Casey Atwood has been at the Children’s Safety Center since 2006. When Casey was in school, she majored in Social Work, and during her first internship at a Fayetteville public school, her supervisor took her on a tour of the CSC and she immediately fell in love. She got her second internship here and never left! In January of 2006, Casey was hired as an advocate and now runs the Prevention Program at the center where she offers two training programs. The Prevention program was created to provide opportunities for people in the community to get training. Just this year, Casey has trained over 2000 people!
There are two kinds of trainings; Mandated Reporter Trainings for professionals in the community such as counselors, teachers, and youth serving organizations which focuses on all types of abuse and Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training for parents or anyone else in the community looking to get educated. The Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training has two different options, one is an hour long training and the other is a two hour long training course that includes videos of survivors telling their stories and other things like that. These training sessions are available to anyone and it’s FREE! Groups can range from 2-3 people or to hundreds of people and can be conducted through virtual or in-person meetings.
More detailed information on Mandated Reporter Training & Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training:
Casey has also implemented a Body Safety curriculum in all NWA elementary public schools called Empower Me. Empower Me was created by the Gunderson National Child Protection Training Center, which is now referred to as the Zero Abuse Project. This program focuses on topics such as getting away from the term “Stranger Danger” and the behavior of the offender rather than the child’s relationship to that person. Casey accomplished this personally by speaking with all the school counselors in NWA and was able to train, provide the curriculum, and give lessons to them so that the counselors were able to properly execute the program to their students. In the future, Casey hopes to bring the Empower Me program to all private schools in NWA.
When asked about her favorite part of her job, Casey said that it’s “great when people come back and say I learned so much or I’m so glad I learned this now” and hearing how people have applied and shared the information they learned during these training’s. Casey showed pride through her expressions when she said that never once has someone done the training and said it was a waste of time. A time that sticks out to Casey from her years at the CSC is when she was told about a little kid coming up after an Empower Me program and disclosing that he had been abused. This really is a testament to the effectiveness and importance of these programs. The most challenging part of her job, she explained, is that it can be difficult to get people to want to take the training courses because it is a topic people often don’t want to think about or think will never happen to them or their child. It is an uncomfortable subject, but it is an important subject and information that everyone should be knowledgeable about.
Casey wanted to end her interview by encouraging people in the community to reach out a schedule a training! She is flexible with times and wants to work with you to make sure more people continue to gain the knowledge and understanding of child abuse and how to recognize it.
Casey Atwood is a friendly, passionate, and crucial member of the team here at the CSC and it wouldn’t be complete without her. Thank you Casey for all the hard work that you continuously do here at the center and out in the community!