year, the Utah State Legislature passed a bill that would require all school personnel to have training on child sexual abuse.

The administration, staff and teachers in Carbon School District are now taking an on-line course that is also offered to the public.

“We would like to see parents take this course so they understand the problems,” said Judy Mainord, the Secondary Supervisor for the district. “It would be valuable to them. For the school personnel, training focuses on four kinds of child abuse: physical, mental/emotional, sexual and neglect.”

The parent training focuses recognizing and prevention child sexual abuse, which is a significant problem across the country; percentages show that it is very high in Utah. Generally speaking, one in four girls and one in six boys are abused by someone before they reach the age of 17. Recognizing abused children early by parents, friends and school personnel can be the key to keeping the problem from affecting children when they get older. The cost of child sexual abuse in a year in Utah is one billion dollars. That’s because the cost of taking care of the mental and behavior problems that are caused by these actions is immense should abuse happen and if it is not detected and treated early.

Legislative House Bill (H.B.) 286, has been scheduled for a year to be fully implemented in schools in the 2016-17 school year. The law as passed requires the following things to happen during the academic year.

First, it requires that the Utah Board of Education, in partnership with the Department of Human Services, approve instructional materials for child abuse prevention.

Second, it requires Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to use the instructional materials approved by the Board to provide child abuse awareness and prevention training and instruction of school personnel. As well, these same materials are used to train parents/guardians of elementary school students.

It also provides that a school district or charter school may provide child sexual abuse prevention and awareness instruction to elementary school students, subject to certain requirements.

The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) has approved the guidelines for instructional materials for child sexual abuse prevention. Those minimum guidelines were developed with help from multiple state agencies, prevention advocates and other experts in the field.

While professionals in the schools are some of the best individuals to help prevent abuse and to call attention to problems that may exist, parents are the ones who can do the most to prevent child sexual abuse.

Parents are the ideal messengers for child sexual abuse prevention efforts. They can have a direct effect on their children, other parents and many professionals who work with children they encounter in their daily lives. Parents have preexisting skills, such as their instincts to protect their child and their intimate knowledge of child development, which can be built on through prevention education.

The offered course teaches parents how to protect their children from child sexual abuse, how to recognize signs that abuse is occurring and take steps to stop it, how to receive disclosures of child sexual abuse, and who disclosures or concerns should be reported to.

Taking the course on-line is easy and is actually very interesting. Many people who think they know a lot about child sexual abuse are surprised by what they learn from the material presented in the course. The process takes under an hour to complete.

To learn about the course and to take it, parents and others can go to https://pcau.enspark.com

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