New Child Abuse Prevention Program for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD)

(November 15, 2022) — Bivona Child Advocacy Center, in partnership with the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, launches the Inclusive Child Abuse and Victimization Prevention Education project funded by The Golisano Foundation, Farash Foundation, the Bernice Stauber Fund of Rochester Area Community Foundation, and Camp Smile Foundation.

Rochester, New York: Bivona Child Advocacy Center today announces a mulit-year partnership with the Monique Burr Foundation for Children to develop and pilot a first-of-its-kind comprehensive prevention curriculum for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to supplement the MBF Child Safety Matters® prevention education curriculum that Bivona has been providing to Monroe County schools since 2018.  MBF Child Safety Matters® is a comprehensive, evidence-based curriculum that educates and empowers children and all relevant adults with information and strategies to prevent, recognize, and respond appropriately to bullying, cyberbullying, all types of child abuse, and digital dangers.

Studies show that children with intellectual and developmental disabilities are 3.4 times more likely to be sexually abused than children without disabilities. Additionally, research shows that children with IDD have significantly higher odds of experiencing multiple types of victimization than children without disabilities. Knowing this, we identified a need for an inclusive curriculum to provide children with intellectual and developmental disabilities with the same type of quality information and strategies taught in the evidence-based MBF Child Safety Matters prevention program. In 2021 the Golisano Foundation funded a facilitator adaptation guide created to teach students with IDD. This adaptation guide was piloted in six schools in Monroe County, and it was determined that there was a need to develop the infrastructure for a full IDD curriculum. That adapted guide was the bridge to get us to where we are today.

“We are excited to partner with the Monique Burr Foundation for Children to develop this curriculum and the educational materials designed inclusively for children of all abilities. This project is critical because we have found no quality, comprehensive, research-based programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities exists that addresses multiple types of victimization like MBF programs do. This is one more step toward equity and access for all.”  

– Dr. Daniele Lyman-Torres, CEO, Bivona Child Advocacy Center


“We are incredibly humbled and honored to partner with Bivona to develop a comprehensive prevention curriculum intended to support students with intellectual and developmental disabilities—the first of its kind. Together we will create developmentally appropriate prevention education curriculum for the most vulnerable children in our society. We remain committed to removing obstacles to keeping children safe.” – Tanya Ramos-Puig, CEO, Monique Burr Foundation for Children.


“The Golisano Foundation is dedicated to making the world a better place for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We’re grateful that Bivona Child Advocacy Center and The Monique Burr Foundation for Children have made the safety of students who are intellectually and developmentally disabled a priority. All students, regardless of their ability, should be educated and empowered with information and strategies to prevent, recognize, and respond appropriately to unsafe situations.”  – Ann Costello, Executive Director, The Golisano Foundation


Making sure children stay safe and learn when and how to ask for help can be difficult for children with intellectual or developmental disabilities. It’s critical that this proven comprehensive prevention program is being customized to assist these vulnerable students and give them the confidence to stand up for themselves in uncomfortable situations.” – Erin Barry, Vice President of Community Programs, Rochester Area Community Foundation.


“Camp Smile Foundation is proud to support Bivona and their partnership with MBF to develop a prevention education curriculum for special needs children in the Rochester community and beyond.  We’re grateful for the significant value associated with this programming while recognizing an alignment with the Camp Smile mission fostered by the foundations of Lions International and Lionism in general.” – Vince Hesketh, President & CEO, Camp Smile Inc


All kids deserve to be safe. This new curriculum will be based on the same theoretical and foundational elements as other MBF curricula and will be inclusive of various learning needs so all children can learn how to help adults keep them safe!

MBF Program Features and Benefits:

  • Evidence based/Evidence informed
  • Trauma Informed
  • Easy and practical for schools to implement
  • Developmentally appropriate
  • Based on poly-victimization research
  • Provides universal strategies to better protect children from multiple types of victimization, including five easy-to-remember Safety Rules
  • Teaches youth to identify and talk to Safe Adults
  • Educates children, school staff, and parents
  • Provides practice and reinforcement of learned skills
  • Created, reviewed, and supported by experts
  • Trusted by parents and schools


Interview Opportunities for Media:

Dr. Daniele Lyman-Torres, CEO of Bivona Child Advocacy Center will be available for interviews on November 16th in person and via zoom and can be coordinated with Jaime Anderson at or 585-935-7838.

