Child Protection Center prevention program turns 30


The coast of the gift

The Child Protection Center (CPC) Personal Safety and Community Outreach (PSCA) Program is celebrating its 30th anniversary of educating the community about reducing child abuse. As the oldest prevention program in the state of Florida and Sarasota County’s only provider of this type of holistic and comprehensive child abuse prevention education, PSCA has served more than 800,000 people over the course of of its 30 years of history. PSCA offers workshops at no cost to youth from preschool through high school and facilitates workshops for their caregivers, teachers, school board staff and community members to help empower children and allow adults to help make our entire community a safer and more stable place. for children and families. The Personal Safety Team, led by Program Director Michelle McSwain, offers lessons on more than 20 different personal safety topics, “all of which aim to empower children about their bodies, decisions and minds,” explains Michelle. The hope is to prevent a child from being sexually abused, but in some cases the program serves as an entry point into the system. Michelle pointed out that it’s not unusual for a child to disclose abuse during a presentation. “In a workshop, a child revealed that her father liked to touch the private parts of her body. In these situations, PSCA staff make the abuse report. This was the first step towards healing for this child, who was able to receive therapy services at the Child Protection Center and is now a survivor of sexual abuse thanks to a PSCA workshop. Since its inception 30 years ago, the growing program has built a strong reputation as prevention professionals, presenting at national conferences such as Krimes Against Kids and receiving inquiries from child advocacy centers across the country wishing to emulate their work. “Preventing children from experiencing the trauma of violence and providing them with a life where they can just be children is the goal we want for all children,” said CPC Executive Director Doug Staley. “Our children are worth the investment! I see the successes of this program every day and want the community to know that your support and actions are saving lives and making a difference every day. Doug then confirmed an initiative for PSCA to expand into DeSoto County in the near future.

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