Child Advocacy Studies Program Receives $122,000 grant from The Duke Endowment

January 15, 2015 at 12:01 pm

The University of South Carolina Upstate will be able to provide national hands-on training at the state level for child protection professionals through a $122,000 grant from The Duke Endowment.

Child maltreatment is an epidemic problem that is preventable through education and prevention practices. Spartanburg County and the Upstate of South Carolina have high rates of maltreatment resulting in lifelong negative outcomes for the child and community. Many child protection professionals lack adequate training in recognizing maltreatment and appropriate responses. The need for education and training is critical.

Child abuse education and training is an integral part of the Metropolitan Mission of USC Upstate. A strong initiative that began in 2009 has steadily increased in programs, individuals served and reputation as a leader in the field. The Child Advocacy Program will use this grant to develop training protocols for the USC Upstate Child Protection Training Center, consisting of a mock house and a mock courtroom, scheduled to be built this spring at The George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics. According to Dr. Jennifer Parker, founding director of the Child Advocacy Program, “no comparable training is available in South Carolina or surrounding states. We are very excited about the opportunity to bring this level of training to the Upstate.”

The USC Upstate Child Protection Training Center is a collaborative and multidisciplinary initiative with USC Upstate and the various child protection agencies in the Upstate of South Carolina. The goal is to prevent child maltreatment while effectively responding to abuse to minimize the catastrophic consequences. Children who experience traumatic childhoods are at greater risk for lifelong behavioral, emotional and physical problems. A staggering correlation exists between traumatic childhood experiences and poor physical health, behavioral health, obesity, substance abuse, juvenile delinquency and teen pregnancy. These experiences not only harm the individual, but also the economy with greater health care expenses and loss of human potential. In Spartanburg County alone, the immediate and long-term costs of child sexual abuse top $26 million annually with the majority of the costs borne by taxpayers. The total lifetime estimated costs that are associated with just one year of child maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse and neglect) is approximately $124 billion, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevention is a fraction of the cost. In partnership with child protection agencies in the Upstate, The Child Protection Training Center will provide the training and education our professionals, parents and community need to stop abuse before it starts and minimize the negative consequences if it does.

The mock house, which will be used for simulated training in investigations and child safety, was made possible through a $26,750 grant from Women Giving for Spartanburg. The experiential training center will provide hands on training for child protection professionals in a controlled setting.  Professionals will be exposed to “real world” scenarios and will practice their skills with other professional members

With the grant from The Duke Endowment, the Child Protection Training Center has entered into a partnership with Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center (NCPTC) to replicate national evidence supported trainings at the state level.

Some of the trainings would include the investigation and prosecution of child abuse, first responder training, from crime scene to trial and forensic interview at trial.

The grant would allow a consultant to travel from the National Child Protection Training Center to assist in the development and the replication of training programs; provide up to three years of expenses associated with conducting the training, as well as the trainers and materials needed for the training sessions; and provide three years of partial salary support for the program.

Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $3 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.

For more information, please contact Dr. Jennifer Parker, director of Child Advocacy Studies, at jparker@uscupstate.edu or by calling (864) 503-5761.