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PHOENIX (September 12, 2023) – Childhelp announces it has been awarded a one-year grant of $1 million to enable schools, after-school programs, and other youth serving organizations throughout Arizona to teach its curriculum, designed to educate and protect children from all forms of child abuse, at no cost. The grant comes from ACF/OPRE Office of Discretionary Services Grants–Child Care Research and covers licensing through August 2024 for the student-facing curriculum available for grades Pre-K though high school.

The comprehensive evidence-based program, Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe, teaches children how to recognize unsafe situations and identify and talk to safe adults in their lives. It empowers children to speak up with five key safety rules (age appropriate) and build skills to strengthen self-esteem, awareness and resistance strategies. The turnkey program includes in-depth facilitator training, fully scripted lessons, all materials needed, and many related resources.

“This funding will enable us to educate our Arizona children at the critical point in their lives, equipping them with the tools they need to protect themselves from predators and saving untold numbers from child abuse,” said Childhelp cofounders Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson.

The issue is critical in Arizona. According to the Child Welfare League of America, there were more than 76,000 reports of child abuse and neglect throughout the state in 2020, reflecting a much larger problem. This grant is intended to prepare youth to recognize and avoid unsafe situations and teach them where to turn if they need help.

The grant was made possible largely through the efforts of former U.S. Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, who prioritized child safety throughout her long career of public service at local, state and federal levels.

“As a mother and grandmother, I hold the protection and well-being of our children close to my heart,” said Congresswoman Kirkpatrick. “This funding represents more than just an investment in safety; it signifies a heartfelt commitment to empowering Arizona’s youth, helping them understand their worth, and securing their futures. No child should have to endure abuse or neglect, and I am deeply honored to support Childhelp’s Speak Up Be Safe curriculum in making this vision a reality.” Childhelp Speak up Be Safe is an evidence-based primary prevention curriculum aimed at stopping and preventing all forms of child abuse. The program includes developmentally appropriate lessons for grades Pre-K through 12, plus a Human Trafficking Prevention module of lessons for grades 6 through 12. Interested schools, districts, advocacy centers and other child-serving organizations can contact or visit for more information and to get started.

Alex Aley
Gordon C. James Public Relations

Childhelp Since 1959, Childhelp has been dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect and has led awareness campaigns to help educate the public. Childhelp was the driving force behind the legislation designating April as a national child abuse awareness and prevention month. It operates the only national child abuse hotline, which receives over 100,000 calls per year.

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD® is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. Serving the United States, its territories, and Canada, the Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors who can provide assistance in 170 languages. The Hotline offers crisis intervention, information, support, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service and support resources.

For more information about the Childhelp National Day of Hope or other Childhelp programs and services, visit