April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. We’ve talked before about the four types of abuse and how to spot them. Today I want to share with you ways to become informed about the issue, stay alert to the signs, and what to do if you suspect abuse.
- Get Informed
There are tons of sites with valuable information to share with your team. One of the best is the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Administration for Children & Families’ Child Welfare Information Gateway. Find more information about the definitions of child abuse and neglect, risk and protective factors for child abuse, how many children are abused, and the consequences of child abuse and neglect.
- Stay Alert
Red flags usually appear when abuse occurs. Make sure your team understands the warning signs of abuse. Also make sure to read Sue Brage’s the four do’s and don’ts for safety awareness. She explains the importance of having a secure check-in/check-out system in place and why volunteer training is a must.
- Be Prepared
If a member of your team suspects a child is being abused, be ready to help them report the issue. Again, the Child Welfare Information Gateway gives advice on responding to child abuse and neglect. If a case of abuse occurs within a family in your ministry, make sure to read this PDF on helping children heal from trauma.
As ministry leaders, it’s so important to take steps to safeguard our kids. I would encourage all of you to do a background screening on every one of your volunteers, present and future. Check out this interview I did with Melissa Towers, who is the Adult and Church Leadership Product Manager for Group. She explains that screening your volunteers is absolutely necessary.
If you’re interested in background checks and screenings, I’d recommend Shepherd’s Watch from Group. Screenings are affordable and accurate, and they will help keep your families safe.
Is your ministry doing anything for Child Abuse Awareness Month? What steps have you taken to keep your kids safe? Let us know in the comment section below!
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