By Beth Christian
The Parsons Advocate
PARSONS – A local group is hosting workshops to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child-protective behaviors. The Stewards of Children program is for any responsible adult caring for the welfare of children and appropriate for youth serving organizations, churches and community groups.
The Randolph Tucker Children’s Advocacy Center is sponsoring the programs and they will be hosted free of charge. Topics covered include facts about the problem of child sexual abuse, types of situations in which child sexual abuse might occur and simple, effective strategies for protecting children from sexual abuse. The program will help increase awareness of the prevalence, consequences and circumstances of child sexual abuse.
Randolph Tucker Children’s Advocacy Center Executive Director Lydia Johnson Grady said she hopes folks will attend the trainings. RTCAC Advocacy and Prevention Coordinator Margot Kubichek said the Stewards of Children program is an evidence-based model that teaches community members, staff and parents how to recognize and prevent child sexual abuse.
“It gives them empowerment skills to know what to do and to take the next steps,” Kubichek said. “Then they learn how to protect our kids.”
Kubichek said it helps folks know what to do if someone comes up to them and tells them this is going on to them.
“It develops concrete skills,” Kubichek said. “It is appropriate for adults or older teens that may be working as counselors at camps or working with kids in the field.”
The programs will be offered at the following times:
April 13 5 to 7 p.m. at Davis Thomas Elementary Middle School
April 19 10 a.m. to noon at the Tucker Board of Education
April 19 4 to 7 p.m. at the Tucker County Board of Education
April 26 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. St. George Medical Clinic
May 23 6 to 8 p.m. at the RTCAC Office in Elkins
June 25 10 a.m. to noon at the RTCAC Office in Elkins
The April 19 training is being hosted by the Tucker County Family Resource Network in Parsons.
Another training sponsored by the RTCAC is open to the public and is primarily for medical providers. The presenter is Cyndi Leahy, forensic nurse examiner program coordinator and clinical manager at Winchester Medical Center.
“We have a really amazing trainer coming from Winchester,” Grady said. “She has put together 3-hour training on recognizing signs and symptoms if a child comes in for an appointment that might be indicative of abuse or neglect and how to document those injuries as well as how to document information from the child and the care giver. That is going to be offered from 1 to 4 p.m. April 1 at the Davis Medical Center cafeteria overflow. That is how we are kicking off our child abuse awareness month.”
Grady said there will be continuing education credits offered for nursing and social workers.
The group will have its fifth-annual Champion for Children Dinner at Orchard Hall in Elkins at 6:30 p.m. April 22.
“Doors open at 5:45 p.m. and dinner is served at 6:30 p.m.” Grady said. “We will have a live auction and the entertainment will be provided by the Midland Elementary School Choir. It’s going to be a great time.”
Grady said children are welcome to attend the dinner and said the atmosphere is very family friendly.
“We will have a kid’s activity table set up again this year,” Grady said. “I just want folks to know it is a family dinner and children are welcome.”
Additional information about the RTCAC is available by calling 304-630-2214 or online at www.rtcac.org.