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Anchorage, Alaska — The inaugural Alaska Safe Children’s Act Task Force meeting was held in Anchorage, Alaska. The Task force was established this past session by House Bill 44, The Alaska Safe Children’s Act, to provide school districts with curriculum recommendations regarding child sexual assault and abuse, dating violence, suicide and FASD prevention. Task force members were comprised of two members of the Senate, two members of the House, the Commissioner of the Department of Education, and community stakeholders and experts. The all-day meeting addressed the mission and goal of the Task force, and covered topics including curriculum preparations and existing efforts of the Department of Education.
“Every day Alaskans are reminded how real the epidemics of suicide, domestic violence, sexual assault, and substance abuse are in our state,” said Task force member and HB 44 sponsor Rep. Charisse Millett. “I am encouraged after this first gathering that we are meeting the challenges posed by these epidemics head on, and working toward finding best practices in prevention and education.”
Representative Millett also expressed her thanks to the now-chair Trevor Storrs. “We owe a massive amount of thanks to Trevor Storrs, the Executive Director of the Alaska Children’s Trust. I am incredibly confident in his leadership of this Task force, and am truly grateful for his willingness to step up for the safety and education of our children.”
“This meeting is especially impactful having been held during AFN’s Youth and Elder’s Conference,” said Task force member Representative Bryce Edgmon, “AFN’s conference serves to remind us that as community members and Alaskans, we have the ultimate responsibility for teaching our younger generation and keeping them safe. I believe this Task force’s recommendations will move us forward as a state in achieving those goals.”
“Having spent most of my career working to improve our staggering statistics, I can attest to the power of breaking down silos, and having Alaskans from both government and stakeholder backgrounds sit down at the table to address the many social ills facing our state,” said Task force member Senator Anna MacKinnon. “We all have a decidedly vested interest in changing our state’s story and ending this rampant victimization.”
Additional thanks were given to the work put forth by Commissioner Mike Hanley and his staff at the Department of Education, the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, the Anchorage School District, the Alaska Suicide Prevention Council, and the Department of Health and Social Services.