The Child Abuse Prevention Society is a registered, for-profit organization that solicits money from the public to buy child abuse prevention materials and put on programs in preschools and day-care centers, says the group's project manager, Chris Boudreaux.
Boudreaux told the Deseret News his organization has suffered because of recent news stories questioning its nature. He said all but two of the company's phone solicitors and a secretary have quit."People are sending back letters calling us a fraud and telling us we should be ashamed of ourselves, and that's why we lost most of our people. That just makes me more determined to keep going."
He said the organization is not trying to hide the fact that it is a for-profit business, even though the bad publicity has kept it from making a profit thus far.
Many people who had responded to phone solicitations decided not to send in their money, so he had to delay paying for some of the printed materials he had ordered and had to put off scheduled presentations at preschools and day-care centers, he said. Although phone solicitations began in late October, the group didn't do its first presentation until this week.
Salt Lake police had advised people not to donate to Salt Lake CAPS, saying they hadn't been able to find out if it was registered with the state or city. But Sgt. Roy Wasden later told the Deseret News he had since discovered it is a licensed, for-profit business.
The state Department of Social Services issued a press release warning residents about an unnamed for-profit child abuse prevention organization. The release said people should not confuse it with the non-profit Utah Chapter of the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse.
The Salt Lake CAPS acronym can easily confuse people, since the Utah Chapter has set up local volunteer groups called Child Abuse Prevention, or CAP, groups, said Social Services spokeswoman Terry Twitchell.
Twitchell confirmed Thursday that the release concerning the unnamed organization referred to Salt Lake CAPS, although the statement could also apply to any similarly situated for-profit organization.
She said Social Services just wants people to be clear on the for-profit or non-profit nature of organizations they support.
But Boudreaux said that can be a false distinction, because many non-profit charities use more of their donation money for administrative costs than does his company. He said Salt Lake CAPS devotes 12 percent of its revenue to its charitable purpose.
In the company's filing with the state Consumer Protection Division as a charitable organization, Boudreaux's expense listing said 40 percent of revenue goes to solicitors; 10 percent to drivers; 9.5 percent, phones; 16.6 percent, management; and 4.16 percent, rent, said division employee Margaret Langman.
The state division had ordered the company on Dec. 16 to cease and desist from soliciting funds until it had registered under the Charitable Solicitations Act.
Boudreaux said he had registered the company's corporate name in August but hadn't known of the charity registration requirement, and as soon as he found out, he made the filing. On Dec. 20 the division vacated its order.
As far as the division is concerned, the company is in compliance with the laws it administers, said Pat Eyre, division public information officer.
Twitchell said Social Services personnel reviewed the CAPS child abuse prevention materials and found them to be adequate, though not the best they could be.