Second Chances Month!
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Thank you for visiting our Child Abuse resource page. For additional information and resources, please also check our Human Trafficking and Adoption/Foster Care pages, both of which contain helpful materials for working with children in difficult situations.
In the Bible, Jesus is clear about his love for children and stern in his warning to those who would hinder them from spiritual development (see Luke 18:16, Matthew 19:14, Matthew 18:5-6). Yet, society is fraught with evidence of departure from His commands as children are traumatized and mistreated. There are over 400,000 in the foster care system. Thousands of others grow up with mental health or substance abuse problems as a result of abuse that was never discovered or reported. U.S. Missions is actively engaged in ministry to these precious young souls through adoption and foster care ministries, prison chaplaincy, human trafficking prevention and rescue, substance abuse restoration, and disabilities ministry--but there is still much to be done. We present these recommended resources as an aid to increasing awareness of the problem of child abuse and an encouragement to churches to partner in preventing it.
Drinking during pregnancy is a serious form of child abuse with long-term implications for health, success in school, and future likelihood of social problems or even incarceration. Get more information at www.alcoholbabies.com and equip your congregation to get the word out to young women in your community about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy.
America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being - Comprehensive compilation from the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. Includes information on social environment, economic circumstances, health, physical environment, safety, behavior, and education issues concerning America's children.
ChildHelp - Statistical infographic and links to additional information.
Rev. Pebbles Thompson, Project Ignite Light
Jay Mooney, COMPACT family services
GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) equips churches for training staff, recognizing problems, responding to allegations, and much more. Their article, "What Would Walther Do? Applying Law & Gospel to Victims and Perpetrators of Child Sexual Abuse," offers helpful insight to pastors who find themselves in the difficult position of pastoring both victims and perpetrators of abuse.
New video from AG Financial: "How to Deal with Sexual Misconduct in Your Church" - Prevention, legal issues, how to deal with media following an incident, and more.
From the CRC, "Abuse Awareness: First Steps and What to Expect" - basic primer on abuse in the church context.
"7 Ways to Welcome Abuse Survivors in Our Churches" - article acknowledges that the church has not always done this well, sometimes empowering the offender more than the victim, sometimes unintentionally triggering traumatic memories through casual comments, and offers ways to do better.
Is a friendly, "everybody welcome" church an open invitation to pedophiles to look for further opportunities to abuse children? What constitutes true repentance, and how should a repentant offender be welcomed into the life of the church? This insightful blog post, "Sex Offenders in the Pews," explores these questions.
How can a faith community reach out to the truly repentant who have been stigmatized for past offenses while maintaining a commitment to keep children safe? Dove's Nest discusses this difficult question.
From the National Association for Christian Recovery: "Things A Church Can Do" - From sensitivity on holidays to preventive education to legal obligations, this site will point you in the right direction for addressing the issue of abuse in your church.
From the Christian Reformed Church webinar archives: "The Church's Role in Ending Child Sexual Abuse" - covers prevention strategies, the importance of listening and believing children if they report something suspicious, and the need for a safe place for healing ministry.
"Reducing Risk--Protecting Children and Volunteers" - Click here for an informative piece by Rollie Dimos, Director of Internal Audit for the Assemblies of God, on procedures to prevent problems in your church's children's ministry.
"Think First & Stay Safe" - materials from Child Lures Prevention tailored for use by faith-based organizations,
God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies - Simply written and designed for Christian families to discuss sensitive topics with their children in the larger context of God's creation. (Available on Amazon.)
"How the Church Can Respond to Sexual Abuse": In this article in Vital, Butch Frey, Member Care Coordinator for Assemblies of God World Missions, offers advice for Christians who find themselves listening to a victim's story as part of a counseling relationship or friendship.
Safe Families: Equipping churches to care for families in crisis, often preventing abuse before it happens.
Protecting Children Foundation: Nationally recognized programs to educate adults on how to recognize, react, and prevent child abuse.
The Kanakuk Child Protection Plan Seminar: Developed by a senior risk management consultant, this program equips churches to be proactive about the realities of abuse and put a framework in place for preventing it.
Moody Bible Institute faculty member Dr. Andrew Schmutzer offers a variety of insightful resources on the complex issue of sexual abuse. His book, The Long Journey Home: Understanding and Ministering to the Sexually Abused, is a thorough study and guide for Christian leaders, counselors, social workers, and survivors. Download his article, "Sexual Abuse and Spiritual Formation," here.
Project Ignite Light - Schedule a presentation and find out how your church can get started "Sharing Light in the Darkness of Child Abuse."
Safe Church: Based on a pilot program by Samaritan Counseling Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, this training provides resources for developing a safe church environment, responding to allegations of abuse, prevention training, and more.
Resources from the Children's Ministry department of the Assemblies of God: helping at-risk children
Article from Vital magazine - how a couple's vision for a camp for foster children turned into a nationwide camping program, giving kids who have experienced trauma and abuse the chance to build relationships, have fun, and learn about Christ at Royal Family Kids Camps.
