Second Step® Child Protection Unit

About This Program

Target Population: Children 4-11 years of age

For children/adolescents ages: 4 – 11

Program Overview

The Second Step Child Protection Unit program for PreK and Elementary school children is a universal, classroom-based program designed to develop students' knowledge and skills for protecting themselves from unsafe and abusive situations, both in and out of the classroom.

The Second Step Child Protection Unit program aims to provide developmentally appropriate explicit skills instruction, offering content and media that is designed to be age-appropriate and engage students in learning how to recognize, refuse, and report unsafe situations and inappropriate touching.

Program Goals

The goals of Second Step Child Protection Unit are:

  • Increase knowledge of personal safety rules.
  • Increase ability to recognize unsafe and sexually abusive situations and touches.
  • Increase ability to report unsafe and sexually abusive situations and touches.
  • Increase ability to refuse unsafe and sexually abusive situations and touches.

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Second Step® Child Protection Unit.

Essential Components

The essential components of Second Step Child Protection Unit include:

  • Online Staff Training for all staff that prepares staff to recognize, respond to, and report child sexual abuse and to orient them to the content of the lessons.
  • Direct instruction led by the teacher or another staff member: The implementer follows the provided script for each of the 6 weekly themes. For each lesson, the teacher notebook includes the orientation for the implementer, lesson objectives, concepts, and vocabulary, and a list of materials the implementer needs to teach the lesson.
    • Each lesson is on a photocard with a photo on one side and the lesson script on the other side. In each grade, the lessons begin with physical safety and the Never Never Rules. Subsequent lessons cover:
      • The Always Ask First Rule
      • Safe and Unsafe Touches
      • The Touching Rule
      • Practicing Staying Safe
      • Reviewing Safety Skills
    • The lessons include a scenario and opportunities for students to respond to safe and unsafe scenarios.
    • The content of each lesson is developmentally appropriate and differentiated by grade.
    • Posters illustrating primary concepts and strategies from the lessons are provided for implementers to hang and have on display both during the lesson and as a reference for skill reinforcement throughout the Unit.
    • Spanish translations of all student-facing content and materials are available at no extra cost.
    • Lesson-related videos are provided on a DVD; songs are provided on a CD.
    • The lessons and media are also available online.
  • Teaching materials notebook that includes:
    • An overview of the Child Protection Unit
    • Scope and Sequence
    • Logic Model
    • Review of Research
    • Lesson Overview
    • Suggestions for academic integration activities
    • Reminder to complete the teacher training before teaching the lessons
    • Suggestions for responding to students in supportive ways, creating safety in the classroom, building relationships with the students, and ways to support students
    • A review of how to recognize, respond to, and report suspected child abuse
    • Preparation for each lesson
  • Daily Reinforcement activities: In addition to the weekly lessons, the curriculum includes practice and reinforcement for the rest of week. An example week would be:
    • Day 1: teach the lesson
    • Day 2: teacher leads the students to read aloud the Never Never Rules poster
    • Day 3: students sing along to the lesson-related song
    • Day 4: Student practice what they would say in different scenarios
    • Day 5: a related writing assignment.
  • Online resources and supports: All implementers of Second Step have access to the program’s online resources, including:
    • Preparation supports (e.g., key words, teaching notes)
    • The weekly lesson
    • Skill practice activities
    • The scope and sequence
    • Songs
    • Home Links
    • Family letters
  • Parent videos: The Child Protection Unit also includes free parent videos that model how to talk their child about personal safety and child sexual abuse and how to respond to their child if they disclose sexual abuse.

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

Second Step® Child Protection Unit directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Being a child 4-11 years of age who needs education on child sexual abuse
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: Second Step Child Protection Unit includes family letters and Home Link activities. The family letters inform families that their child’s class is doing the Second Step Child Protection Unit, explain the Touching Rule and its role in preventing child sexual abuse, an orientation to the Home Links, and an end-of-unit summary of what the children learned.The Home Link activities extend Second Step into the home. Home Links let parents know what their children are learning in Second Step, provides an activity to reinforce the lessons at home, and provide parents with the same vocabulary that their children are learning at school. There is one Home Link for each Child Protection Unit lessons.There are also videos that parents and/or caregivers can watch that model talking about safety and touching with a child and how to respond if their child discloses abuse to them.

Recommended Intensity:

Lessons for the preschool (Early Learning) are 5-7 minutes, taught weekly. Lessons for K-Gr5 (Elementary) increase in length for each grade from 7-10 minutes in Kindergarten to 20 minutes for Gr5, taught weekly.

Recommended Duration:

6 weeks

Delivery Setting

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)

Homework

This program does not include a homework component.

