Coos Bay, November 20, 2019: The Kids’ HOPE Center, the Child Abuse Intervention Center for Coos County under the Bay Area Hospital umbrella, has surpassed their goal to train five percent of the residents of Coos County in Darkness to Light, a child sex abuse prevention training, in three years. The Kids’ HOPE Center provides an important and necessary service in Coos County, as it has some of the highest rates of child abuse in the state of Oregon.

The Kids’ HOPE (Healing, Outreach, Prevention, and Education) Center supports families and child abuse victims at a one-stop-shop center where a child and their family can receive care and support navigating their way through the challenging legal prosecution system in a safe environment. The Center is where a forensic interview is conducted and a medical exam can take place, all while being watched by child welfare and law enforcement via video to ensure that a child is not re-traumatized by having to relive and continue talking about the situation over and over.
Darkness to Light, the free prevention training offered by the Center is held the third Saturday of every month, and also on the fourth Tuesday of every month at the Kids’ HOPE Center. The training is also available at business locations throughout the County. The training is comprehensive and informative; it wraps up in two hours total, includes video components, and comprehensive education on how child sexual abuse happens, what the warning signs are, how to respond quickly to prevent abuse, how to foster a culture of child sexual abuse prevention, trauma, and breaking the stigma of child sexual abuse. Thanks to a grant received from the Ford Family Foundation, the Kids’ HOPE Center can offer this training to the community free of charge, and to date, have trained over 3,000 community members.
The Kids’ HOPE Center is run by a small but dedicated staff of individuals including: Ashley Matsui, Program Director, Sarah Bright, Education Coordinator, Julie Marshall, Senior Family Advocate, Scott Snyder and Stephanie Marler, Forensic Interviewers, and they are all supported by several volunteer facilitators.
The other element of the training in conjunction with Darkness to Light, is becoming a Partner in Prevention. Local organizations can train at least 90% of their staff in the Darkness to Light training, and they will become a Partner in Prevention, showing the community that they are dedicated to preventing, recognizing, and reacting responsibly to child sexual abuse. There are currently 58 organizations in Oregon that have received Partner in Prevention status. Forty two of these organizations come from Coos County alone. These local organizations include:
 Boys & Girls Club
 Here We Grow Daycare
 Wally’s House
 Millicoma Middle School
 Waterfall Community Health Center
 Coos County 4H
 Coos Drop Youth Era
 Hauser Community Church
 Sunset Middle School
 North Bend High School
 North Bend Middle School
 North Bay Elementary School
 Hillcrest Elementary School
 Smart Reading
 Restoration Education Center
 Seabird Chapel
 Bay Clinic Pediatrics
 Powers Police Department
 Powers High School
 Powers Elementary School
 Reedsport Highland Elementary
 Reedsport Community Charter School
 Coquille Tribe Head Start
 Reedsport Library
 Umpqua Discovery Council
 Reedsport City Council
 Reedsport City Hall
 Myrtle Point District Office
 Myrtle Crest Elementary
 Myrtle Point High School
 North Bend Streets
 North Bend Admin and Finance
 North Bend Parks and Recreation
 North Bend Public Works
 North Bend Wastewater
 North Bed Library
 North Bend Pool
 North Bend Fire Department
 Myrtle Point Bus Drivers
 Mid-Columbia Bus Company
 South Coast Hospice
 Kids’ HOPE Center
 Riley Creek Elementary School
 Oregon Pacific Bank
Thanks to the efforts of Sarah Bright, Oregon is first place in the nation for training the most organizations in Partners in Prevention. Bright has won an international award from Darkness to Light for her recruiting of organizations to attain the Partner in Prevention status. Bright continues to offer the monthly trainings, and is available to come onsite and conduct the training for any organizations that are interested in receiving it. To schedule a training, or to attend one of the reoccurring Center trainings call Sarah Bright at 541-269-4196.
Originally operating under Coos County, The Kids’ HOPE Center was moved under Bay Area Hospital in 2013 as it shifted from a traditional advocacy-centered approach to embracing a more medical model which puts a greater focus on each child’s health needs. The Center operates as a neutral entity in the case of suspected child abuse; the Center does not make any decisions in the case of the child, the team only supports the child and their family through this difficult time.
If you have questions or need additional information, contact Ashley Matsui, Program Director at the Kids’ HOPE Center at (541) 269- 4191.