Our story

”I have founded an organization. My biggest wish is to shut it down soon.”  

Queen Silvia of Sweden

With these words, Queen Silvia founded Childhood over twenty years ago. Since our organization’s inception, we have worked persistently to implement Childhood´s vision: to ensure that all children have a safe and loving childhood, free from violence, exploitation, and sexual abuse. In the United States, we have supported more than 90,000 children through innovative initiatives, projects and ideas that have developed and grown thanks to the support, knowledge, networks and encouragement of Childhood USA.  Thanks to Childhood:

The Out of the Shadows Index

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The Out of the Shadows Index: Shining light on the response to child sexual abuse and exploitation – a 60-country benchmarking index by the Economist Intelligence Unit with the support of the World Childhood Foundation, Oak Foundation, and with additional support from The Carlson Family Foundation. The index examines how countries are responding to the threat of sexual violence against children. It explores the environment in which the issue occurs and is addressed; the degree to which a country’s legal framework provides protections for children from sexual violence; whether government commitment and capacity is being deployed to equip institutions and personnel to respond appropriately; and the engagement of industry, civil society and media in efforts to tackle the problem.

Community Engagement

Our community engagement will bridge the gap between our global policy work and providing access and resources to marginalized communities that we serve about the prevention of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

Building upon our over 20 years of evidence-based work to prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation, Childhood USA has expanded our work thru community engagement with the Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn community in 2021 by:

  • 1. Providing resources and tools to identify child sexual abuse and react responsibility to disclosures of abuse. 
  • 2. Training/workshops with caregivers and responsible adults, including, teachers, coaches to prevent child sexual abuse. 
  • 3. Participation and hosting community events 
  • 4. Work with community members to address gaps in resources and how to improve access to resources. 

In partnership with the Bridge for Youth, a non-profit serving homeless and runaway youth in Minnesota, Childhood USA will create a mobile van to provide crisis intervention services for homeless and street affected LGBTQ+ youth in Minneapolis. We will pilot a community engagement program in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York to increase resources to prevent child sexual abuse on and offline.

In partnership with Safe Horizon, we are implementing a community-based network response to child sexual abuse and homeless youth in upper Manhattan- connecting Child Advocacy Centers and drop-in centers for homeless youth, of which 60% identify as LGBTQ+.

Research

We support the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, Johns Hopkins University, to adapt responsible behavior training to reduce the risk of peer perpetration adapted for teens with intellectual and development disabilities.

We are also partnering with Stop it Now! To deter 50,000 youth target users from sexual harming with helplines and pilot texting for resources.

We have continued our work with the CDC Foundation to expand the “Child Safety in Youth-Serving Organizations: Creating Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships  Environments” report.

Will Queen Silvia ever be able to shut down her organization, as she hoped when Childhood was founded?” people often ask when we talk about our 20-year anniversary. That is our goal. But as Queen Silvia recently said: As long as we are needed, we will continue working.

Photo: Jonathon Rees