Tanya Ramos- Puig, CEO of Monique Burr Foundation for Children is available for interviews on November 16th via zoom and can be coordinated with Ashle Fike at or 904-434-4824.

CONTACT: Jaime Anderson, Bivona Child Advocacy Center – (585) 935-7838 –


About Bivona Child Advocacy Center:

Founded in 2003 Bivona Child Advocacy Center delivers excellence in child abuse response, healing and prevention through collaborative service, awareness, education, and leadership. Bivona is the only agency of its kind in Monroe County that provides a compassionate, efficient, cost-effective infrastructure for child abuse intervention, serving more than 28,000 children in our investigatory and healing services since 2004. Bivona offers prevention education for both adults and children, educating 30,000 children and 1,500 adults in Monroe County in 2022. Bivona holds the GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency and is a Four-Star Charity through Charity Navigator. For more information about Bivona, please visit


About The Monique Burr Foundation for Children (MBF):
The Monique Burr Foundation for Children (MBF) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1997 by Edward E. Burr in honor of his late wife, Monique Burr, a devoted child advocate. MBF Prevention Education Programs include school-based programs MBF Child Safety Matters® (Grades Pre-K – 5) and MBF Teen Safety Matters® (Grades 6 – 12), and extra-curricular programs MBF Athlete Safety Matters® (Grades K – 12) for youth athletes, and MBF After-School Safety Matters® (Grades K – 8) for after-school and youth-serving organizations. The programs are comprehensive, evidence-based, trauma-informed primary prevention programs that educate and empower children and adults with information and strategies to prevent, recognize, and respond appropriately to abuse, bullying, cyberbullying, digital dangers, exploitation, and human trafficking.  MBF Programs have been delivered to millions of children and teens throughout the U.S. and internationally. For more information about MBF, please visit .


About The Golisano Foundation
The Golisano Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. dedicated to making the world a better place for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Foundation is devoted to opening doors to opportunity, changing negative perceptions and stereotypes, and forging unprecedented partnerships to ensure individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have pathways to personal dignity, independence, and the best possible expression of their abilities and talents throughout their lifetimes. Founded in 1985 by Tom Golisano—entrepreneur, philanthropist, civic leader, and founder of Paychex, Inc. —the Foundation “imagines the possibilities,” advocating for families, fighting for their dignity, and giving people with IDD the opportunity to thrive in their communities. With more than $60 million in gross assets, it awards about $3 million annually to non-profit organizations in Western New York and Southwest Florida. For more information about The Golisano Foundation please visit .


About Rochester Area Community Foundation

In 1972, a group of local residents founded Rochester Area Community Foundation as an endowment to provide ongoing and long-term support for the Rochester-Finger Lakes region. The Foundation works with individuals, families, businesses, and other nonprofit organizations to establish charitable funds or contribute to existing permanent funds that help address the region’s current and evolving needs. Today, the Community Foundation is the largest grantmaking foundation in our region and second largest in Central and Western New York. For more information about Rochester Area Community Foundation please visit .


About Camp Smile
Camp Smile is a New York certified summer day camp for children who are blind or visually challenged. The project is sponsored by and fully supported by the Webster Lions Club, NY, District 20-E1. The camp annually hosts an average of 50 children ages’ 5-21 and is certified by the New York State Department of Health. For more information about Camp Smile please visit

What They're Saying...

The MBF Child Safety Matters program is impressive. This important information is well formulated and well presented, developmentally appropriate, and based on good understanding of literature.

The MBF Teen Safety Matters curriculum hosts an in-depth approach to important social and safety concerns relevant to youth. The program content is age-appropriate with engaging activities, jargon, and realistic situations to positively promote a relatable and impacting learning experience…Teen Safety Matters is an educational benefit to all parties involved – students, parents, facilitators, and schools.

There’s not a child in the world who can’t benefit from this program. There are so many instances where we see children who have been damaged and hurt. Things happened to them and we think, if they’d only had this program, if they’d only had the benefit of this education, that might not have happened to them. If we can prevent that from happening to a single child, then it’s worth all the effort we have put forth.

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