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The CHIPS Center is back on pace with its Erin’s Law programming after a decline when schools went virtual in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and this time last year, CHIPS Director Deb Schneider and the CHIPS team were working to find ways to revise their child abuse prevention training that was typically held in person in schools. The CHIPS Center, Children’s Hospital Intervention and Prevention Services, moved to a larger location in the Arlington Business Center in December 2020 and now has the space – and equipment – to provide virtual programming to students to help schools meet the Erin’s Law mandate.
Erin's Law requires that all K-12 public schools provide an age appropriate curriculum to students on avoiding child sexual abuse. CHIPS is one of several providers that works with schools in Alabama to fulfill that requirement.
In 2019, CHIPS provided school programs to about 9,700 students. In 2020, that number fell to around 4,270 students as schools had to quickly adapt to remote learning. Year to date 2021, CHIPS has already provided programming for close to 4,920 students.
“After our move to our new space in December, we had the technology needed to provide virtual learning to Homewood City Schools and i3 Academy in Birmingham. We are currently providing virtual learning to Vestavia City Schools, Hoover City Schools and Alabaster City Schools. We hope to have some Birmingham City Schools and Jefferson County Schools scheduled before the current school year ends,” Schneider said.
CHIPS also provided sessions to Aliceville Elementary School in Pickens County and sent resource materials to Auburn City Schools this school year.
“Most of the schools we work with are providing more presentations than the mandate requires. The mandate states at least four lessons to be provided between kindergarten and 12th grade. CHIPS provides the selected presentations for the grades each school system selects,” Schneider said.