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Zero Abuse Project awarded $1.2 million for top-rated child abuse prevention in Minnesota – News

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Zero Abuse Project, a national nonprofit organization, announced that the March 23 federal budget signed into law by President Biden included an appropriation of $1.2 million for the nonprofit to provide a child abuse prevention program in Minnesota. The congressionally-directed spending was jointly sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN).

The child abuse prevention program will be developed and operated by Zero Abuse Project’s Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, whose abuse prevention education curriculum, Empower Me!, has been rated by the Minnesota Children’s Alliance to be among the top five curriculums in the nation. Empower Me!, which is currently used in schools in Minnesota, Arkansas, and Maryland, is aimed at children from first to third grades. The new federal funding will be used to develop, evaluate, and deliver age-appropriate prevention curricula to older students, as well as increase public awareness of strategies for preventing child abuse.

It is estimated that one in four girls and one in six boys will experience abuse before the age of 18. In 2021, Minnesota had more than 5,000 confirmed victims of child maltreatment, and 26% of them were victims of abuse. Studies show that the overwhelming majority of victims will not disclose their abuse for many years.

Zero Abuse Project CEO and abuse survivor Jeffrey Dion believes this funding is an important step towards eliminating child abuse.

“This is a crime that happens in the shadows,” says Dion. “The best way to combat it is by breaking the stigma and increasing transparency. It is the responsibility of adults to keep kids safe, but we can make kids smart—but not scared—by providing kids, parents, teachers, and others the tools they need to create a world where every child is free from abuse.”

“As a former prosecutor, I know that child abuse is a life and death issue,” says Sen. Klobuchar. “This federal funding will be used to combat child abuse in Minnesota by providing parents, teachers, law enforcement, and others the resources they need to identify and respond to signs of abuse. With this investment, we’re taking a step forward toward keeping our children safe.”

“Investing in child abuse prevention is critical for safeguarding the physical and emotional health of children, fostering healthy communities, and building a future where every child can grow up in an environment free from fear, trauma, and the lasting impacts of abuse,” says Sen. Smith. “Projects like this are exactly the type of thing the federal government should be a partner in. I was glad to advocate for the work Zero Abuse Project is doing and help secure this federal funding to support them in protecting children.”

In addition to the prevention education programs offered by the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, Zero Abuse Project offers training and technical assistance for county attorneys and law enforcement on the effective and trauma-informed investigation and prosecution of child abuse. Its Child Advocacy Studies (CAST) program provides experiential education for students pursuing careers in child protection at more than 90 colleges and universities. Its interactive SurvivorSpace website offers information, resources, and support for adult survivors of child abuse.

For more information on trainings, events, and joining the fight against child abuse, please visit, or follow us on social media via Facebook/LinkedIn/X : @ZeroAbuseProj

Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, Zero Abuse Project is a 501(c)(3) committed to transforming institutions in order to effectively prevent, recognize, and respond to child abuse.

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