Children’s Trust Fund Awards Grant

Published 2:38 pm Monday, September 21, 2009

The Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention awarded a “Building Healthy Families” grant to the Crenshaw County Extension System.

This is the 16th year of funding from the Children’s Trust Fund.

This is the only school program dealing with child abuse and neglect in the county’s schools.

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The program has changed names through these years. Beginning in 1994 under the name “SCAT CAT and Special Needs Families”, the program went into the schools and worked with families. The acronym “SCAT CAT” stands for “Stop Child Abuse Today ….. Children Are Tops.” This program continued under this name for 9 years. Then in the 10th year it became known only as “SCAT CAT” and went only into the schools.

The school children liked and could remember this name for the program and many of them still call the presenter “the Scat Cat Lady.” A request was made from the Children’s Trust Fund to change the name to better represent what the program does. So the name was changed to “Building Healthy Families” in 2004 and has remained the same for the last 6 years.

Even though the name changed, the program still goes into all four schools in the county: Brantley, Highland Home, Luverne and Crenshaw Christian Academy.

The Extension Agent, Ann Swanner, goes into each school and teaches classes to children in K-5, 2nd, 4th and 6th. Each classroom is taught at least 3 sessions.

The agent teaches the children how to recognize abusive and neglectful situations and how to respond to them.

The four types of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual and neglect), will be addressed in all appropriate classes. The material presented will be suitable for the students in each grade. Other topics to be addressed will be identifying emotions in self and others, making the right choices, and increasing knowledge about bullying, cyberbullying and internet exploitation.

This year’s program will start the latter part of September.