Create a Strategy for Adults and Students

Working together as a community, we can protect children and keep them safe from abuse. The Second Step Child Protection Unit for Early Learning through Grade 5 provides a multi-layered approach to child safety.

By creating a child protection strategy and educating adults throughout the school, you can be prepared to recognize, respond to, and report abuse. And the lessons in the Child Protection Unit help students recognize, report, and refuse unsafe situations.

Who Is the Child Protection Unit For?

We developed the Child Protection Unit to help protect children from all walks of life, all over the world. It includes training, guidance, and resources for administrators, teachers, counselors, and families. Student lessons are age-appropriate and designed for Early Learning through Grade 5 classrooms.

Why Choose the Second Step Child Protection Unit?

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Research Based

Training, lessons, and family resources developed to put research-based strategies in the hands of educators to create spaces safe for learning.
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Includes Family Materials

Lessons extend beyond the classroom with materials and videos that help parents discuss personal safety with their children.
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Provides Staff Training

The Child Protection Unit takes an integrated approach to child safety by providing training for every staff member and adult in your building.
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Easy to Use

Clear, rules-based scripted lessons make it easy to teach children personal safety skills.
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“I think it’s important for children to learn personal safety skills at school. Unfortunately, a lot of us do not teach that to our children at home. So it’s very important as they grow up to know who to touch, who not to touch, who to talk to, who not to talk to. Schools and families can work together.”
Marie J. Johnson, grandparent of kindergarten student, Marcus Garvey Elementary School, Chicago, IL


Lesson Samples

You’ll get a complete child safety program with the Second Step Child Protection Unit. Staff training, student lessons, and family materials help you build an informed community working to prevent abuse.

Sample Materials from Grade 5, Lesson 3: Unsafe and Unwanted Touches
Sample Materials from Grade 2, Lesson 3: Safe and Unsafe Touches
Sample Materials from Early Learning, Weekly Theme 3: Safe and Unsafe Touches
CPU Scope and Sequence

Scope & Sequence

A complete list of lessons and learning objectives for the Child Protection Unit, Early Learning–Grade 5.

See the PDF

Staff Training

The Child Protection Unit truly starts with training for all staff and includes the following online training modules.

Module 1

Policies and Procedures (75–90 minutes)
Administrators create or revise their child protection strategy, then create customized policies and procedures to help reduce risk of staff misconduct.

Module 2

All-Staff Training (75–90 minutes)
Through realistic scenarios, all staff learn to recognize indicators of abuse and neglect, respond supportively to children who experience abuse, and report abuse.

Module 3

Teach the Lessons (45–60 minutes)
Teachers and counselors learn to teach the lessons, engage families using the materials provided, and overcome discomfort with talking to students about touching safety.

View a sample from Module 2

The Child Protection Unit features training modules to help staff develop ways to effectively identify and deal with potential child abuse and neglect throughout the school. Staff education is easy to implement and will help make a difference in students’ lives.

Watch the Sample

Getting Started

Are you ready to take the next step in keeping kids safe? Make the most of our curriculum with the how-tos and tips in our guide, Getting Started with the Child Protection Unit.

Additional Resources

Curriculum Components

parent and child talking on porch

As you begin the Child Protection Unit, it’s important to keep families informed and educated. With Family Letters, parents and caregivers are notified about the sensitive subject matter being taught and advised about adults’ role in child protection. Take-Home Activities further reinforce skills and encourage family discussions. The videos available at EarlyOpenOften.org build parents’ skills and motivate families to talk about personal safety.

For teachers and families, we also offer a list of books
for children recovering from trauma (PDF).

Public Awareness and Education

father talking to daughter

In addition to the materials we provide for schools where the Child Protection Unit is implemented, we’ve created a free and publicly available website where parents and caregivers can get the facts about child sexual abuse, learn tips for talking with kids, find resources for responding to and reporting abuse, and explore our prevention toolkit. The site features a video series that’s been shown to increase parents’ motivation to discuss the topic with their children.

English: Early, Open, Often
Español: Abierto y a menudo

A Foundation of Research, a History of Impact

For nearly 40 years, Committee for Children has developed research-based curricula, training, and other resources for educators to create safe learning environments. Our tradition of creating these high-quality programs that work well across a wide variety of educational settings began—and continues with—Committee for Children’s focus on protecting children from abuse. From our team of field-leading consultants and advisors to our extensive review of research into the science behind child sexual abuse prevention and intervention, we’ve designed all aspects of the Child Protection Unit to put practical, effective resources right into the hands of parents and educators, who are often on the front lines in terms of recognizing and responding to abuse.

kids on playground

To ensure that the research-based programs we create show evidence of effectiveness, we are committed to constantly evaluating our programs through randomized control trials (RCTs). The following are two independent studies we’ve commissioned for the Child Protection Unit.

A recent RCT showed a positive impact of the Second Step Child Protection Unit’s family videos on parents’ knowledge, motivation, and self-reported communication with their children about personal safety and childhood sexual abuse (CSA) prevention.
Read About Study (PDF)

Currently, an RCT is being led by Dr. Amanda Nickerson (University of Buffalo) to study the impact of the Second Step Child Protection Unit (CPU) for Early Learning through Grade 5.
View All Research in Progress

Consultants and Advisors

David Finkelhor, PhD | Director, Crimes Against Children Research Center

Keith Kaufman, PhD | Professor, Department of Psychology, Portland State University

Anthony Rizzuto, PhD | Child Abuse Prevention Consultant

Charol Shakeshaft, PhD | Professor, School of Education, Virginia Commonwealth University

DeAnn Yamamoto | Deputy Executive Director, King County Sexual Assault Resource Center

Related Blog Posts

Recommended Reading

Book List for Children
blog posts

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