Rome City Schools has been awarded a grant that will help educators, mentors and school administrators to identify children who are being abused.

The grant awards the system with $475 that will be used to train the system point person who is Kirsten Thornante, Rome City Schools’ System Social Worker.

“This grant will allow us to train 200 employees on the Stewards of Children Program,” Thornante explained, “and the cost for the training is around $15 per trainee. The money is used for the materials we will need to educate teachers and administrators about the ways to identify children who are being emotionally or physically abused.”

Thornante went on to say that the grant was awarded by the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy. RCS originally applied for money to train 150 staff members, but they were awarded with enough funds for 200 new people to be trained. Thronante will be the facilitator for all of the pre-selected faculty and administration, and the additional slots can be used for more staff or mentors who wish to be trained.

“We all have to attend a mandated reporter training, since we do work with children and families. However, this training is more in-depth,” said Thornante. “It will allow our participants to look through a different lens and see what kids who are being abused may go through. The goal is for us all, as a system, to become more aware of specific signs to look for.”

Rome/Floyd County Commission on Children and Youth started an initiative to encourage training in the different agencies that have direct contact with children, according to Thornante.

“The idea is to expose five percent of the adults in our county to abuse prevention. Then, we hit this tipping point, and we are able to shift the culture and shift the perceptions. If that much of our population can recognize these problems, then we build a real awareness of these issues,” Thornante explained.

Hopefully professionals who work with children can learn a better way to start some of these conversations that may be hard and scary for children. If you are a part of the RCS system, or if you work as a mentor or volunteer in the schools, you can be trained as well. Please email Kirsten Tornante at [email protected] if you are interested.

“With this grant we can get the information to a lot more of our teachers. Our counselors and most of our administrators have been trained already,” said Thornante, “so we need to expand our efforts to reduce instances of abuse. Hopefully, we can help by providing a safe place for our children to learn and grow.”