Languages

Second Step® Child Protection Unit has materials available in a language other than English:

Spanish

For information on which materials are available in this language, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

The Second Step Child Protection Unit classroom kits include all necessary printed lessons, the songs CD for which a CD player is needed, and a videos DVD for which a DVD player is needed. A photocopier is needed for the family letters and Home Links. If the classroom is equipped with internet access and a projector, the lessons, songs, and videos are available online.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

No additional qualifications are needed for teachers or other staff to deliver the program. Training and orientation videos are included with the Second Step Child Protection Unit license.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Program Manual(s)

The program rep did not include specific information on a program manual. Please contact them for information regarding it.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

The Second Step Child Protection Unit training modules are included with the purchase of the curriculum. The training materials are available on www.secondstep.org. Teachers complete the online training individually.

The Staff Training included with this program is designed to educate and support teachers and other staff to recognize, respond to, and report suspected child abuse and to prepare them to teach the lessons:

  • The Policies and Procedures module helps administrators to create or revise their child protection strategy, then create customized policies and procedures to help reduce risk of staff misconduct.
  • The All-Staff Training uses realistic scenarios to teach staff to recognize indicators of abuse and neglect, respond supportively to children who experience abuse, and report abuse
  • The Teach the Lessons module teaches teachers and counselors to teach the lessons, engage families using the materials provided, and overcome discomfort with talking to students about touching safety.

The training takes less 2.5 hours for staff complete, and the Policies and Procedures module for administrators is 1.25-1.5 hours. The trainings are available on www.secondstep.org, and is included in the purchase price of each kit.

Number of days/hours:

2.5 hours, plus up to an additional 1.5 hours for administrators

Implementation Information

Pre-Implementation Materials

There are no pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Second Step® Child Protection Unit.

Formal Support for Implementation

There is formal support available for implementation of Second Step® Child Protection Unit as listed below:

Education Partnerships and Client Success and Support teams are available for initial and ongoing support around implementing Second Step. There is no cost for this service. This service includes:

  • A 1-800 phone number on which implementers and site leaders will receive knowledgeable answers and recommendations to questions and requests
  • Webinars on a variety of topics (e.g., introduction to the program, booster session after implementation has begun) are done by members of the highly trained Education Partnership team

There are also on-demand webinars available on the website and the Second Step YouTube channel.

Fidelity Measures

There are fidelity measures for Second Step® Child Protection Unit as listed below:

The fidelity measure is a teacher self-report checklist that requires no training. The teacher indicates which lesson was taught, whether the lessons were taught in order, and the percentage of the lesson that was taught. The teacher then indicates the extent (never, occasionally, often, always) to which they changed or adapted the lessons (3 item), reinforced the lesson and did the daily practice and academic integration activities, and used the Home Links.

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are no implementation guides or manuals for Second Step® Child Protection Unit.

Implementation Cost

There are no studies of the costs of Second Step® Child Protection Unit.

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement Second Step® Child Protection Unit.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Child Welfare Outcome: Safety

Nickerson, A. B., Tulledge, J., Manges, M., Kesselring, S., Parks, T., Livingston, J. A., & Dudley, M. (2019). Randomized controlled trial of the Child Protection Unit: Grade and gender as moderators of CSA prevention concepts in elementary students. Child Abuse & Neglect, 96, Article 104101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2019.104101

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 2,172

Population:

  • Age — Children: Not specified; Adults: Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — Children: Not specified; Adults: Not specified
  • Gender — Children: 1,106 Females and 1,066 Males; Adults: 382 Females and 56 Males
  • Status — Participants were all students in prekindergarten through fourth grade (PK-4).

Location/Institution: A large suburban school district in the northeast United States

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
The purpose of the study was to examine the Second Step Child Protection Unit (CPU) on students’ child sexual abuse (CSA) prevention concept knowledge, ability to recognize, report, and refuse unsafe touches, and perceptions of teacher-student relations and (2) investigate the moderating role of age and gender on program effectiveness. Eight elementary schools in a large suburban school district in the northeast United States were randomly assigned to the intervention (CPU) or control condition. Measures utilized include the Children’s Knowledge of Abuse Questionnaire - Revised (CKAQ), the Personal Safety Questionnaire (PSQ), the “What If” Situation Test-III-R (WIST-R) and the Teacher-Student Relations Subscale of the Delaware School Climate Survey (TSR-DSCS). Results indicate that students in the intervention schools (CPU) had significantly higher scores on all outcomes than students in the control schools at posttest, even after controlling for baseline scores. Children in younger grades made greater gains from the program, and girls scored higher than boys in child sexual abuse (CSA) knowledge and ability to recognize, refuse, and report unsafe touches, but both boys and girls made significant gains. Limitations include results of this study only focused on the impact from pretest to posttest as opposed to longer-term follow-up, all measures were based on student self-report, measures were a bit dated, and the teacher-student relations scale does not directly measure disclosure or disclosure disposition, and the situations test measures knowledge or intention, as opposed to actual behavior.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Manges, M. E., & Nickerson, A. B. (2020). Student knowledge gain following the Second Step Child Protection Unit: The influence of treatment integrity. Prevention Science, 21, 1037–1047. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-020-01146-y

