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Childrenand Youth Workers Core Training
Goals To reaffirm the process to protect the youth worker, the church, and primarily the child or young person To increase awareness of the symptoms and consequences of child abuse To explore the ways abuse may occur and be prevented To consider the foundation principles that underpin the church’s rationale for youth-worker registration To explain the screening and reporting processes
Context Allegations of abuse are becoming more prevalent. Statistically, abuse is a reality, even within our faith movement. Standards must be in place. Protecting our children and youth is not optional. Community of Christ shares its Enduring Principles through all aspects of life. The worth of all persons, blessings of community, pursuit of peace, and responsible choices are components especially pertinent to this life experience.
Those most vulnerable in our society should have the right to fulfill their potential. Everyone has a responsibility to support the care and protection of children. We can promote social justice by living the principles in our child-protection policies. The Child Comes First
But procedures also are there to protect you. They must be taken seriously and adhered to in a robust manner.
A Word about…Yourself This knowledge can affect your life in a personal way. The information can be upsetting. You will meet survivors—in this group. This information confronts our own parenting.
Four Categories of Abuse 1. Neglect The responsible adult fails to provide adequately for various needs: physical, emotional, educational, medical. 2. Emotional/Psychological This includes name calling, ridicule, degradation, destruction of belongings, torture of pet, excessive demands or critism, routine humiliation, the withholding of communication.
3. Physical Physical aggression is directed toward a child by an adult with intent to cause injury. 4. Sexual Abuse Abuse of a child by an adolescent or adult for sexual stimulation. Could be pressuring child to engage in sexual activity, exposure, physical contact, or the display or use of a child in pornography.
What Is Abuse? Inflicting harm, or failing to act to prevent harm to a young person. It may occur immediately or through accumulation over time. Children may be abused in a family, in an institution or community setting, by those who know them, or more rarely by strangers.
Activity Fill in the blanks (small groups)
How Do We Safeguard Our Children? Anyone working with children or young people in any church program (youth leader, Sunday school teacher, camp counselor, etc.) MUST be a registered youth worker. All priesthood must be registered youth workers. Registered youth worker assistants (15–20 years old) will be used only under the supervision of a registered youth worker. Promoting the Enduring Principles will help to create environments conducive to loving relationships.
Fundamental Principles: 1. Selection and screening 2. Education 3. Minimizing opportunity for harm 4. Respect for the child
1. Selection and Screening Youth worker application form Signatures (applicants, parent if under 18 years old, interviewer, mission center president/financial officer) Interview References Six-month affiliation rule Registration is initiated at the congregational level, goes to the mission center, then to legal services at IHQ. It is finalized when entered into the church’s data base and the mission center president is notified.
Richard Hammer’s Five-step Plan • Written application • Personal interview • Institutional references • Six-month affiliation rule • 2-by-2 adults
2. Education RYW must learn the facts and understand them: Why registrations are in place Different types of abuse Ways to protect children from potential abusers How to respond to reports of past or current abuse i.e., this course!
Education also Provides Protection for Our Youth Leaders • Gives them permission to act appropriately • Gives permission to ask for support/another person • Protects them from potential allegations
A Word about the Children… It is not our responsibility to educate children about child abuse; it is our responsibility to help children understand God’s love for them as individuals, teach them to know they are an important part of our community, and help them feel church is a safe place. Think about how you can do this practically in your camp/vacation school/activity day, etc.
3. Minimizing Opportunity for Harm Adhere to the 2-by-2 rule (Youth worker assistants never can be alone with a child) Visual 1:1 Prepare and plan
4. Respect for the Child Respect the child’s privacy Dress appropriately Constructive discipline Appropriate touching
ReportingIf a child or young person discloses to you, you should: Stay alert. Do not overreact, do not panic, or the child may shut down. Try to ask open-ended questions. Do not offer confidentiality. Disclosures may come from the activity or home. You are a mandatory reporter. Report to activity director and discuss how you will report to the appropriate authority. Directors should separate the accused abuser from the activity—not in 1:1 environment (may need to go home) and provide the abused with comfort to the level required. You can remain anonymous in this process.
The privilege of being a youth worker brings responsibilities… and those responsibilities can be an expression of the peace and justice principles we try to live by. Live out our mission!