Child Protection

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Creating ‘Circles of Safety’ to protect and empower our kids – and ourselves!

As the news floods us with reports of tragic, frightening events, it can be hard not to become anxious.

Unfortunately, worrying does not make us safer – it just makes us feel helpless.

We cannot give young people a perfect world. We CAN work as child protection advocates and safety leaders to create ‘Circles of Safety‘ in our families, schools, and communities.

We’re here to help you create Circles of Safety to protect children and others in your life from harm – and to empower them with knowledge and skills for taking charge of their own well-being.

If you have any questions or are interested in creating a workshop for your group, contact us!

“What can I do?”

Make the Kidpower Protection Promise

Too often, kids and adults struggle with their problems alone because they believe that their adults are too busy or will be upset if they ask for help.

The Kidpower Protection Promise grew out of our years of coaching adults to be very specific in making sure kids know they care, no matter what. Take one minute to watch this inspiring and moving Kidpower Protection Promise video. Then, print, post, share, and discuss our FREE posters.

Teach skills – starting with these lessons

Woman in hijab sitting and teaching two young girlsYES, you can teach children of any age skills to help them be safe from harm including abuse, abduction, and assault – without scaring them or giving them upsetting information about possible danger.

Start with these 3 Child Protection Lessons from our best-selling book Doing Right by Our Kids, which uses a “safety at all levels” approach showing how to apply Kidpower skills, strategies, and values as well as other best practices to protect young people at home, with friends and family, at school, in sports and recreational activities, at college, and from harmful social issues such as prejudice.

The topics addressed in the 3 Child Protection Lessons are:

  • “How can I keep my baby safe?” – including 5 behaviors that should instantly raise red flags for you
  • “My child is being steamrolled by the system!”
  • Let Us Listen: A powerful message from a spiritual leader about child safety

For more skills to use yourself and practice with kids, see our 10 Emotional Safety Skills for All Ages

Download the Kidpower 30-Skill Challenge

Use this step-by-step teaching tool to teach vital “People Safety” skills to prepare children and teens to take charge of their emotional and physical safety, increase their confidence, and develop healthy relationships.

Our 30-Skill Challenge books are FREE during the COVID-19 crisis to help you keep your commitment to keeping kids safe!

Available in English, Spanish, and Arabic editions — Coming soon: French edition

Accept uncertainty, project confidence

Message from Kidpower Founder/ED Irene van der Zande:

Creating Circles of Safety by staying connected with the ones you love!

Many years ago, I was teaching a child protection workshop for about 100 parents after there had been a case of abuse in their community. One mother raised her hand and said plaintively, “I am so TIRED of being afraid! WHEN I can I stop being worried about the safety of my daughter?”

I smiled sympathetically and asked, ‘How old is your child?”

The mother sighed and said, “Three!”

“Oh, dear!” I replied, “Guess what? My kids are adults, and I still worry about them. And my mother is in her eighties, and she STILL worries about me!”

Everyone in the room nodded their heads with great empathy as the mother asked, “How do you BEAR it?”

It was my turn to sigh as I admitted, “Sometimes it is hard. But constantly worrying just makes us miserable and steals our joy in life without making anyone safer.”

And then I continued, “What has worked for me is to be at peace with accepting uncertainty because some things are out of our control. Doing this frees me to find joy in what is good in my life and in our world – and allows me to focus on what I CAN do to make a positive difference. The skills that we teach in Kidpower truly can protect our kids and ourselves most of the time.” The mother thanked me and then we went on with our class.

A key child protection skill is knowing what to do if a child comes to you for help. Our article What to Do If A Child Reports Possible Abuse, Bullying, Harassment, or Anything Else That Bothers Them provides 7 practical steps that adults can take to support them.

Remember, kids need our hope, not our despair

Kid's flower painting with smiley faces. Quote in top left corner.Over and over, parents and teachers, and other caring adults tell us, “Every new tragedy in the news breaks my heart. How can I take care of my own feelings while protecting my kids?”

It is normal to have overwhelming feelings or grief in the face of news about tragedies caused by violence, natural disasters, or accidents – and we deserve support for these feelings. At the same time, we need to avoid getting immersed in despair so that we can focus on what we need to do to protect the well being of our kids and our loved ones.

