Our children, our future, it’s up to us to nurture and protect them. Child abuse prevention begins at home. Parents and primary caregivers play a significant role; protective factors in a child’s environment can prevent abuse, and can also mitigate its effects. If you know firsthand, or have ever seen close-up the devastating effects of abuse, you know how valuable prevention efforts are!
Our ministry partner, Dove’s Nest, has created a new resource, A Parenting for Prevention Study Guide, which is available on their website, along with many other abuse prevention resources for churches. Many CRC congregations have benefited from training events and online resources available through Dove’s Nest. We encourage this home/church partnership approach to keeping our children free from abuse.
Dove’s Nest is a key partner with Safe Church in offering licensed copies of the Circle of Grace program, a premiere safe environment program for children and youth. Circle of Grace includes letters with information for parents, training for teachers, and easy to follow lessons, 2-4 for each age group k-12, which can supplement any church school, or GEMS or Cadettes, program at your church.
In addition, Safe Church is also available for consultation and to offer assistance in implementing the program as we are able. Feedback from this program has been overwhelmingly positive! We’re pleased to be able to offer this opportunity, with our partner Dove’s Nest, for the entire church community to address the issue of child abuse prevention.
Child Abuse Prevention Month is also a good time to remind pastors that they are mandated reporters in most states. That means that if there is any reason to suspect child abuse or neglect, pastors are legally mandated to report it to the appropriate authorities. Not reporting suspected abuse is a criminal offense, unconscionably increasing the risk for children and also putting the church and the pastor at risk of legal liability. To report, in Canada and the U.S. 24/7 call:1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
Note: In Canada, Child Abuse Prevention Month is in October. Any month is a good month to prevent child abuse. . . it’s up to us!
The following additional resources are also available for Child Abuse Prevention:
- From the U.S. Government: Supporting Strong and Thriving Families
- Darkness 2 Light: Working toward a world free of child sexual abuse where adults have the courage to protect kids. Offering education and advocacy in communities.
- From Safe Communities: Child sexual abuse is not ok! Resources include workshops, events, survivor retreats, a regular blog and more.
- From CRC Safe Church Ministry: Bulletin insert, webinar, and suggested resources.
What could your church do to acknowledge Child Abuse Prevention Month?