Over twenty years ago local citizens saw there was a need to help children in Habersham County that were suffering from signs of child abuse. Janis Stapleton and Sandy Penny wrote a grant to help fund their efforts in working to end child abuse in Habersham County by establishing Prevent Child Abuse Habersham. This initial grant from The Children’s Trust Fund of Georgia helped start the organization’s very first prevention program called First Steps. By 1994 Prevent Child Abuse Habersham had become a chartered council member of PCA Georgia and their desire to prevent child abuse in all forms literally took its first steps. For the sake of brevity in providing the history of PCAH it is important to note that many people over the years have provided valuable resources to the organization and it would be impossible to list each of them. Whether their support was in the form of monetary donations, countless hours of their time, or their commitment was through their heart PCAH is blessed and appreciative of their passion for the organization’s mission and it recognizes that they have helped make a difference in their community.

Since 1992 PCAH has grown to now offer four child abuse prevention programs. In addition to the First Steps program the organization offers Parents as Teachers program, Darkness to Lights’ Stewards of Children training, and Hope & Healing Habersham. Each of these programs offers specific training, support, and awareness to citizens, victims and/or parents. First Steps is run by a full time paid position, and Parents as Teachers is run by one full time paid position and one part-time paid position. Each of the staff members is highly trained and each of them has many years of experience in their specific program. Stewards of Children training is given by volunteer facilitators who have been trained by Darkness to Light, these volunteers currently are counselors within the school system of Habersham County. Hope & Healing Habersham is a peer support group that is facilitated by volunteer counselors from Mustard Seed Counseling Services located in Clarkesville, Georgia.

Funding of these programs as well as support of Prevent Child Abuse Habersham has been provided by grants, annual loyal sponsors, and individual contributions. As mentioned above The Children’s Trust Fund of Georgia was PCAH’s first grant received and its funding helped start the organizations First Steps program. Habersham County’s United Way is still the organization’s most consistent major source of funding. The Parents as Teachers program was funded in 2007 through a grant from the Children’s Trust Fund of Georgia. In 2010 a System of Care grant was received from the Governor’s Office for Children and Families and is the largest grant the organization has ever received. In 2013 PCAH’s Stewards of Children received a matching grant and it should be renewable from year to year. In addition, October 2013, Parents as Teachers acquired a grant.

Throughout its twenty plus years Prevent Child Abuse Habersham has been good stewards of its revenues and this conservative approach has enabled them to act on grants that require matched funds or the harboring of funds for the continuation of its programs. The prevention programs that are offered are research based and proven successful. Loyalty to the organization through annual sponsors and individual donors combined with growth in awareness sets Prevent Child Abuse Habersham in a strong position for a positive future of sustainability and growth.

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