When young people see their adults feeling hopeless and helpless, this can cause them tremendous panic, stress, and anxiety. How we model being powerful and resilient in the face of trouble can have a huge and positive impact on their long-term well-being.

Here are 3 ways you can get support for your feelings in the aftermath of a tragedy:

  1. Stay aware of what you say within earshot of kids
  2. Get help if you are feeling anxious or depressed
  3. Live your life to the fullest while taking charge of what IS under your control

. . . >>  Read more in When Disaster Strikes: Finding Emotional Balance in Traumatic Times

Helps kids regain emotional balance in scary times

No matter where we live, sometimes our sense of security can become overwhelmed by news of frightening threats of violence – and by tragic acts of violence. When this happens, it’s time to take extra steps to protect the emotional and physical safety of our children — and of ourselves.

Kidpower’s Founding Principle is that the safety and well-being of each person are more important than anyone’s embarrassment, inconvenience, or offense, including our own.

Instead of letting our actions be based on fear of upset, discomfort, or disappointment, we can choose to ‘Put Safety FIRST’ for ourselves and, especially, for our children.

To protect our children and ourselves from harm, we can:

  1. Create emotional safety.
  2. Stay away from trouble.
  3. Focus on what we CAN do.

>> Read the full article to learn more about how to follow these recommendations.

Please also read and share these articles with your friends, colleagues, and community:

Model, use, and teach consent, boundary-setting, & advocacy

Learn more about how to teach boundary and advocacy skills at our self-paced Child Protection Institute.

Advocacy and boundary-setting skills are powerful safety skills at any age. They help people be safer from bullying, abuse, intimate partner violence, and other harm – and they also strengthen relationships of all kinds.

One of the best ways to teach kids advocacy and boundary-setting skills – including how to express and withdraw consent – is to use them yourself. When you model how to use these skills every day, in all types of communication, young people in your life will see firsthand how they work.

Use these resources to get started – and see our Relationship Skills page for more!

 

Use strategies from our bestseller Doing Right by Our Kids

“Doing Right by Our Kids is a field guide for practicing courage. It will arm you with the knowledge and skills you need to know when, why, and how to act to protect your kids.”
— Dan Heath, New York Times Bestselling Author

Take action to ensure safety in your home, neighborhood, school, place of business, place of worship, social groups, and community with our bestseller, Doing Right by Our Kids.

The safety of kids is everybody’s business! In this book, you will discover how to:

  • Use the powerful ‘Safety at All Levels’ model, beginning at home and then extending to neighbors, schools, sports, and beyond.
  • Become a positive, powerful advocate for child safety, confidence, and respect.
  • Recognize potential trouble and take charge of problems that put kids at risk.
  • Persuade organizations at all levels to take action to protect the young people in their care

 

Make the Kidpower Protection Promise

Too often, kids and adults struggle with their problems alone because they believe that their adults are too busy or will be upset if they ask for help.

The Kidpower Protection Promise grew out of our years of coaching adults to be very specific in making sure kids know they care, no matter what.

Take one minute to watch this inspiring and moving Kidpower Protection Promise video. Then, print, post, share, and discuss our FREE posters.

Teach these child protection lessons

 

Woman in hijab sitting and teaching two young girls

YES, you can teach children of any age skills to help them be safe from harm including abuse, abduction, and assault – without scaring them or giving them upsetting information about possible danger.

Start with these 3 Child Protection Lessons from our best-selling book Doing Right by Our Kids, which uses a “safety at all levels” approach showing how to apply Kidpower skills, strategies, and values as well as other best practices to protect young people at home, with friends and family, at school, in sports and recreational activities, at college, and from harmful social issues such as prejudice.

The topics addressed in the 3 Child Protection Lessons are:

  • “How can I keep my baby safe?” – including 5 behaviors that should instantly raise red flags for you
  • “My child is being steamrolled by the system!”
  • Let Us Listen: A powerful message from a spiritual leader about child safety

For more skills to use yourself and practice with kids, see our 10 Emotional Safety Skills for All Ages

Download the Kidpower 30-Skill Challenge

Use this step-by-step teaching tool to teach vital “People Safety” skills to prepare children and teens to take charge of their emotional and physical safety, increase their confidence, and develop healthy relationships.

