Darkness to Light offers an adult-focused, evidence-informed child sexual abuse prevention education program called Stewards of Children. The two-hour curriculum improves child sexual abuse prevention, recognition, and intervention behaviors in adults.
To date, more than 1,700,000 people, including more than 500,000 educators in the United States, have completed the Stewards of Children program.
In October 2015, Darkness to Light conducted a one-year follow-up survey of 79,544 Texas educators who completed the Stewards of Children training online, either as a solo education training or coupled with the state mandatory reporter training, during the fall of 2014.
The purpose of this survey was to determine if educators increased their reports of previously unrecognized child sexual abuse to authorities.
The survey found that in the year following training, educators increased their reports of child sexual abuse to authorities by 283% as compared with career-averaged reports in the year prior to training. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) data was obtained to corroborate the results.
Additionally, an analysis of 2011-2015 data from DFPS demonstrated the possibility that educators increased reporting of previously unrecognized abuse cases from 2014 to 2015. More children were also substantiated as sexually abused during this time period.
Finally, while not primary prevention, the effectiveness of Stewards of Children can be evaluated by whether more children received intervention services as a result of that program. This is important, as intervention services have been shown to mitigate many of the negative effects of child sexual abuse.
The data allowed for the possibility that more children received intervention services in 2014 and 2015 as a result of the Texas Educator Initiative, implying that the Stewards of Children program, either alone or in tandem with Texas Mandated Reporter training, may be effective in creating positive outcomes for children on the prevention spectrum.