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Donalda Shepardson

Meet Donalda Shepardson

Founder of Creating Safer Havens

Creating Safer Havens was developed and first implemented in 1995 by the founder and President Donalda Shepardson. Shepardson's lifelong commitment to protecting children from sexual abuse, has been demonstrated through her extensive background and volunteer services through foundations and boards. She has served on the Child Protective Services Multi-Disciplinary Task Force for the San Diego County Children's Services Bureau, the San Diego Community Child Abuse Coordinating Council and on the Advisory Board of the California Legislative Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse. She has collaborated with police and sheriff's Child Sex Crimes Units and the California Department of Justice and is a certified finger printer.

Her program, Creating Safer Havens provides education and awareness of the need to better protect children and youth, and has been implemented in the state of California, and is now being expanded to New York State. Shepardson's program is designed to assist churches, religious institutions of all denominations, schools, pre-schools and youth organizations with a step-by-step guided implementation of policies and procedures which will make child sexual abuse prevention a priority. This brings peace of mind for young families, who know that their church or youth organization recognizes the importance of protecting their children from sexual abuse.

Child sexual abuse often flies under the radar and goes undetected until one precious child has become a victim. Child sexual abusers are many times individuals who hold positions of trust and have easy access to our children. They carry a dirty little secret that could have been completely prevented if proper procedures and policies were in place. Once the revelation of a child sexual abuse situation has come to light, children and families are devastated, churches, religious institutions and organizations are held accountable and communities are affected. Creating Safer Havens is a detailed, comprehensive training program that is easy to follow, develop and implement. The program, once implemented, creates a hedge of protection around our precious children and improves risk management for organizations.

The Creating Safer Haven's training program assists organizations in establishing a safer, loving environment for our children and youth whenever they are in church, religious institutions or organized events. Shepardson's passion to serve our children and youth comes through in the implementation of the Creating Safer Havens program.

Corporate Background

Creating Safer Havens, Inc – President and Founder
Child abuse prevention, protection from child sexual abuse, and risk management program. Non-profit 501C.3 since 2002.

Shepardson Engineering Associates, Inc., Santee, California
Executive Vice President, Director of Consulting Engineering Corporation

'Promise Not To Tell' – Child Abuse Documentary
Co-producer with the National Children's Advocacy Center

1996 - 1997
Child Protective Services Task Force
Which includes County of San Diego staff and individuals from the public, private and business sectors

Certified Finger Printer

Trainer to Mandated Reporters

Volunteer Services related to Children and Youth Council and Board Affiliations


  • Creating Safer Havens, Inc – Chair
  • Legislative Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse, State of California Advisory Board Member
  • Coming Together Foundation Board Member- Futures for Foster Adolescents
  • Creating Partnerships Committee in collaboration with San Diego County
    Department of Social Services Children's Services Bureau in Public/Private Partnership on Development and Implementation of Foster Youth Program
  • Creating Partnerships Forum Coordinating Committee County of San Diego – Served With Juvenile Court Judges, Law Enforcement Department of Social Services and Department of Probation
  • Child Protective Services Multi-Disciplinary Task Force San Diego County – Action Team Member and Work Group Chair
  • Futures for Foster Adolescents Auxiliary – Founding Board President
  • County of San Diego Child Abuse Prevention Committee (CAPC) formerly San Diego Community Child Abuse Coordinating Council
  • Family Discipleship Ministries Founding Board Member
  • Children in Crises – Founding Board and Advisory Board Member and Facilitator for career path program for at-risk teens
  • Communities Against Substance Abuse – CASA – Youth-focused
  • Alpine Substance Abuse Prevention Planning Team – Youth-focused
Education - Conferences, Seminars, Workshops


  • Consortium for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Long Beach
    California Council to Prevent Child Abuse
    Ritualistic Abuse
    US Advisory Board Report Briefing
    How To Recognize a Perpetrator in a Volunteer Setting
  • San Diego Child Abuse National Conference, San Diego
    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
    Trauma and Memory
    Parents Against Child Abuse
  • Pastoral Conference, Long Beach
    Orangewood Children's Center Tour, Long Beach
    Prevention of Child Abuse Workshops
  • San Diego Child Abuse Prevention Foundation Conference, Polinsky Center
  • San Diego Community Child Abuse Coordinating Council Conference, Mission Valley
  • Partners in Peace Conference, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Sexual Assault – MCRD – Admiral Kid Club, San Diego
  • California's Focus: Family Strengths Conference, Sacramento
    Is He A Danger To My Child? Sex Offenders
    PSKS – Peace For The Streets By Kids From The Streets – Homeless Kids Of Seattle
    Toxic Religion – Kyros Ministry
    Department of Justice – Parental Responsibility vs Children's rights
  • Shadows to Light Training by California Department of Social Services and Office of the Attorney General
  • Child Abuse Mandated Reporter Training of Trainers (TOT)
Educational Experience

Presentations by Deputy District Attorney, Sheriff's Departments, Police Departments, Sex Crimes Units

  • Megan's Law Update
  • Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of The Leading Causes of Death in Adults
  • Child Fatality Committee Annual Coroner's Report
  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (ASCA) by George Billotta
  • Never Shake A Baby – Shaken Baby Syndrome Education
  • Pornography on the Internet – FBI
  • Steps Program Juvenile Sexual Treatment Educational
  • Drug Crackdown Enforcement – Deputy District Attorney
  • Kids That Witness Domestic Violence
  • Department of Justice – Child Abuse Process
  • Communities Against Substance Abuse (CASA)
Legislative Experience and Training
  • Certified Finger Printer
  • Trainer to Mandated Reporters
  • Legislative Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse, eg. California Law to Mandate Clergy, Signed Into Law 1997
  • Assisted District Attorney's Staff – Child Abuse Case
  • Child Abuse Mandated Reporter Training of Trainers (TOT)
  • Shadows to Light – Training Mandated Reporters in State Child Abuse Reporting Law
  • El Cajon Domestic Violence Coalition
  • Children in Crises – Facilitator
  • Communities Against Substance Abuse (CASA) – Training
  • Alpine Substance Abuse Prevention Planning Team Member