Our 30-Skill Challenge books are FREE during the COVID-19 crisis to help you keep your commitment to keeping kids safe!

Available in English, Spanish, and Arabic editions — Coming soon: French edition

Accept uncertainty, project confidence

Creating Circles of Safety by staying connected with the ones you love!

Message from Kidpower Founder/ED Irene van der Zande:

Many years ago, I was teaching a child protection workshop for about 100 parents after there had been a case of abuse in their community. One mother raised her hand and said plaintively, “I am so TIRED of being afraid! WHEN I can I stop being worried about the safety of my daughter?”

I smiled sympathetically and asked, ‘How old is your child?”

The mother sighed and said, “Three!”

“Oh, dear!” I replied, “Guess what? My kids are adults, and I still worry about them. And my mother is in her eighties, and she STILL worries about me!”

Everyone in the room nodded their heads with great empathy as the mother asked, “How do you BEAR it?”

It was my turn to sigh as I admitted, “Sometimes it is hard. But constantly worrying just makes us miserable and steals our joy in life without making anyone safer.”

And then I continued, “What has worked for me is to be at peace with accepting uncertainty because some things are out of our control. Doing this frees me to find joy in what is good in my life and in our world – and allows me to focus on what I CAN do to make a positive difference. The skills that we teach in Kidpower truly can protect our kids and ourselves most of the time.” The mother thanked me and then we went on with our class.

A key child protection skill is knowing what to do if a child comes to you for help. Our article What to Do If A Child Reports Possible Abuse, Bullying, Harassment, or Anything Else That Bothers Them provides 7 practical steps that adults can take to support them.

Remember, kids need our hope, not our despair

Over and over, parents and teachers, and other caring adults tell us, “Every new tragedy in the news breaks my heart. How can I take care of my own feelings while protecting my kids?”

It is normal to have overwhelming feelings or grief in the face of news about tragedies caused by violence, natural disasters, or accidents – and we deserve support for these feelings. At the same time, we need to avoid getting immersed in despair so that we can focus on what we need to do to protect the well being of our kids and our loved ones.

When young people see their adults feeling hopeless and helpless, this can cause them tremendous panic, stress, and anxiety. How we model being powerful and resilient in the face of trouble can have a huge and positive impact on their long-term well-being.

Here are 3 ways you can get support for your feelings in the aftermath of a tragedy:

  1. Stay aware of what you say within earshot of kids
  2. Get help if you are feeling anxious or depressed
  3. Live your life to the fullest while taking charge of what IS under your control

. . .
>>  Read more in When Disaster Strikes: Finding Emotional Balance in Traumatic Times

Kid's flower painting with smiley faces. Quote in top left corner.

Help kids regain emotional balance in scary times

No matter where we live, sometimes our sense of security can become overwhelmed by news of frightening threats of violence – and by tragic acts of violence. When this happens, it’s time to take extra steps to protect the emotional and physical safety of our children — and of ourselves.

Kidpower’s Founding Principle is that the safety and well-being of each person are more important than anyone’s embarrassment, inconvenience, or offense, including our own.

Instead of letting our actions be based on fear of upset, discomfort, or disappointment, we can choose to ‘Put Safety FIRST’ for ourselves and, especially, for our children.

To protect our children and ourselves from harm, we can:

  1. Create emotional safety.
  2. Stay away from trouble.
  3. Focus on what we CAN do.

>> Read the full article to learn more about how to follow these recommendations.

Please also read and share these articles with your friends, colleagues, and community:

Model, use, and teach consent, boundary-setting, & advocacy

Advocacy and boundary-setting skills are powerful safety skills at any age. They help people be safer from bullying, abuse, intimate partner violence, and other harm – and they also strengthen relationships of all kinds.

One of the best ways to teach kids advocacy and boundary-setting skills – including how to express and withdraw consent – is to use them yourself. When you model how to use these skills every day, in all types of communication, young people in your life will see firsthand how they work.

Use these resources to get started – and see our Relationship Skills page for more!

Learn more about how to teach boundary and advocacy skills at our self-paced Child Protection Institute.

