The Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) recently received a $30,000 donation from the St. Joe Community Foundation towards its Child/Teen Safety Matters initiative in schools. The ECCAC Child/Teen Safety Matters program objective is to deliver a comprehensive child abuse prevention education by teaching children safety rules, safety choices, strategies for recognizing and responding to save versus unsafe situations, human trafficking, and all forms of child abuse and exploitation. This education also includes dangers of social media and bullying. “We thank the St. Joe Community Foundation for its numerous years of supporting our Child/Teen Safety Matters programs,” commented ECCAC CEO, Julie Porterfield. “Child abuse prevention education empowers children to protect themselves, a significant 95% of abuse can be prevented through education and awareness. In the school year 2019/20, 8,821 Walton County students were educated, and currently in this school year-to-date, we have reached 8397 students.” With approximately 10,000 children attending Walton County schools and statistics showing one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18, prevention education is an opportunity to reduce the chances of children in our community becoming victims of sexual abuse and other abusive situations. “It is a privilege to support ECCAC’s successful Child/Teen Safety Matters programs in Walton County schools. We understand how important the services they offer are to keep our community’s children safe,” said April Wilkes. With a Center in Okaloosa County and the Pierce Family Center in Walton County, ECCAC houses representatives from the Florida Department of Children and Families, Child Protection Team, State Attorney’s Office, local law enforcement, licensed mental health counselors, and ECCAC’s staff and volunteers. In ECCAC’s 21-year history, over 15,000 children have received more than 170,000 services at no cost.
For further information about the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, visit www.eccac.org. If abuse is suspected, call the anonymous Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE. # # # About St. Joe Community Foundation Since its inception, the St. Joe Community Foundation (“Foundation”), a private 501(c)3 foundation, has provided more than $29 million in grants to improve the quality of life in the communities it serves. The Foundation provides charitable grants toward the civic infrastructure of communities in Northwest Florida with a focus, but not a limitation, on Bay and Walton Counties. The Foundation’s primary focus is on strengthening education, improving healthcare, protecting the environment and supporting local cultural interests. These efforts help build healthy, caring, long-lived communities.