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How Gainesville schools, child advocacy group partner to prevent child abuse
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The Edmondson Telford Center for Children is partnering with Gainesville City School System to train employees to identify and respond to suspected child abuse on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. - photo by Austin Steele

Gainesville City Schools has partnered with the Edmondson Telford Child Advocacy Center to train employees to accurately and promptly identify and respond to evidence of child abuse among its students.

“I applaud the Gainesville City School System for taking this important step to achieve Partner in Prevention status,” Heather Hayes, executive director of the Edmondson Telford CAC, said in a press release. “To train virtually all system employees is a tremendous investment – and one that will reap incredible rewards for the children of Gainesville City Schools.”

GCSS has earned the Partner in Prevention designation by training more than 90 percent of all school system employees.

The training is provided through the Edmondson Telford CAC, a nonprofit that provides forensic interviews and physical exams for suspected victims of abuse to strengthen prosecution of perpetrators.

“I had prior experience with Stewards of Children training from a former school system in which I worked,” Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Jeremy Williams said. “I recognized the value it brings to a staff, and ultimately the students we serve, and wanted to ensure that we all are trained to identify and respond appropriately to a situation where abuse may have occurred.”

Hayes says the Edmondson Telford CAC has a goal of training at least 5 percent of the Hall County adult population, which she says is the “tipping point” for a community when they can begin to see cultural change in the protection of children. 

The GCSS staff training numbers bring the total to about 70 percent of the 7,010-person goal for Hall County.

So far, 17 counties in Georgia have reached the tipping point.

The United Way of Hall County provides funding for the training.

“We are pleased to partner with the Edmondson Telford Center to make this training possible in Hall County,” said Joy Griffin, president of United Way of Hall County. “This milestone is a great example of collaboration across our community. By working together, United Way, the Edmondson Telford Center and the Gainesville City School System make the biggest impact for our community’s children.”

Information compiled from a press release by Joshua Silavent.

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The Edmondson Telford Center for Children is partnering with Gainesville City School System to train employees to identify and respond to suspected child abuse on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. - photo by Austin Steele
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