Stewards Of Children

Jeremy Park

Last week, we explored the Power of Positive News and how we can be intentional about promoting more good stories in Memphis. This week, let us discuss a program that takes a direct and comprehensive approach to educating adults and youth-serving organizations to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse: Stewards of Children.

Child sexual abuse is a very real and complex problem, not only in our community, but across America. As a father of two boys, anything that affects their safety and well-being is of high importance to me, especially when you consider these startling statistics: 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by the age of 18. Ninety percent are abused by someone known to the child, including trusted adults such as parents, coaches, clergy, counselors and teachers. The median age for reported sexual abuse is 9 years old, and most child victims never report it.

We could go on with statistics, but the bottom line is that we need to be proactive in educating adults to be a part of the solution. Ultimately, a child’s safety is an adult’s job. We teach our children to wear seatbelts and not talk to strangers, but we need to do our part in taking responsibility, as well.

Stewards of Children is the only nationally distributed, evidence-based program proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child-protective behaviors. Through a three-hour interactive training session with an authorized facilitator, adults learn seven steps needed to protect children. Steps cover topics like learning the facts and understanding the risks, asking the right questions, properly minimizing one-adult/one-child situations, and communication tips that break down barriers. Overall, the program addresses the tough issues and support necessary to create change in our community.

The Memphis Child Advocacy Center is the only agency in Shelby County offering the Stewards of Children program. Four staff members are authorized facilitators who can teach the program and work with organizations on policy and procedure review. Anyone who wants to make a difference in our community and become more educated should consider taking this training.

So, consider hosting a training session for your organization, nonprofit or company, especially if you work with youth, like through a school, faith center or sports organization. If you have employees with young children, it would be a tremendous enrichment opportunity for parents. We will offer training through the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club on Thursday, July 28, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. There is a nominal cost for the guidebook, but the small investment is well worth it when you consider we might help save a child, like our own.

If you would like more information about the Stewards of Children training, need consultation on policy or advice on responding to a situation, please contact Carol Drake at 888-4363 or

Jeremy Park, director of communications at Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance and director of the Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club, can be reached at