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 1,189 (1,132 students and 57 teachers)

Population:

  • Age — Children: 4–12 years (Mean=7.19 years); Adults: 25–55 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Children: 61% White, 14% Black, 15% Hispanic, 7% Multiracial, and 3% American Indian, Alaskan, Asian, or Pacific Islander; Adults: Not specified
  • Gender — Children: Not specified; Adults: Not specified
  • Status — Participants were children in Pre-Kindergarten through grade 4.

Location/Institution: Suburban area of Western New York

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
The purpose of the study was to examine student- and teacher-level characteristics, including components of treatment integrity, that contributed to greater knowledge gain among students participating in the Second Step Child Protection Unit (CPU). Eight elementary schools randomly selected from the district’s 11 elementary schools and matched based on grade level (PreK-2, K-5, 3–5), school size, racial/ethnic diversity, and percent of students receiving free and reduced lunch were randomly assigned to the intervention (CPU) or wait-list control group. Measures utilized include the Integrity Monitoring Checklist (IMC), the Children’s Knowledge of Abuse Questionnaire-Revised (CKAQ) and the What-If Situations Test-III-R (WIST). Results indicate that students who received the CPU made gains in the knowledge of child sexual abuse (CSA) concepts and skills over a 12-month follow-up period. Girls had significantly greater CSA prevention knowledge than boys immediately after the intervention, with gender remaining significant even when accounting for level-3 variables. Older children had better knowledge scores at posttest, but growth over time results revealed that younger students made greater gains. For students in 2nd through 4th grade, Content Integrity (CI) was more important for posttest outcomes, while for all students, CI and grade taught were important to posttest scores. Teachers of lower grades had students with a faster growth rate on correct responses to vignettes. Limitations include the measure of implementation fidelity was created by the researchers to be specific to this program and project, observations of treatment integrity were based on the first year that the children received the CPU intervention, and the outcomes were all based on self-report knowledge measures as opposed to actual behavior or experience of CSA.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 6 and 12 months.

Nickerson, A., Kim, S., Dudley, M., Livingston, J. A., & Manges, M. (2021). Longitudinal impact of the Second Step Child Protection Unit on teacher knowledge, attitude, and climate. Children and Youth Services Review, 123, 105892. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105892

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 159

Population:

  • Age — Children: Not specified; Adults: Not specified
  • Race/Ethnicity — Children: 61% White, 14% Black, 15% Hispanic, 7% Multiracial, and 3% American Indian, Alaskan, Asian, or Pacific Islander; Adults: 98.8% White/Caucasian
  • Gender — Children: Not specified; Adults: 93.2% Female
  • Status — Participants were teachers that taught grades Pre-K through grade 5 and had teaching experience ranging from 1 year to 36 years.

Location/Institution: A large suburban school district in the northeast United States

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This study uses a subsample of Nickerson et al. (2019). The purpose of the study was to examine the impact of the Second Step Child Protection Unit (CPU) on teacher child sexual abuse (CSA) knowledge, attitudes toward reporting, and school climate from pretest, posttest 1 (after CPU implementation), posttest 2 (6-month follow-up), and posttest 3 (12-month follow-up). Eight elementary schools in a large suburban school district in the northeast United States were randomly assigned to the intervention (CPU) or control condition. Measures utilized include the Teacher Reporting Attitude Scale-Child Sexual Abuse (TRAS-CSA), the Educators and Child Abuse Questionnaire (ECAQ), the Delaware School Climate Survey (DSCS-T/S) and the Abbreviated Acceptability Rating Profile (AARP). Results indicate that teachers in the intervention condition (CPU) had increased knowledge of CSA, more positive attitudes about reporting suspected CSA, and increased positive school climate, whereas control group teachers’ attitude toward reporting CSA and perceptions of positive school climate decreased over time. Teachers’ perceived acceptability of the intervention (CPU) related to increased knowledge, positive attitudes about reporting CSA, and positive perceptions of school climate. Limitations include outcome measures were all based on teacher-self report, teachers in this study were predominantly White women, and small sample size.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 6 and 12 months.

Additional References

No reference materials are currently available for Second Step® Child Protection Unit.

Contact Information

Second Step Customer Support
Agency/Affiliation: Committee for Children
Website: support.secondstep.org/hc/en-us
Email:
Phone: (800) 634-4449 x1

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: May 2021

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: November 2020

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: February 2022