Stewards of Children Training

About the Program

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.

Photo courtesy of Darkness to Light

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.

Photo courtesy of Darkness to Light

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.

Photo courtesy of Darkness to Light

Learn More:

This spotlight was pulled from “What Works to Prevent Sexual Violence Against Children,” a systematic review of proven solutions and best practices to prevent and respond to sexual violence against children and youth (SVAC). The review was completed in collaboration with a group of experts and allied organizations and highlights evidence-based solutions from around the world. Read the whole set of #SVSolutions Program Spotlights here.

Program Overview

  • Program: Stewards of Children Training
  • Organization: Darkness to Light
  • Strategy:   Education & Life Skills
  • Intervention Type: Education and awareness-raising for adults who interact with children
  • Ranking: This intervention is categorized as PRUDENT
  • Location: United States
  • Age Group: All
  • Gender: All

Read More Solutions Spotlights

WePROTECT Global Alliance

About the Program A comprehensive assessment by the WePROTECT Global Alliance from 2018 found that online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) is the most insidious form of modern cybercrime and one of the most challenging forms of CSEA to prevent and address. WePROTECT founder Baroness Joanna Shields on Preventing Child Abuse and Exploitation @ [...]

Criminal Justice Response to Sexual Violence in Guatemala

About the Program The International Justice Mission (IJM) recently celebrated a decade of work in Guatemala, fighting to end sexual violence. Data from IJM’s program in Guatemala suggest that a criminal justice response to sexual violence against children can be improved significantly, leading to an increase in sexual violence crimes reported to the authorities.   Along with community-based awareness [...]

Coaching Boys Into Men

About the Program Several studies have provided promising evidence on the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of adapting programs for men and boys across ages and cultures. The Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) program was established in the United States and then adapted for India. Both programs have been evaluated and demonstrated significant impacts on bystander intentions and behaviors, as well [...]