WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Hope Haven has launched a new program to cut down on child sexual abuse in the Hancock and Harrison County communities.
Terry Latham is the Director of Hope Haven Child Services and says their number one priority and mission is to protect the children in their community. That is why they've created a program that helps prevent sexual abuse of children on the Gulf Coast.
"The program is from an organization called Darkness to Light, it's called Stewards of Children. It's one of those programs that have been recognized nationally, and it's proven successful in every community where it's been implemented. That's why we're so excited about getting down here on the Gulf Coast," Latham said.
Most child abuse prevention organizations have been aimed at teaching children to not accept abuse and to tell someone if it happens, but Latham says their new program will be aimed toward the adults in the community.
"This program isn't focused on trying to teach children to not be abused. It is orientated towards engaging the public and engaging those youth agencies, the adults in the community, to teach the community's adults how to prevent sexual abuse of our children," Latham said.
Volunteers of Hope Haven say they're confident in getting the work done and providing services and workshops for adults to protect children.
"I want to offer my time, now that I have some time, to help educate our community on the epidemic of child abuse we have going on here and how to prevent that," Cindy Hornosky said.
"If we can get out there and let everyone know that there is an option, that you can go up there and learn information about this, help stop this problem. All the adults are able to learn about different ways to protect themselves from getting accused of abuse, as well as limit the options that our kids have to get in a situation where they can't stop this problem," Alison Blanchard said.
To get involved with Hope Haven's new program, you're encouraged to call 228-466-6395 or visit their Facebook page or web site.