Ameren Illinois donates $20k to Center for Prevention of Abuse, dollars to help prevention education expansion


PEORIA, Ill.– The Center for Prevention of Abuse, Peoria Public Schools, and Ameren Illinois gathered Wednesday afternoon to share details of a $20,000 grant donated by Ameren Illinois to fund the continuation and expansion of CFPA’s human trafficking prevention education programming in area high schools.

Generous grants and giving such as this not only allow us to continue to fulfill our mission, but also give us the opportunity to connect one-on-one with students. This funding will help us to develop curriculum, research material and cover the cost of programming in the classroom.”

Laura Kowalske, Director of Prevention Education | The Center for Prevention of Abuse

CFPA piloted this programming at Manual Academy in October 2018 and with its success, provided the education in more than seven schools last year, which resulted in more than 103 hours of programming to 623 students.

CFPA will expand the programming into additional Peoria Public Schools and other area high schools, totaling more than ten schools during the 2019-2020 academic year.

This program teaches high school students, who are one of the most vulnerable populations to fall victim to trafficking, about red flags and indicators, warning signs of unhealthy relationships, recruitment tactics for traffickers and top venues, and how to safely report suspicious activity or access services. It also provides information about the prevalence of human trafficking in Central Illinois.

The programming is funded in part by a generous contribution from Ameren Illinois through the Ameren Cares initiative.

Through its Prevention Education services, the Center for Prevention of Abuse facilitates programs in more than 110 schools and learning communities in Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford Counties each year to help build safe and peaceful learning environments through violence prevention education.

The fact that we’re in over 110 educational settings, reaching over 35,000 students means that those dollars are really important. So, Ameren Illinois is a major partner in making sure that we’re able to continue with 10 prevention educators, in all those school settings, reaching those children on a variety of topics, not the least of which is human trafficking.”

Carol Merna, CEO | The Center for Prevention of Abuse

Last year, CFPA reached more than 35,000 students with age-appropriate, evidence-based, and comprehensive programming on social and emotional learning, child sexual abuse prevention, bullying prevention, healthy relationships, teen dating violence, and more.

In October 2018, CFPA introduced a human trafficking prevention education curriculum into its high school programming.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Illinois is ranked the 9th in the United States for human trafficking numbers with 884 contacts to the National Human Trafficking Hotline and 296 reported cases last year, a 25% increase from 2017.

CFPA was selected by the Justice Department in 2016 to receive grant funding to provide free and confidential services for survivors of labor and sex trafficking, foreign-born and domestic, of all ages in Central Illinois. CFPA introduced its Human Trafficking Services department in January 2018 and remains the lead victim-service agency within the Central Illinois Human Trafficking Task Force, presiding over 46 counties.

CFPA was the first federally granted, sanctioned, and trained provider of human trafficking beds and services for survivors south of Chicago, Illinois.

About the Center for Prevention of Abuse
The Center for Prevention of Abuse (CFPA) is the only agency authorized by the State of Illinois to provide a combination of domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual abuse, human trafficking, and adult protective services for survivors of abuse. Annually, CFPA serves more than 5,000 women, men, and children affected by violence and abuse. CFPA offers school-based abuse prevention programming to students pre-K through college age, reaching more than 35,000 young people each year. Through these activities, plus community presentations and trainings, CFPA lives out its mission to help everyone – women, men and children – live free from violence and abuse. For more information about CFPA, visit or call 309-691-0551. The crisis line is available 24/7 1-800-559-SAFE (7233) and all victim services are free and confidential.

About Ameren Illinois
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 816,000 natural gas customers throughout central and southern Illinois. Our service territory covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles and our mission is to power the quality of life. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois and Facebook.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Local News

More Local News