Memphis Child Advocacy Center pushing to train 35,000 people by 2019

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Child Advocacy Center has reached the halfway point in its push to train 35,000 people in its Stewards of Children course by 2019.

“The Memphis Child Advocacy Center is working toward a tipping point goal in protecting children in our community,” executive director Virginia Stallworth said.

According to Stallworth, 20 percent of Shelby County adults report being child sexual abuse victims. That’s double the national average.

“We are wanting to train all adults in Shelby County but specifically parents and adults who volunteer or work in health care settings, school settings, faith-based organizations and traditional youth-serving organizations,” Stallworth said.

Lindsay Krosnes, the Orpheum's education director, is one of 30 Orpheum staff members who's taken the course.

“It certainly made us more aware of different situations that could occur you might not think about. Something as simple as someone coming in to ask to use the restroom in the lobby,” she said.

The course also discourages organizations from putting children in one-on-one settings with adults.

And it provides a defense, making organizations less vulnerable, according to Stallworth.

“This is proactive for organizations serving kids, making sure they’re not an agency or organization where perpetrators can gain easy access,” she said.

According to the training video, “sexually abused children are often at risk for psychological, emotional and physical problems often lasting into adulthood.”

Officials said they'd trained large groups like the Memphis Police Department and also smaller groups like Playhouse on the Square.

The Child Advocacy Center offers two open-enrollment classes per month. Groups can also schedule courses at their convenience.

Call 901-888-4363 or visit memphiscac.org to sign up.