Use strategies from our bestseller "Doing Right by Our Kids"

Take action to ensure safety in your home, neighborhood, school, place of business, place of worship, social groups, and community with our bestseller, Doing Right by Our Kids

The safety of kids is everybody’s business! In this book, you will discover how to:

  • Use the powerful ‘Safety at All Levels’ model, beginning at home and then extending to neighbors, schools, sports, and beyond.
  • Become a positive, powerful advocate for child safety, confidence, and respect.
  • Recognize potential trouble and take charge of problems that put kids at risk.
  • Persuade organizations at all levels to take action to protect the young people in their care

 

“Doing Right by Our Kids is a field guide for practicing courage. It will arm you with the knowledge and skills you need to know when, why, and how to act to protect your kids.”
— Dan Heath, New York Times Bestselling Author

Child Protection Steps to Protect and Empower Kids and Youth

In today’s troubled times, more than ever, all children need to know that they can turn to and trust an adult for help. Will you take a few minutes to learn about and share these 4 important steps that can make a lasting difference in a child’s life? You can join us in our goal to encourage every adult – parent, teacher, mentor, safety officer, neighbor, everyone – to make SURE that the children and teens in your life can count on you for help. We invite you to help transform the fear of bullying, violence, and abuse into a future of lifelong safety and success for today’s youth.

Be a strong safety leader

Kidpower’s founding principle is that safety and well-being are more important than anyone’s embarrassment, inconvenience, or offense.

This can be easy to say – and hard to do. It means doing more than just saying that safety is important. It means showing that we put safety first with our words and actions – all the time. This is ‘safety leadership’.

The safety leadership of adults is necessary to protect children and teens, in person and online, until they have developed the skills they need to take charge of their own safety.

Use these resources to become an even more effective safety leader:

 

Listen. Notice. Take Action.

Take action when you notice harmful behavior:

    • Say, “That’s not safe.”
      Or, “That seems disrespectful.”
      Or, “This is against our values.”

Teach and practice skills that can help prevent the harmful behavior. These resources can help:

 

Reach out. Step in. Get help.

Do something to make a difference.

  • Reach out by asking and listening.
    • Say, “What’s going on? What will help make things better?”
  • When you can, step in powerfully and respectfully to stop unsafe or disrespectful behavior.
    • Say, “That doesn’t look safe!”
  • Get help when you don’t know what to do.
Prepare kids with knowledge and skills

Empower young people to take charge of their safety and well being.

    • Tell kids often,
      “You have the right to be treated with safety and respect – and the responsibility to act safely and respectfully towards yourself and others.”
    • Teach kids how to prevent and solve problems with people. Practice with them so that they know exactly what to do.
    • Guide kids to uphold these values and use these skills in daily life.
Be a strong safety leader

Kidpower’s founding principle is that safety and well-being are more important than anyone’s embarrassment, inconvenience, or offense.

This can be easy to say – and hard to do. It means doing more than just saying that safety is important. It means showing that we put safety first with our words and actions – all the time. This is ‘safety leadership’.

The safety leadership of adults is necessary to protect children and teens, in person and online, until they have developed the skills they need to take charge of their own safety.

Use these resources to become an even more effective safety leader:

 

Listen. Notice. Take Action.

Take action when you notice harmful behavior:

    • Say, “That’s not safe.”
      Or, “That seems disrespectful.”
      Or, “This is against our values.”

Teach and practice skills that can help prevent the harmful behavior. These resources can help:

 

Reach out. Step in. Get help.

Do something to make a difference.

  • Reach out by asking and listening.
    Say, “What’s going on? What will help make things better?”
  • When you can, step in powerfully and respectfully to stop unsafe or disrespectful behavior.
    Say, “That doesn’t look safe!”
  • Get help when you don’t know what to do.

Prepare kids with knowledge and skills, not our despair

Empower young people to take charge of their safety and well being.

    • Tell kids often,
      “You have the right to be treated with safety and respect – and the responsibility to act safely and respectfully towards yourself and others.”
    • Teach kids how to prevent and solve problems with people. Practice with them so that they know exactly what to do.
    • Guide kids to uphold these values and use these skills in daily life.

