Senate Bill 102, supported by Beau Biden Foundation, develops training program for educators, school staff
WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday signed into law Senate Bill 102, legislation supported by the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children that develops a coordinated training program for educators to detect and prevent child abuse. The bill consolidates Delaware law to improve child sexual abuse training and detection, suicide prevention, anti-bullying programs, criminal youth gang detection, and teen dating violence and sexual assault prevention.
Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry sponsored the bill, which passed the General Assembly with unanimous, bipartisan support. It applies to all public schools, including charter schools, and vocational school districts.
“Beau Biden had a deep and unyielding commitment to protecting children from abuse, and I am honored to continue supporting his mission by signing this legislation into law,” said Governor Carney. “I cannot think of any job more important than protecting children. Educators who work every day with Delaware students are in a unique position to help detect warning signs, and act to prevent abuse. This law will help them do that by developing a program to coordinate training, and allowing schools the flexibility to tailor training to the needs of their students. Thank you to Senator Henry, and everyone who made this law a reality, including everyone at the Beau Biden Foundation.”
“Our schools are places of learning, but they also provide vital services to our kids,” said Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East. “It’s on all of us to recognize and intervene in bullying, youth violence, child abuse, and teen depression, but it’s clear that our schools are a critical part of that fight. Senate Bill 102 builds on the great work of groups like the Beau Biden Foundation by ensuring that public and charter school employees across Delaware are capable of recognizing signs of non-academic problems in a student’s life and intervening appropriately. At a minimum, these trainings will help improve our kids’ quality of life—and they could even save a life. I’m proud to have sponsored this legislation and I thank my colleagues and Governor Carney for their support.”
The Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children, which advocated for the legislation, continues Beau’s lifelong commitment to protecting children from the threat of abuse and neglect. In 2011, Beau and his partners at the Delaware Department of Justice, Prevent Child Abuse Delaware and the Delaware YMCA pledged to train 5% of Delaware’s population in the only evidence informed child sexual abuse prevention program in the country – Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children. The Beau Biden Foundation continues to deliver the program, and to date, over 27,000 Delawareans have taken the training.
“We’re thrilled to see Senate Bill 102 signed in to law,” said Patty Dailey Lewis, Executive Director of the Beau Biden Foundation. “Delaware leads the nation in child sexual abuse prevention training. In the next few years, we will reach our goal of educating 5% of our population on ways to recognize the signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse, react responsibly when a child divulges they’ve been abused, and work to minimize opportunities for predators to harm children. Teachers and school staff are on the front lines of child protection – we stand ready to lead the way and assist them in fulfilling their training requirement.”
“By streamlining the non-academic trainings required by school district and charter school staff, Delaware is providing our state educators with additional flexibility and support,” said Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “Schools are now able to reduce the burden of having multiple, different trainings and can also mix and match their training to meet specific professional development needs. This is a win for all educators in the state.”
“As we strive to bring greater awareness to issues such as child abuse and neglect, bullying, teen dating violence, youth gangs and suicide prevention, we recognize that our community partners are on the frontline, helping us protect Delaware’s children every day,” said Josette Manning, Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families. “Delaware has thousands of enthusiastic and dedicated educators, school nurses, and counselors, all of whom have frequent contact with our children and play key roles in keeping them safe. Senate Bill 102 will provide one more tool to help them be the voice for our children. Working together, we can provide a brighter future for Delaware’s children.”