Spreading the Word about Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe

by Zuzana Urbanek, Program Manager, Curriculum 

When many schools began virtual instruction during the pandemic, educators scrambled to find ways to reach students. As schools and organizations began reopening, they scrambled again to implement new health and safety protocols, while also devising strategies to help kids catch up and to promote equity. For some, it just was not possible to fit in even the short lessons of Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe (CHSUBS). 

Despite enormous and ongoing challenges, the CHSUBS program is seeing a resurgence in attention to teaching students how to recognize, prevent, and resist abuse. Before a child can focus on learning, he or she must be safe.

We want to share some of our recent progress in prevention education.

Articles in Professional Journals 

For several years, the Arizona State University Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center (ASU SIRC) has partnered with Childhelp programs, which includes conducting research in pursuit of evidence-based status for CHSUBS. One requisite for being listed with an evidence-based programs clearinghouse is publication of research findings in professional journals. 

Good news! Two articles have been published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma about research into the effectiveness of the CHSUBS curriculum with high school students. Here are the citations, with links to the full articles:  

  • Diaz, M.J., Wolfersteig, W., Moreland, D., Yoder, G., Dustman, P., Harthun, M. Teaching Youth to Resist Abuse: Evaluation of a Strengths-Based Child Maltreatment Curriculum for High School Students. Journ Child Adol Trauma 14, 141–149 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40653-020-00304-2 
  • Diaz, M.J., Moreland, D. & Wolfersteig, W. (2021). Assessing the Effects of Childhelp’s Speak Up be Safe Child Abuse Prevention Curriculum for High School Students. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40653-021-00353-1 

Presentations and Outreach 

In the year of “going virtual,” the CHSUBS team stepped up efforts to connect. 

  • We created a mini-course in our learning management system (LMS) to help CHSUBS facilitators present lessons virtually.
  • We produced a series of short cartoon videos to help adults talk to kids about online safety.
  • Together with the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, we created a public service announcement with tips for parents and educators, which also featured advocate, abuse survivor, and CHSUBS spokesperson Jenna Quinn. 
  • Jenna Quinn spoke virtually – and eventually at live events again – across the nation about the vital role of child abuse prevention education.
  • In January through March 2021, Jenna also joined in, along with Childhelp Youth Sports Ambassador Kialani Mills, in a webinar series for families that highlighted the Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe safety rules.
  • A new set of downloadable posters about child abuse signs, symptoms, and risk factors (plus protective factors) is available on our website.
  • Many conversations are ongoing with potential partner organizations to bring CHSUBS to new audiences through innovative presentations. We look forward to sharing all the good news about these efforts soon.
  • In July, CHSUBS will exhibit at the American School Counselors Association conference to reach the audience that makes up the great majority of purchase influencers and facilitators of the CHSUBS program. 

Legislative Interest 

In speaking with legislators during the virtual fly-in on the Childhelp National Day of Hope (April 7, 2021), we learned that many have interest in furthering the cause of child abuse prevention education. 

It all begins with CAPTA and VOCA: We were thrilled to see the House pass H.R. 485, a reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, and H.R. 1652, a fix to ensure funding for the Victims of Crime Act. These bills will help ensure that Childhelp can continue to provide the highest quality services. Both of these bills passed in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion, and we hope to see the same in the Senate. 

In the coming year, we will work closely with senators and representatives across the nation to promote access and funding to child abuse prevention education.

Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe is an evidence-based, primary prevention curriculum aimed at stopping and preventing child abuse and neglect. Delivered from Pre-K to 12th grade, lessons  teach children how to identify unsafe situations, how to identify and talk to safe adults, and five safety rules to help adults keep them safe. If you want to contribute to the initiative, you can donate online. If you want to learn more about getting Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe into your school or a nearby school, visit speakupbesafe.org.