Meet Christy Keating, a former deputy prosecutor with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office who now owns The Heartful Parent and Savvy Parents Safe Kids. Organizations hire her to train their educators, caregivers and parent communities on a variety of parenting topics, including child sexual abuse prevention, consent and healthy boundaries.
Here, she answers questions about her work.
What do you do? I am a speaker, parent coach/educator and sexual abuse prevention expert. … I combine my 17 years as a criminal prosecutor with a specialty in handling sexually violent predator cases with my certifications as a parent coach and positive-discipline educator to help parents everywhere raise healthy, happy, “heartful” kids. In addition to teaching parent and professional workshops, I coach parents one-on-one to help them create more connected families.
How did you get started in that field? I loved my job as a trial lawyer, and I was good at it. But after my first daughter was born 10 years ago, I found myself really struggling with my new identity and grappling with questions about how to balance my professional life with my personal one in a field that is not known for work-life balance.
Once I got my feet under me, as much as any parent does, I found that I loved learning about parenting and helping other parents — and that I was good at that, too! After completing my certification, I opened my coaching practice; I later assumed ownership of Savvy Parents Safe Kids, where I use my expertise to teach parents how to prevent child sexual abuse and teach consent and boundaries.
What’s a typical day like? I don’t have a “typical day” and I love it! Most days, I coach private clients over Zoom, so no one has to drive anywhere. Many evenings I spend teaching positive discipline classes or presenting workshops at schools. In between all that, I write articles, create social media posts and manage my soon-to-launch membership site. As a small-business owner, I’m the marketing, sales, billing, IT and HR departments all rolled into one.
What’s the best part of the job? I love connecting with parents on this really tough, but incredible journey. I do not pretend to have it all figured out; I sometimes struggle just like my clients, but working together to create healthier, happier families feels amazing. I also love helping parents and organizations prevent child sexual abuse and sexual assault before it happens rather than dealing with it after the fact.
What surprises people about what you do? Two things: First, that there really is individualized support for parents out there, and that there are simple tools and skills that really can make parenting easier and more joyful. Second, I think people are surprised at the career transition and reinvention that I went through. It’s a reminder that our skills can translate to many different fields, and just because we’ve been doing one thing for a long time doesn’t mean that’s what we have to do forever.