Workshops

Learn Kidpower from the experts! Options include:

  • Online, self-paced courses with captioned videos and more in the Kidpower Online Learning Center
  • Online, live ‘community’ workshops open for public enrollment – see Workshops
  • Online, live ‘organized’ workshops arranged by and for your own group, gathered virtually or physically – presented by a virtual instructor (in-person instruction is paused)

Every workshop is unique! In the planning stage, we listen and ask questions about your needs and priorities. Then, we provide a service tailored just for you. Read more about our most popular workshops for child protection – and contact us to explore options for yours!

For teams of health & human services providers and educators

All kinds of schools and health, recreational, health care, and social service agencies and groups arrange Kidpower Professional Development Programs for:

  • full staff
  • volunteers
  • team members within a staff who do similar work or who work with the same clients, customers, consumers, students, or patients
  • paraprofessionals, aides, and support staff

Each is tailored to the needs of the group. Common priorities include bullying prevention; abuse prevention; safe and inclusive climate; skills for safe, strong relationships; and safety for people with special needs. US$1500-up. Contact us to discuss Kidpower Professional Development options for your agency, school, or facility!

For parents and guardians

Parentpower Programs are tailored based on your group’s priorities. Any adult can take the lead in organizing a program for any type of group such as an informal group of friends; a support and advocacy group; a school or district; a business; or a community based organization.

Your adults-only Parentpower Program can be:

  • taught in English, Spanish, or French by an instructor skilled at working with interpreters
  • open to all adults your online platform will allow – up to 95 if using Kidpower’s Zoom
  • presented in 1 or 2 parts of 1-2 hours each, US$700-up

Contact us to explore Parentpower options for your group!

For families

Familypower Programs give young people side-by-side with their parents, caregivers, or other adult allies an opportunity to have fun learning safety together! Each Familypower Program is tailored to youth participants’ ages and life situations as well as your priorities. Familypower Programs serve 10-50 families/screens (max varies based on youth ages) and can be:

  • taught in English, Spanish, or French by an instructor skilled at working with interpreters
  • tailored for youth in the age range you choose, side-by-side with their parents/guardians/adult allies
  • adapted to meet the needs of learners of diverse abilities
  • presented in 1 or 2 parts of 1-2 hours each, US$700-up

Contact us to explore Familypower options for your group!

For individual adults

Whether you are seeking skills for your own personal safety and well-being or you are seeking skills to protect and empower others – such as your own children, students, clients, or consumers – you can:

  • Learn and teach using the videos, skills guides, and other resources in the Online Learning Center courses. Consider starting with the Kidpower Child Protection Training course, the Adapting to Learning Differences course, or the Safety Powers Course, which is free to adults everywhere thanks to generous funding from Ability Central.
  • Register for one of our upcoming Community Workshops open for public registration. Individual adults can sign up for Fullpower and Parentpower programs, and you are likely to find options addressing topics of interest to you as you parent, teach, or guide others.
  • Organize a Fullpower Adult Safety workshop for yourself and friends, family members, or others in your life who are interested in learning these skills with you. Sessions can be offered in 1 or 2 parts of 1-2 hours each, US$700-up.
  • Organize a Kidpower Professional Development Workshop for yourself and others doing similar work. Your workshop could be for co-workers at a single agency – or for people doing similar work but for different agencies in different locations. Each is tailored to the needs of the group. Sessions can be offered in 1 or 2 parts of 1-2 hours each, US$1500-up.

Contact us with any questions about our workshops, resources, or programs for yourself or for a group!

Costs

Self-paced courses in the Kidpower Online Learning Center are priced by course – and some are free! See current self-paced course offerings and costs.

Depending on your group and your priorities, live workshops online or in-person (if available in your area) can be:

  • 1-6 hours in length, total
  • One-time, single-session
  • Multi-part, 2-12 sessions

Minimum costs for workshops and programs taught live:

  • US$700-up for parent/caregiver and family workshops
  • US$700-up for workshops serving a teacher with their class
  • US$1500-up for professional development programs

Please do not let lack of money stop you from reaching out! Since 1989, we have remained committed to doing all in our power to ensure that money is not the sole factor preventing people from getting access to Kidpower. Costs listed are the costs incurred by Kidpower, and we have an outstanding track record of working with groups to address costs, including by using grant funding secured by Kidpower.

