The religious community can play a critical role in community-based prevention efforts. Religious institutions can provide advocacy for changes in the political arena. Spiritual counselors can address critical issues confronting victims and their families. Working in coordination with local department of human services staff or Children’s Trust Fund prevention councils, religious congregations can develop and implement programs to prevent child maltreatment.
Staff from the local child protection agency, battered women’s shelter, sexual violence center, medical facility, or school may be able to assist religious community efforts. Members of a congregation may also be able to provide training and expertise for particular projects. Additional support and assistance can be secured through the Kent County Council of the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.
With-in Your Congregation
- Provide basic education about child abuse and neglect to congregation members.
- Establish and strengthen the family worship day with special liturgical, musical, and message selections.
- Feature worship services and study groups which focus on religious teachings which explore themes of role of children in society, violence, sex role stereotypes, suffering, and forgiveness.
- Provide speakers for youth group meetings and retreats on child maltreatment and its prevention — and on conflict resolution skills.
- Discuss the spare the rod; spoil the child teachings in an adult Bible study class.
- Develop a discipline policy to guide religious educators.
- Provide parenting training and parent-child workshops on communications and family life.
- Organize extended family support groups of congregation members and non-members.
- Create inter-generational programming of any type.
- Initiate a mentor program for all teens as they go through a congregation’s confirmation process.
- Develop a program to train all congregations members to more fully participate in the churches care and outreach efforts.
- Place a resource rack of agency brochures and new-parent information in the building entry-way.
- Pray for the children and families of our communities, nation and world.
- Provide facilities and support systems for community groups which promote family and child welfare, such as Parents Anonymous and Early Childhood Family Education.
- Initiate a Parents Night Out program.
- Support and recruit foster parents. Be a foster parent.
- Support and recruit parents who will adopt hard to place children.