SHCI Interventions


The Safe and Healthy Communities Initiative (SHCI) implements three different evidence-based programs to three distinct populations that have an important role in the prevention of child sexual abuse (CSA): (1) adults in the community; (2) second grade children; and (3) parents enrolled in generalized parent education programs. These three groups receive a corresponding evidence-based program: Stewards of Children, the community-based intervention; Safe Touches, the school-based intervention; and Smart Parents – Safe and Healthy Kids, the parent-focused intervention.


Community-based Component: Stewards of Children 

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State

Stewards of Children (SOC), developed by Darkness to Light, is an evidence-informed program for adults in the community at-large and is designed to improve knowledge of CSA, decrease myths surrounding CSA, and increase preventive behaviors such as calling in possible allegation of CSA. The goal of SHCI is to reach 5% of the adult population in each of the awarded counties through a combination of in-person and online trainings. Check out our progress here.

Live in a SHCI county? Find a sponsored workshop or take Stewards online! More information can be found by clicking here.


School-based Component: Safe Touches

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State

Safe Touches, developed by the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, teaches elementary-aged children to trust their feelings about inappropriate touches, say no to someone trying to give them a not-safe touch, walk away or remove themselves from the situation, and report inappropriate or potentially inappropriate touching to a trusted adult. Children are taught these CSA prevention concepts via an interactive puppet show featuring racially ambiguous puppets.

The goal of SHCI was to deliver Safe Touches to all 2nd grade public school students in the awarded counties. Over the course of the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 academic years, the Safe Touches workshop was delivered to more than 14,000 second graders! Find out more about our research here.


Parent-focused Component: Smart Parents – Safe and Healthy Kids (SPSHK)

Parents have a responsibility and are in unique to position to create a safe environment for their children. Though many parent-education programs give parents the skills to do this generally, no parent-education program was designed around the prevention of CSA, and, to this end, none has demonstrated an effect on CSA specifically. SPSHK, developed by the PSU Research team and led by Dr. Kate Guastaferro, was designed to be delivered in a single additional session of an existing evidence-based parent education program. Read more about the development of SPSHK , the demonstrated effect of the program on parental awareness and use of protective behaviors, and more of our research on this model here.

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