Community Outreach Program
For many years, the Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center has worked diligently to become a proactive, not solely reactive, agency. To truly reach the agency’s vision of ending child abuse, abandonment, and neglect, as well as eliminating acts of sexual violence in our community, outreach programs must be implemented. Unfortunately, most state and/or federal grants do not support funding of outreach programs. The cost of not doing so is dramatic. Years of suffering unthinkable trauma can be avoided for 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys with education.
The Outreach Program’s goal is to provide education about child maltreatment to students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators, after school care providers, daycares, medical providers, foster parents, law enforcement officers, first responders, and any other agency/organization who works with children, because we believe that protecting our children is everyone’s job.
Traumatized students may suffer from behavioral and emotional consequences, cognitive delays, impaired development, and consequently poor academic achievement. Abuse is preventable. Both reporting and education stop abuse. Reporting abuse is eliminating abuse; it stops abuse in two ways. It stops the child victim from being victimized again, and it deters other children from being victimized by the same perpetrator in the future. Educating and empowering children and adults also stops abuse.
The program began providing services in October 2016 free of charge to schools in all six Bay school districts. From October 2016 to the present, over 30,000 children have received education through this program; over 500 identifying as a victim of child abuse after hearing the presentation and receiving help. Additionally, over 5000 adults have also been positively impacted by the objectives of the Community Outreach Program.