It is a given that all of us want our church communities to be safe spaces for our children and youth. In light of the new legislation passed in Pennsylvania regarding protection of children, we as a church have an obligation and an opportunity to strengthen our child protection policies and culture. Some churches are already moving ahead with changes to address the new law while others are still trying to determine how to best implement the new requirements.
This new legislation impacts both volunteers and paid staff responsible for caring for children in regularly scheduled program, activity, or service including Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, Christian Education leaders, pastors, church staff, nursery staff, and Christian nurture leaders. Churches are encouraged to send a team of persons to this training including both staff and volunteers.
Franconia Mennonite Conference and Eastern District Conference are joining with Bucks County NOVA to offer a crucial training for churches – “Child Protective Services Training”. This training seminar will be held twice: Wednesday, May 13, 9:30-12:00 noon and Wednesday, May 20, 7-9:30 pm. We will meet at Towamencin Mennonite Church, 1980 Sumneytown Pike, Kulpsville. Register at http://mosaicmennonites.org/rsvp/.
This training will:
- Increase knowledge of who is classified as a mandated reporter and what those responsibilities are under Child Protective Services Law.
- Increase probability of suspecting child abuse when there is “reasonable cause.”
- Increase knowledge of procedure for reporting of child abuse to child protective services.
- Include conversation with other churches regarding best practices.
- Educate and prepare our communities to deal with and prevent child sexual abuse.
- Teach the steps to help prevent abuse, recognize warning signs, and react responsibly when abuse occurs.