State departments of education, school districts, and school administrators, as well as organizations such as child advocacy centers have longed for an evidence-based program that addresses abuse prevention to satisfy the mandates from their legislature, such as Erin’s Law; however, few evidence-based and developmentally appropriate prevention programs for elementary school students exist. Of those in existence, few have been scientifically evaluated.
Comprehensive programs – programs that teach one set of Safety Rules and universal strategies to help protect students from a multitude of victimization types – are even rarer, and none have been scientifically evaluated, until now.
MBF Child Safety Matters® is the first of its kind: A comprehensive, evidence-based, child-focused prevention curriculum based on polyvictimization research with two evaluations, including a randomized controlled trial, the gold standard in assessing the effectiveness of an intervention.
Two independent research studies have examined the effectiveness of the program with positive results for both student knowledge gains and facilitator implementation fidelity. The most recent, a randomized controlled trial, was conducted by noted researcher, David Finkelhor from the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, along with three researchers from the University of Florida: Melissa A. Bright, PhD; M. David Miller, PhD; and Mona Sayedul Huq, PhD, CHES.
Compared to children who did not receive the MBF Child Safety Matters curriculum, children who received the program demonstrated a significant increase in their knowledge of potentially risky or unsafe situations. A follow-up to measure children’s knowledge retention will be conducted during the 18-19 school year. Visit our Research page to learn more and read the study summary and full report.
The MBF Child Safety Matters program educates and empowers elementary school students in grades K-5 with universal strategies and 5 Safety Rules that apply to bullying, cyberbullying, digital dangers, and all types of abuse. The program includes many features that will benefit schools wanting to help protect their students from bullying, abuse, and victimization.
- It requires a minimal amount of classroom time (two lessons ranging from 35-55 minutes or four shorter lessons) compared to programs that have 6 or 8 lessons or versus implementing multiple single-topic focused programs.
- There is online training for facilitators.
- Facilitators use turnkey scripts along with engaging, interactive PowerPoints with lecture, group discussion, skills-practice activities, videos, and games.
- The program includes reinforcement activities and materials, as well as materials to educate and empower Safe Adults.
- It addresses mandates for abuse, bullying, and internet safety prevention education in schools and is aligned with many education standards.
In their efforts to protect children, schools and partner organizations can be confident using our programs knowing MBF is committed to ongoing research to ensure their efficacy.