Church Safety and Safe Conduct

Church Safety and Safe Conduct

Healthy boundaries are essential to church safety and safe faith communities.  

     It is important to create safe spaces which are bound by covenant and demonstrate  our core Christian values in every congregation. The problem of sexual abuse of children is not someone else's problem. Providing a safe place for all vulnerable populations - of children, youth, and those who are elderly or developmentally vulnerable, and the church leaders who supervise them - is a core value of our mission and ministry.

Scroll down for information on:
     Mandated Reporting
     Sex Offender Resources
     Responsibilities of Church Staff & Volunteers
     Church Safety Resources
     Church Safety Policies
     Active Shooters
     Anti-Bullying
     Behavioral Covenant
     Keeping Children Safe

 

Mandated Reporting

Training for mandated reporters is required under Connecticut and Massachusetts law.
Even though training is not provided by the state of Rhode Island, it would be prudent to undertake the training it recommends in order to address the state’s reporting requirements.

  • Connecticut
    Clergy are mandated reporters under Connecticut law. Mandated reporters are required to make an oral report within12 hours, and a written report within 48 hours. Privileged communications are protected by Connecticut law if made to a “clergyman,” including a minister or priest, in his/her/their professional capacity. Connecticut child reporting laws do not specifically address privileged communications to clergy. This leads to ambiguity as to which law controls (child reporting or protection of privileged communication). 
    Training:  CT.GOV Mandated Reporter Training
    Other Links:
    CT.GOV Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect FAQs
    CT.GOV Report Form for Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect

  • Massachusetts
    Clergy are mandated reporters under Massachusetts law. Mandated reporters are required to immediately make an oral report, followed by a written report to be submitted within 48 hours. Privileged communications are protected by Massachusetts law if made to a “clergyman,” including a minister or priest, in his/her/their professional capacity.
    Training:  Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation
    “A mandated reporter who is professionally licensed by the commonwealth shall complete training to recognize and report suspected child abuse or neglect.” G.L. c. 119, §51A(k).
    Other Links:
    MA DCF’s Guide for Mandated Reporters
    MA.GOV Report Child Abuse or Neglect
     
  • Rhode Island
    Mandated reporting laws apply to “any person.”
    The privilege of communication between clergy and parishioners is denied in situations of child abuse:  Clergy must still report.
    Rhode Island has a dedicated phone line for reporting of child abuse and neglect:
         1-800-RI- CHILD (1-800-742-4453)

    The calls are recorded and may be made anonymously.
    Training:  The RI government does not offer a free training program, but private companies provide training.
    Other links:
    RI Child Protective Services
     
  • All 50 States:  Summary and Links for Mandated Reporting Laws
     

Sex Offender Resources  

Responsibilities as a staff or lay person serving a church

The Southern New England Conference strongly recommends that all  conference churches conduct state and national background checks of all employees and volunteers who have contact with children (i.e. Sunday school teachers, youth group leaders, choir directors, etc).
 

Connecticut: DCF Background Checks

The historic  Connecticut Conference adheres to the Department of Children & Family's Child Protective Services (DCF-CPS) background check.

Massachusetts: iCORI background checks

Massachusetts state law requires all volunteer organizations that provide activities or programs to children to conduct CORI background checks of the volunteers. The law also requires CORI checks any time there is a potential for someone to have unmonitored contact with a child. The historic  Massachusetts Conference adheres to the state's CORI policy established by the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services.

Rhode Island: BCI background checks

In 2017, Rhode Island's General Assembly gave its approval to legislation requiring all adults who seek employment or volunteer opportunities with routine contact with children in churches or religious organizations to submit to a national criminal background check via the state's BCI system. The historic  Rhode Island Conference adheres to the state's BCI model.


Church Safety and Safe Conduct Policies

 

Keeping Children Safe

     Materials from a presentation by Rev. Domenik Ackermann,
     a child abuse prevention trainer with Children's Trust of Massachusetts


 

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