The statistics are shocking: in the US, a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds. The Department of Health and Human Services says 3.3 million child abuse reports and allegations were made involving an estimated 6 million children in 2009 alone. Christianity proclaims justice and hope for all who are victimized; the church is called to protect God’s children and restore hope to those who are abused.
There are many ways the church can respond to varied adverse conditions of children, not the least of which is when children are victims of abuse. Congregations are encouraged to observe Child Abuse Prevention Month during the month of April. A list of 10 things you can do to help prevent child abuse is online at www.brethren.org/childprotection/month.html , along with worship resources and suggestions for how to make your congregation a safe place for people to share life’s difficult situations.
Child Abuse Prevention Month is also a good time for congregations to develop a child protection policy or review and update their existing one. To help your congregation learn more about child abuse and create a policy to protect children in your care, information and sample policies are available at www.brethren.org/childprotection/resources.html . Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-323-8039 ext. 302 for more information or assistance with creating a child protection policy.
— Kim Ebersole is director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries for the Church of the Brethren.