This program, which is being utilized in all elementary schools and parish religious education programs in the Diocese of Orange, was developed by The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. It provides safety strategies to help reduce the possibility of victimization from abduction and sexual exploitation.
Objectives of the Kids And Company program include:
• Teaching children age-appropriate safety rules and self-protective skills.
• Enhancing children’s sense of self-worth.
• Providing opportunities to practice safety skills and habits.
• Incorporating safety rules and vocabulary into daily practice at school, in the community, and at home.
• Encouraging parents, grandparents or guardians to participate in the program and work to make a safer community.
Kids And Company takes a positive and constructive approach. It does not teach children to be antisocial or afraid. Instead, the program helps children learn to recognize and avoid situations that place them at increased risk and teaches them how to respond to situations and make safe decisions. Through age-appropriate games, songs and other activities, Kids And Company reinforces each child’s awareness, assertiveness and judgment.
Stranger Danger Myth
“Stranger Danger” has been a popular warning to children as a way of preventing abduction and sexual exploitation. However, this approach doesn’t fully protect children. Kids And Company helps children learn when and how to get help from peers and adults.
- It is statistically incorrect. Children are at a greater risk of being abducted or sexually exploited by a family member or by someone they know than by a stranger.
- Kids don’t get it. Children usually describe a “stranger” as a scary looking person, most often a male, and even with almost cartoon-like features. On the other hand, kids often feel that they know someone who is an acquaintance or someone they have only met once.
- We don’t “model” it. Adults often talk to strangers in order to conduct the various aspects of everyday life. It is confusing to children when we tell them not to talk to strangers and yet they see us doing the opposite.
- Who will help them? Stranger danger makes children feel totally powerless if they are lost because they have been told not to talk to strangers. It’s a scary feeling to believe that everyone you do not know is a dangerous stranger. Children can learn to identify “low risk helpers” such as store clerks, police, groups of people or adults accompanied by children. This training is empowering to children.
For additional information about safety for kids, visit www.missingkids.com