Contact us now to talk about your situation! We will tell you the exact cost of the services you are considering.

For teams of health & human services providers and educators

All kinds of schools and health, recreational, health care, and social service agencies and groups arrange Kidpower Professional Development Programs for:

  • full staff
  • volunteers
  • team members within a staff who do similar work or who work with the same clients, customers, consumers, students, or patients
  • paraprofessionals, aides, and support staff

Each is tailored to the needs of the group. Common priorities include bullying prevention; abuse prevention; safe and inclusive climate; skills for safe, strong relationships; and safety for people with special needs. US$1500-up. Contact us to discuss Kidpower Professional Development options for your agency, school, or facility!

For parents and guardians

Parentpower Programs are tailored based on your group’s priorities. Any adult can take the lead in organizing a program for any type of group such as an informal group of friends; a support and advocacy group; a school or district; a business; or a community based organization.

Your adults-only Parentpower Program can be:

  • taught in English, Spanish, or French by an instructor skilled at working with interpreters
  • open to all adults your online platform will allow – up to 95 if using Kidpower’s Zoom
  • presented in 1 or 2 parts of 1-2 hours each, US$700-up

Contact us to explore Parentpower options for your group!

For families

Familypower Programs give young people side-by-side with their parents, caregivers, or other adult allies an opportunity to have fun learning safety together! Each Familypower Program is tailored to youth participants’ ages and life situations as well as your priorities. Familypower Programs serve 10-50 families/screens (max varies based on youth ages) and can be:

  • taught in English, Spanish, or French by an instructor skilled at working with interpreters
  • tailored for youth in the age range you choose, side-by-side with their parents/guardians/adult allies
  • adapted to meet the needs of learners of diverse abilities
  • presented in 1 or 2 parts of 1-2 hours each, US$700-up

Contact us to explore Familypower options for your group!

For individual adults

Whether you are seeking skills for your own personal safety and well-being or you are seeking skills to protect and empower others – such as your own children, students, clients, or consumers – you can:

  • Learn and teach using the videos, skills guides, and other resources in the Online Learning Center courses. Consider starting with the Kidpower Child Protection Training course, the Adapting to Learning Differences course, or the Safety Powers Course, which is free to adults everywhere thanks to generous funding from Ability Central.
  • Register for one of our upcoming Community Workshops open for public registration. Individual adults can sign up for Fullpower and Parentpower programs, and you are likely to find options addressing topics of interest to you as you parent, teach, or guide others.
  • Organize a Fullpower Adult Safety workshop for yourself and friends, family members, or others in your life who are interested in learning these skills with you. Sessions can be offered in 1 or 2 parts of 1-2 hours each, US$700-up.
  • Organize a Kidpower Professional Development Workshop for yourself and others doing similar work. Your workshop could be for co-workers at a single agency – or for people doing similar work but for different agencies in different locations. Each is tailored to the needs of the group. Sessions can be offered in 1 or 2 parts of 1-2 hours each, US$1500-up.

Contact us with any questions about our workshops, resources, or programs for yourself or for a group!

Costs

Self-paced courses in the Kidpower Online Learning Center are priced by course – and some are free! See current self-paced course offerings and costs.

Depending on your group and your priorities, live workshops online or in-person (if available in your area) can be:

  • 1-6 hours in length, total
  • One-time, single-session
  • Multi-part, 2-12 sessions

Minimum costs for workshops and programs taught live:

  • US$700-up for parent/caregiver and family workshops
  • US$700-up for workshops serving a teacher with their class
  • US$1500-up for professional development programs

Please do not let lack of money stop you from reaching out! Since 1989, we have remained committed to doing all in our power to ensure that money is not the sole factor preventing people from getting access to Kidpower. Costs listed are the costs incurred by Kidpower, and we have an outstanding track record of working with groups to address costs, including by using grant funding secured by Kidpower.

Contact us now to talk about your situation! We will tell you the exact cost of the services you are considering.

How are we doing? What else do you need?

We want to make these lessons work well for people with different communication modalities or challenges. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated so we can make them better.

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