Church leaders who are responsible for programs that serve youth are an integral part of God's plan to prevent abuse that may happen within or through church programs. By virtue of building trusting relationships with the children in their care, these leaders are also a vital part of the rescue team - it is crucial that they understand how to recognize, respond, and report; observed, disclosed, or suspected abuse of any child in their care, whether the abuse allegedly occurred within the church or outside of the church. In fact, clergy and youth program leaders are considered mandated reporters in most states and may be subject to penalties for failure to report to law enforcement or their local child welfare agency.
We need church leaders who are responsible for children, to actively participate in the development and implementation of child sexual abuse prevention policies and procedures and ensure all staff and volunteers who serve youth are trained and monitored. Youth program leaders include children's pastors, youth pastors, heads of school, missions directors, camp directors, and any other person who has direct or indirect oversight of child or youth-serving programs.
We encourage you to learn more about preventing abuse as well as recognizing the signs of abuse in children and taking bold action.