Blog post - "Understanding and Supporting Survivors of Trauma" - ways churches can encourage trauma victims in their healing journey as opposed to unintentionally making the trauma worse by reacting wrongly.
Most state laws list clergy and church youth workers as mandated reporters of suspected child abuse. Search child protective services at your state's .gov website to make sure you know the law. Most states offer online training for mandated reporters, or you may want to host a training at your church.
When a family experiences crisis, the possibility of abuse increases. Many communities offer a crisis nursery to provide short-term care for children whose families find themselves in a situation, such as an unexpected hospital stay or a job loss, where they are not sure they will be able to provide for the well-being of their children. Search "crisis nursery" and your state name to find locations near you. One example is Isabel's House Crisis Nursery of the Ozarks in Springfield, Missouri. These facilities are generally not connected with the foster care system, and parents retain control of decisions affecting their child.
Pastor Theresa Allen - Abused as a child and abandoned by an abusive husband, Pastor Theresa clung to a simple knowledge that somehow, Jesus loved her. Now a credentialed AG minister, she shares her story and encourages others through her blog and her book, My Life of Grace (see Resource page).
Together We Heal - Helping those who suffer from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse find guidance and healing, providing a safe forum for sharing and learning, and helping to expose sexual predators and their methods.
Bikers Against Child Abuse - This group works with a child's caregiver and social services network to help provide a sense of belonging and safety for children who have suffered abuse. For a personal story of how they help, read "Bikers Against Child Abuse Makes Victims Feel Safe."
Movie: Spotlight - Based on the Boston Globe investigation of the abuse scandal involving Catholic clergy, Spotlight captured this year's Best Picture award. For reviews, see "Why Every Church Leader Should Watch Spotlight," from the CRCNA blog, and "Spotlight" from Christianity Today.
The Hope of Survivors - Resources and information for victims of clergy abuse. Primarily designed for women experiencing abuse at the hands of a pastor, this site also offers helpful insight into vulnerability that may happen as a result of child abuse. Offers resources for spouses of the abused as well.
ChildHelp - Comprehensive, informative site with resources for prevention, intervention, and treatment.
Safe Haven Laws provide a safe, legal option for families or new mothers who find themselves overwhelmed with the responsibility of caring for an infant. Parents may voluntarily relinquish their rights by taking the child to an approved Safe Haven provider, usually a law enforcement or medical facility. Details, including ages of infants that may be relinquished and non-custodial parent rights, vary by state.
Darkness to Light: With a mission of empowering people to prevent child sexual abuse, this organization provides resources and prevention training in addition to engaging in advocacy for child-related issues.
Mothers of Sexually Abused Children website: Comprehensive and compassionately presented, this site offers a place for mothers to interact with others who share their experience of parenting a child who has been through abuse. Covers legal questions, health, psychological, and many other concerns. Helps with difficult questions such as what to do if the offender is the mother's intimate partner or a sibling.
Victim Services in Rural Law Enforcement: U.S. Department of Justice/Office of Victims of Crime publication gives an overview of the programs created by 17 grant recipients for assisting rural crime victims.
Being proactive about the challenges of parenting can help prevent many problems before they start. Take advantage of parenting tips and caring networks offered by organizations like Hand in Hand Parenting.
Jacob's House at Thunder Ranch - This private placement Christian children's home in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks provides refuge, love, and life instruction for children displaced by crisis.
From the Education Law Center - Research report, "Unlocking the Door to Learning: Trauma-Informed Classrooms & Transformational Schools" - Comprehensive discussion of the effects of trauma on a child's ability to learn, including behaviors that may be misinterpreted as defiance or lack of ability unless educators are trained to recognize them, and suggestions for creating and implementing trauma-informed practices.
KidSafe Foundation - Personal Safety Education: Education for children, parents, and professionals to protect children from sexual abuse, bullying, and internet dangers.
From the We Are Teachers blog - "10 Things About Childhood Trauma Every Teacher Needs to Know"
Interview by Education Weekly: "To Reach Struggling Students, Schools Need to Be More Trauma-Sensitive" - Combination book review and interview with author Susan E. Craig of Trauma-Sensitive Schools: Learning Communities Transforming Children's Lives," making the case that misbehavior is often due to trauma and cannot be dealt with in ways typically taught in teacher training. Offers suggestions for community involvement in trauma-aware educational practices.
Bee Friendly Boot Camp - digital program to help elementary schools build a safe, friendly environment.
Safe@Last personal safety curriculum for K-6th grade
"Speak Up Be Safe" from ChildHelp - Delivered in an online format, this program provides tools to help educators increase their awareness and help their students build a network of safe contacts.
"Think First & Stay Safe" from Child Lures Prevention - Developmentally appropriate curriculum for teaching personal safety, digital citizenship, drug resistance, and bullying prevention.
Rachel's Challenge - Created by the family of Columbine High School shooting victim Rachel Scott, this nonprofit provides resources for parents and schools to help create a culture of kindness and respond to bullying problems in the lives of their children.