Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a bipartisan bill co-authored by local Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon) that requires the State Department of Education to establish guidelines and best practices for child-abuse prevention in schools and school programs.
Assembly Bill 1058, which passed both legislative houses last month without dissent, will take effect Jan. 1.
"We must take every possible precaution to ensure the safety of every child, and this includes preventing the circumstances which might allow for child abuse to occur on our school campuses or in school programs," Baker, whose district includes the San Ramon Valley, said in a statement Monday.
"AB 1058 will equip teachers and other school employees with the tools and training to prevent child abuse in schools more effectively," she added.
Co-authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale), the bill expands upon recent steps taken by the state to require school employees to receive training on how to detect and report suspected child abuse, Baker noted.
"AB 1058 improves upon this by focusing on how we can better prevent child abuse so there is nothing to be reported," she added in her statement.
Specifically, the bill requires the Department of Education to create best practices for school personnel to prevent abuse, including sexual abuse, of children on school grounds, by school personnel, or in school-sponsored programs. The department would also need to post links to existing training resources on its website.
The legislation also encourages all public schools to train employees on child abuse prevention at least once every three years.
AB 1058 received support from the California Catholic Conference and The Child Abuse Prevention Center, Baker said.