While CALICO typically aids children who have already suffered abuse, we are pleased to launch a new program to educate the community about ways to stop violence against children before it starts. Kaiser Permanente awarded CALICO $9,000 to pilot a parent education program adapted from an innovative curriculum created by Cory Jewell Jensen, co-director of the Center for Behavioral Intervention in Oregon.
Photo of Kristy Brodeur Dermody (left) and Cory Jewell Jensen.
At CALICO’s 15th Annual Collaborative Training, held this past October, Ms. Jensen shared “What Sex Offenders Can Teach Us about Protecting Children” and showed video clips where offenders openly discussed how they gained access to children in different settings, by dating their parents, or other everyday means. Those chilling admissions of effortless manipulation were disturbing to even the most seasoned professionals.
Ms. Jensen's interviews with offenders prompted her to develop a prevention curriculum for parents to help them recognize situations that put their children at risk of abuse. Training attendees responded enthusiastically to the idea of implementing a similar child sexual abuse prevention project in Alameda County.
In May, CALICO’s training coordinator, Kristy Brodeur Dermody, will take part in an intensive two-day workshop conducted by Ms. Jensen. Sessions will address the strategies sex offenders use to target child victims as well as ways to launch and ensure success of the prevention initiative locally. After tailoring the curriculum to the needs of Alameda County, CALICO will host its own two-day Train-the-Trainer workshop in August to instruct over fifty law enforcement officers, child welfare workers, and other professionals who have volunteered to serve as local facilitators.
CALICO and the training team will work with parent-teacher organizations to pilot the curriculum to parents of children in grades K-3, as Ms. Jensen’s research has revealed the disturbing fact that eight is the average age of a child groomed by an offender. Through education, parents will be better equipped to recognize the behaviors of adults who sexually abuse children and know what questions to ask to determine if their children are interacting with adults who might hurt them. As a result, these trainings will place parents in a better position to protect their children from abuse.