Child Assault Prevention

Dear Family ACCESS Community,

As summer inches towards its end, we will approach fall and the change of seasons. We are reaching out to share with our community news of another transition, this one within Family ACCESS. After carefully considering community resources and available options, we have decided to sunset our CAP (Child Assault Prevention) program in the Fall of 2023. We want to share more about the process and how our decision was made.

The Child Assault Prevention (CAP) program model was developed in 1978 under the auspices of the National Center for Assault Prevention in Columbus, Ohio, to empower millions of children, teachers, and parents globally to reduce childhood trauma and to support the rights of all children to be safe, strong, and free. Family ACCESS received training and consultation from ICAP and was certified to implement the CAP curriculum in our local schools.

Over thirty years of providing the CAP program, thousands of local children have built new skills, and strategies, families have increased their knowledge, keeping more children in our community safe, strong, and free. None of this would have been possible without two committed and passionate Program Directors, Gail and Kim, and the efforts of hundreds of dedicated community volunteers who implemented these in-person programs in the classroom (and during the COVID-19 pandemic via Zoom).

Over time, it became clear that the CAP curriculum needed updates to remain current, and, at the same time, the needs of the schools we served began to change. Our largest client, the Newton Public Schools, decided to offer a similar in-house program and let us know they would no longer need our CAP services. Faced with this changing landscape, Family ACCESS began actively exploring options for the future of CAP about a year ago. We enlisted the volunteer services of the Community Consulting Teams of Boston (CCT). Over six months, this fantastic team of nine volunteers conducted an environmental scan, reviewed the data, interviewed stakeholders, analyzed other programs and curriculums, conducted 22 market interviews, and built a series of models and projections for Family ACCESS leadership to consider.

In February 2023, we also learned the International Center for Assault Prevention (ICAP) decided to dissolve its organization and cease operations after 40 years of serving local communities to prevent child abuse and neglect. Learn more here: As a result, our CAP program would be able to access the curriculum but will no longer be able to receive certification to provide CAP programs in the classroom.

When Family ACCESS first began offering the CAP program, there were very few child assault prevention resources and supports available in the community. As sad as it is to say goodbye to CAP, we were pleased to recently see the launch of Safe Kids Thrive a first-of-its-kind website developed by the Massachusetts Legislative Task Force on the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, that helps child-serving organizations develop and implement prevention-focused policies and programs that stop abuse before it happens. With customizable planning tools, online trainings, and learning modules, the site allows organizations to find relevant prevention resources for their specific needs. For more information visit Safe Kids Thrive.

Through this exploratory process, the Board determined that CAP was no longer viable in its current form and that new child assault prevention resources were increasingly available to school systems and others to meet their programmatic needs. After carefully considering all this information, the decision was made by our Board of Directors to end the CAP program in September of 2023. Our CAP staff and volunteers’ incredible work over the past thirty years has significantly contributed to improving the lives of children and families and raising awareness of this critical issue. This work will continue in many places across our community, and the many seeds we planted through this work will continue to grow.

Please address any questions to our Executive Director, Maureen Lister at

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As we have for over 100 years, Family ACCESS empowers and strengthens families and the community by providing programs that nurture child development, promote effective parenting skills and supports working parents. Our new name reminds us of the doors that open, and the rich journeys that result, when children and families have access to the very best education-based resources and programs.

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