Protecting Our Youth

Protecting Our Youth is an interactive role-play simulation that helps to provide positive and supportive school climates by teaching skills in identifying, preventing, and reporting child abuse, neglect and trafficking.

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Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Communication Skills, and Trauma-Informed Teaching

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50 Minutes



Students are more likely to seek help, report abuse, and connect with support if they feel they have a trusted adult to confide in. Protecting Our Youth is an interactive role-play simulation for educators and school staff that embraces compliance training, upstream prevention, and proactive strategies for reporting child abuse, neglect and human trafficking. The conversation strategies conveyed in this practice-based simulation promote trusted connections, help-seeking, reporting and referring to appropriate resources.

Educators and staff have access to customized national, local, and school-specific resources in addition to simulation content.

NEW! Protecting Our Youth is available as a lesson with a practice-based simulation role-play in our Sexual Misconduct Prevention Suite available for colleges and universities.

The goal of Protecting Our Youth is to gain essential information and communication skills to have trauma-informed conversations with a child who reports, or whom the employee suspects may have experienced abuse, neglect, or trafficking.

Learning objectives:

  • Build skills in identifying abuse, neglect, and trafficking
  • Understand the legal responsibilities related to reporting
  • Conduct trauma-informed conversations with a child who discloses abuse and/or neglect or exhibits warning signs where abuse is suspected
  • Understand the scope of human trafficking and apply strategies for identifying warning signs of childhood human trafficking
  • Know when to report concerns and potential referral points

Conversation Techniques Practiced:

  • Identify - Neutral observable statements
  • Approach - Open-ended questions and reflections
  • Refer - Refer a student who discloses neglect or abuse

Protecting Our Youth contains two lessons: Abuse & Neglect and Trafficking.

Abuse & Neglect is approached from an elementary and middle/high school perspective. In this lesson, learners will gain information on the different types of child abuse and child maltreatment including:

  • Physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse
  • Indicators to assist in identifying abuse and neglect
  • Legal responsibilities related to reporting abuse and neglect
  • Suggestions on how to handle student disclosures of abuse and neglect

Learners practice a trauma-informed conversation with a virtual child who discloses abuse, or warning signs where abuse is suspected, and learn how to acknowledge student concern or disclosure, reporting those concerns, and offering referral.

The Trafficking lesson contains an overview of human trafficking, and ways to help identify and potentially prevent occurrences of human trafficking. Learners will gain knowledge and skills in the following:

  • The scope of human trafficking
  • The ways of identifying victims of human trafficking
  • Obtain key stories and case studies
  • Identify the warning signs and the correct ways to respond

Evidence-based models and techniques, game mechanics, and key learning and assessment principles ensure users stay engaged and emerge with a deeper understanding of their ability to use their new skills in real life. Research shows that with experiential practice, increased emotional engagement and reflective thinking leads to stronger self-efficacy and behavior change.

The simulation is available online 24/7. Users are asked to complete pre-, post-, and 3-month follow up surveys to assess changes in skills, attitudes, and behavior. Upon completion, users receive a certificate of completion. Clients have access to usage reports and evaluation data via the Kognito client portal.

More Resources for Protecting Our Youth

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