First Ever Religious Institution-Focused Training in Child Abuse Prevention
(Harrisburg, PA) – Training spotlights child protection in specific religious settings.
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance
(PFSA), the state leader in child protection and Mandated Reporter Training (MRT), now offers religious-based institutions specialized training materials for their mandated reporters of child abuse. PFSA holds the statewide contract from the PA Department of Human Services to provide no-cost, face-to-face MRT in the recognition and reporting of suspected child abuse. PFSA developed these new, additional training materials in consultation with religious-affiliated
groups to better meet their specific training needs.
“PFSA is proud to take the lead in providing materials that focus on the needs of religious-based institutions when it comes to training their mandated reporters how to recognize and report suspected child abuse,” said Angela Liddle, president and CEO of PFSA. “Until now, no recognized mandated reporter training entity in Pennsylvania offered this kind of targeted instruction that touches on issues important to religious-based agencies.”
The newly developed scenario-based curriculum grew from a request received by PFSA’s
Training Director Haven Evans from a leader in a western Pennsylvania Christian denomination, Presbytery of Kiskiminetas.
“After further study, we found that religious leaders in al denominations want to provide the
very best child abuse prevention training they can to their mandated reporters – those individuals and some volunteers who are required under Pennsylvania law to report suspected child abuse to ChildLine, the state’s 24/7 reporting hotline,” noted Evans. “Our new tailored training materials take into account the specific concerns religious-based groups have about their interactions with children. They are committed to protecting children who worship, participate in youth activities, enroll in child care, and attend classes in their religious programs. PFSA stands ready to help them.”
Rev. Kathy Nice of the Presbytery of Kiskiminetas said, “It has been challenging to get elders and deacons to attend mandated reporter training, and the normal comment was, ‘This doesn’t apply to us.’ It does apply to the church, so with the church-specific examples, folks are able to recognize situations where each of them might be called to report child abuse. The church-specific examples encourage conversation about the work we do within ministry contexts and how we can be caring for God’s children better.”
Pennsylvania has witnessed a number of high profile criminal cases involving child sexual abuse by clergy and child abuse perpetrated in religious institutions. These new training materials are designed to help congregations and religious leaders better understand their legal obligations to protect children and to develop policies and procedures that better ensure the safety of children in their care.
Anyone who suspects child abuse is urged to make a report to ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.
To schedule a training session with PFSA, or to make a donation, visit www.pa-fsa.org, or call 1-800-448-4906.
Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance prevents child abuse and protects children from harm by
helping parents learn positive parenting techniques, educating professionals and volunteers who work with children to recognize and report child abuse, and helping community members learn how they can play a positive role in keeping children safe. To learn more about our
programs, schedule a training, or make a donation, please visit pa-fsa.org, or call 800-448-4906.