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Program Profile

Stewards of Children

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Program Description

Program Goals/Target Population
Stewards of Children is an adult-focused prevention training program that centers on improving the awareness of the prevalence, consequences, and circumstances of child sexual abuse (CSA). The training aims to educate adults (primarily child care professionals) to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to CSA. Stewards of Children was developed by Darkness to Light (D2L), a national non-profit organization that seeks to protect children from sexual abuse.

One of the main goals of Stewards of Children is primary prevention by teaching child care professionals specific strategies to prevent CSA from occurring the first time (for example, placing limits on or carefully structuring and monitoring one-on-one adult and child contact). Another goal of the training program is secondary prevention which involves teaching adults to identify when abuse is occurring and to respond to children appropriately, in order to keep them safe from future abuse and prevent potential subsequent abuse-related problems.

Program Components
The program consists of an in-person training format that involves a trained facilitator who presents the curriculum and leads discussions. During the 2-hour training, each participant receives a workbook that contains the full program curriculum. The trained facilitator uses a video, which integrates segments of CSA survivors relating their stories of abuse and recovery, with segments from professionals who have experience and knowledge about the problems related to the occurrence of CSA. The facilitator stops the video at three points and leads discussion about the concepts presented in the different segments.

The program is also available in a web-based format. The web-based version incorporates the workbook and video from the in-person training into an instructional technology system that allows individuals to learn about the concepts from the curriculum in a self-paced format. Content is delivered by text, audio, video, and animation. There are short audio/visual training segments that are supported by the text, as well as video clips of adult survivors describing their CSA experiences. Individuals respond to true-to-life scenarios in order to focus the training on their particular needs or concerns. The responses trigger alterations in the scenario options in order to create a personalized learning experience.

The program builds on “The 5 Steps to Protecting Our Children,” an education tool for CSA prevention also developed by D2L. The program not only trains adults on child protection but also assists organizations in creating individual and organizational policies and procedures in attempts to keep children safe.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
CSA Knowledge
Rheingold and colleagues (2011) found significant differences between the waitlist control group and the Stewards of Children training groups (in-person and web-based training combined) with regards to measures of child sexual abuse (CSA) knowledge. At the 3-month follow-up, participants who received the Stewards of Children training had significantly higher knowledge scores compared with the control group.

CSA Attitudes
There were no significant differences between the Stewards of Children training groups and the waitlist control group on CSA attitudes, measured by the CSA Myth Scale.

CSA Prevention Behaviors
There were significant differences between the waitlist control group and the Stewards of Children training groups with regards to self-reported prevention behaviors. While both the training groups and the waitlist control group reported significant increases in preventative behaviors at the 3-month follow-up, the training groups showed a greater increase in behaviors.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Rheingold and colleagues (2011) used a block randomization design to evaluate the impact of the Stewards of Children training program on child care professionals’ primary and secondary prevention efforts. The study included 352 childcare professionals from different youth-serving organizations in Bend, Ore.; Atlanta, Ga.; and Beaufort, S.C. Of the 353 professionals who initially consented, 267 completed the follow-up assessment. Study participants ranged in age from 18 to 64 years and the majority was women (85 percent). A little over 65 percent of the participants were white, 28.4 percent were African American, 4.8 percent other race, and less than 2 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander or American Indian/Alaskan Native. About 5.5 percent indicated they were Hispanic. There were no significant differences between the study groups on demographic characteristics.

After study participants consented, they were randomly assigned to one of three conditions using a permutated block design with block sizes of 3, 6, and 9. The three conditions were (1) the in-person Stewards of Children training group (n=116); (2) the web-based Stewards of Children training group (n=116); or (3) the no-training waitlist control group (n=117).

Self-report measures were collected by the site coordinators. Study participants were asked to complete the primary dependent measures at post-training and at the 3-month follow-up assessment points. Baseline assessment of the dependent variables (i.e., measures given prior to the training) was not included in this study design in order to decrease the possible attentional bias to the content of the trainings. The primary dependent variables included measures of child sexual abuse (CSA) knowledge, attitudes, and prevention behaviors. CSA knowledge was measured using the CSA Knowledge Questionnaire, which was created for this study and included 12 true/false questions about CSA. CSA attitudes were measured using the CSA Myth Scale (Collings 1997). Finally, CSA prevention behaviors were measured using 21 retrospective questions about CSA prevention behaviors in the past 3 months (such as whether the participant engaged in primary prevention behaviors at work or talked to a child about CSA).

Repeated measures of analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to detect differences in the dependent variables across the study groups as well as across the two time periods (post-training assessment and 3-month follow-up assessment).
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Cost

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The Stewards of Children online training costs $10 per person or less (volume discounts). Information is available on the Darkness to Light Web site: http://www.d2l.org/site/c.4dICIJOkGcISE/b.6143709/k.F02C/Stewards_of_Children_ONLINE_Prevention_Training.htm. The costs of the facilitator-led, in-person Stewards of Children training program is $10 per person or less (volume discounts). Information is available here: http://www.d2l.org/site/c.4dICIJOkGcISE/b.6243831/k.B6F4/Facilitator_Led_Stewards_of_Children_Prevention_Training.htm.
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Implementation Information

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Authorized Facilitators are trained by Darkness to Light to deliver the Stewards of Children training program. To become an Authorized Facilitator, individuals must attend the Facilitator Workshop. The workshop costs $350 and includes: (1) 7.5 hours of instruction, approved for continuing education unit (CEU) credit by the National Association of Social Workers and the National Board of Certified Clinicians; (2) instruction on the philosophy and purpose of the Stewards of Children curriculum; and (3) all training materials including a Facilitator Manual, a Stewards of Children workbook, DVD, and “The 5 Steps to Protecting Our Children” booklet. Additional information is available online.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Rheingold, Alyssa A., Michael de Arellano, Benjamin Saunders, and Dean Kilpatrick. 2011. Child Sexual Abuse Training for Child Care Professionals: A Multi-Site Randomized Controlled Trial of Stewards of Children. Charleston, S.C.: Medical University of South Carolina, National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Collings, Steven G. 1997. “Development, Reliability, and Validity of the Child Sexual Abuse Myth Scale.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 12:665–74.

Derrick, Christina M., Cynthia Flynn, and Michael Rodi. 2007. Stewards of Children Online Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training: Training Evaluation Final Report. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina, College of Social Work, The Center for Child and Family Studies. (This study was reviewed but did not meet CrimeSolutions.gov criteria for inclusion in the overall program rating.)

Rheingold, Alyssa A., Kristyn Zajac, and Meghan Patton. 2012. “Feasibility and Acceptability of a Child Sexual Prevention Program for Childcare Professionals: Comparison of a Web-Based and In-Person Training.” Journal of Child Sexual Abuse 21:422–36.
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Program Snapshot

Age: 18 - 64

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, American Indians/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, White, Other

Geography: Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): Workplace

Program Type: Vocational/Job Training, Victim Programs, Children Exposed to Violence

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Child Exposure to Violence Evidence Based Guide, Model Programs Guide

Program Director:
Catherine Townsend
Darkness to Light
7 Radcliffe Street, Suite 200
Charleston SC 29403
Phone: 843.965.5444
Fax: 843.965.5449
Website
Email

Training and TA Provider:
Cindy McElhinney
Director of Programs
Darkness to Light
7 Radcliffe Street, Suite 200
Charleston SC 29403
Phone: 843.965.5444
Fax: 843.965.5449
Website
Email