Safe Child Program

Placement on the Continuum of Evidence Promising Download icon Download PDF
Target Population: 
Children,
Sector: 
School-based
Topic: 
Child Abuse, Social Competency
Target Audience 

This program is for students in preschool through 3rd grade.

Summary 

The Safe Child Program, a school-based intervention curriculum, is designed to teach young children life skills they can use to help prevent physical, emotional, and sexual abuse by people they know; avoid abduction and abuse by strangers; and increase their personal safety in self-care situations.

Evidence 

An internal randomized controlled trial was conducted with students from kindergarten through 2nd grade.  Results showed that, relative to members of a control group, those who participated in the program were more likely to resist a stranger's request to leave the school building with him.  Higher pre-test self-esteem scores and higher post-test awareness of risk scores were predictive of students' decreased risks to comply with the stranger's request.  A 6-month, follow-up study demonstrated the maintenance of this effect among students originally assigned to the program group.  In addition, this study revealed the replication of this effect among control group students who later received the program.  Currently, no peer-reviewed evaluations have examined outcomes related to abuse by known individuals or personal safety in self-care situations.

Components 

The Safe Child Program is delivered to young children by their teachers within a classroom setting.  Rather than focusing on definitions and negative outcomes associated with abuse, the curriculum centers on helping students understand and learn how to use several basic life skills:

  • Speak up on their own behalf;
  • Assess and handle high-risk situations;
  • Access help; and
  • Understand they will be believed when they access help.

Each lesson includes video-based instruction and extensive opportunities for skill practice through role-play exercises.  In addition, a parent seminar, video, and materials sent home after every lesson are used to educate parents and encourage them to reinforce program goals at home.

Previous Use 

Originally developed in 1981 as the Children Need to Know Personal Safety Training, the Safe Child Program was updated and renamed in 1994.  It has been implemented in the United States, Australia, Canada, and portions of western Europe.

Training 

Teachers receive training via a DVD and manual, which are included in the program materials described in the Cost section.  In addition, training can be requested from the program developer using the information listed in the Contact section.

Considerations 

Some considerations for implementing the Safe Child Program include acquiring buy-in from administrators, teachers, and parents; understanding that this program contains sensitive information; recruiting and retaining students; and finding time to implement the program within the established school day curriculum.

The Clearinghouse can help address these considerations. Please call 1-877-382-9185 or email Clearinghouse@psu.edu

Implementation 

If you are interested in implementing the Safe Child Program, the Clearinghouse is interested in helping you!
Please call 1-877-382-9185 or email Clearinghouse@psu.edu

Time 

In the evaluations, eight, 20-minute sessions were implemented.  However, the developer recommends that 10, 20-minute sessions be used with preschool and kindergarten students, and five, 20-minute sessions be used with 1st through 3rd grade students.

Cost 

The cost of the preschool-only program is $95, and the cost for the preschool through 3rd grade version is $395.  Packages include CDs, DVDs, training and implementation manuals, lesson plans, and parent materials.

Evaluation Plan 

To move the Safe Child Program to the Effective category on the Clearinghouse Continuum of Evidence, at least one external evaluation must be conducted that demonstrates sustained, positive outcomes. This study must be conducted independently of the program developer.

The Clearinghouse can help you develop an evaluation plan to ensure the program components are meeting your goals. Please call 1-877-382-9185 or email Clearinghouse@psu.edu

Contact 

Contact the Clearinghouse with any questions regarding this program.
Phone: 1-877-382-9185 Email: Clearinghouse@psu.edu

You may also contact Sherryll Kraizer by phone 1-303-809-9001, email Kraizer@safechild.org, or visit www.safechild.org

*Resources and associated costs reflect those identified at the time of fact sheet publication.