Child Safety & Protection
An Alliance Priority
The Alliance firmly believes that children are especially close to God’s heart. In Matthew 18:5-6, Jesus clearly expresses his care for the youngest among us. The Alliance, a Christian, evangelical missions denomination, considers it the sacred responsibility of every person associated with the organization to protect, care for, and nurture the children God has graciously placed under its care. We are committed to promptly address every reported allegation of child abuse that may arise in association with our work overseas and to provide helpful resources to churches and districts that may deal with such allegations in the United States. Passionately committed to make every effort to prevent children from experiencing any form of abuse, The Alliance has developed the following child safety policies, procedures, and abuse prevention training.
Keeping Children Safe Video
The Alliance has embraced the core value of keeping missionary families together whenever possible; therefore, the decision about MK (missionary kid) education is made by parents who can choose between several options, including international or local schools, home schooling, and schools with boarding programs. In each case, the decision where to attend is made not by the mission but by parents and students.
Communications to and from schools between parents and students is open; if desired, students can maintain daily contact with their parents; cell phones and e-mail are often used. Parents can also monitor the day-to-day well-being of their children and readily consult with those entrusted with their children’s care.
When a boarding program is chosen, The Alliance recommends that parents opt for schools whose boarding programs are fully accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International.
Safety and Protection Publications and Policies
Safe Place is published by The Alliance to assist local church (and mission field) leaders to create policies that ensure safe people minister in safe places through safe programs. Such policies enable Alliance workers to properly focus, without distraction, on their God-given mission to go and make healthy disciples of children, youth, and adults.
True ministry cannot take place when the well-being of children and youth is not first addressed. Safe Place offers guidelines that enable church and mission leaders to establish plans that provide a hedge of safety for both children and their adult leaders in the church (and mission) setting. Such safeguards are not a 100-percent guarantee that accidents or abuse will not occur; however, they greatly reduce the risk of such occurrences. Purchase Safe Place The Alliance Store.
International Ministries Child Safety Policies and Procedures Manual
Well-defined policies regarding child safety and The Alliance response to allegations of abuse are in place. The Alliance Board of Directors has adopted International Ministries Child Safety Policies and Procedures based on best practice standards.
The following policies and procedures were specifically written to address, in a comprehensive manner, child safety and protection on the mission field.
- Definitions of abuse
- Screening of all field personnel who interact with children
- A code of conduct to sign (for every adult who interacts with children)
- Child care guidelines
- Child safety training for adults (including parents) and children
- Child abuse response, including reporting, investigation procedures, discipline processes, and follow-up procedures
Download Child Safety Policies and Procedures Manual (PDF document)
Uniform Policy on Discipline, Restoration, and Appeal
The Alliance has amended its Uniform Policy on Discipline, Restoration, and Appeal (located E-8 of the Manual of The Christian and Missionary Alliance) to effectively address the discipline of those proven to have breached Alliance child safety policies. Through the Uniform Policy, The Alliance has adopted a zero-tolerance stance toward those who have been found to have breached The Alliance policy on sexual abuse of either a child or a vulnerable adult.
National Office Abuse Reporting Process
The Alliance Board of Directors has adopted the National Office Abuse Reporting Process found in Exhibit A of the Child Safety Policies and Procedures Manual to manage international child abuse accusations against international workers or volunteers. Domestic claims of abuse are addressed in accordance with U.S. state laws and The Alliance Uniform Policy on Discipline along with guidance from the Safe Place publication.
Therapy Guidelines have been developed, as directed by the Sensitive Issues Consultative Group (a standing committee appointed by the Board of Directors), to clarify how the National Office will manage the care of those who have experienced abuse by international workers or volunteers.
Screening, Training, and Continuing Education
- International worker training, personality assessments, psychological evaluations, background checks, and other stringent screening procedures have been implemented to help ensure that Alliance international workers are qualified to serve in their various roles.
- The Alliance has created a child protection training program to help ensure that no child in its care will suffer abuse. Every overseas Alliance international worker is required to attend this training.
- Ongoing, regular training and continuing education in child safety and protection are an Alliance priority.
The Alliance encourages every official worker to take seriously the responsibility to report any suspension or allegation of child abuse to the appropriate authority in their state. In conjunction with the steps required by the Uniform Policy on Discipline, districts, churches and official workers should, at a minimum, follow the respective state laws and report to local authorities when there is knowledge or suspicion of abuse. A useful website, www.childwelfare.gov can assist with understanding applicable state law.
The Alliance requires every international worker to report any and every suspicion of child abuse, utilizing the confidential Child Abuse or Neglect Reporting Form found in Exhibit B of the Child Safety Policies and Procedures Manual.
Reporters of current suspicions are to report to the administrative leaders as defined in the Policy. If circumstances create a hesitancy to report to the level required in the Policy, the reporter may report to any administrative leader or, if necessary, an independent advocate.
For historical cases, a reporter may choose from any of the leaders or advocates listed below by reporting either in writing (including e-mail if so desired understanding the inherent risk of this method) using the Reporting Form or by contacting the leader/advocate by phone, who will complete the Reporting Form.
Reporters can select from among qualified persons (as appropriate) to whom they choose to report, including:
- Alliance administrative leaders
- International Ministries (IM) Field Director
- IM Regional Director
- Assistant Vice President for IM
- Vice President for IM
- Independent advocates
- Member Care Representative
- Chairperson of the Sensitive Issues Consultative Group
- John A. Thomas
- 724 Front St.
- Suite 600
- Evanston, WY 82930
- Phone: (307) 789-7876
- Child Safety & Protection, Reporting Abuse, International, Independent advocates, Independent Contact for Receiving Reports
- Ms. Patricia A. Hendrix
- 910 Willowbrook Drive SE, #1, Huntsville, AL 35802
- Cell: (407) 304-8476
Independent Input and Review
The Board of Directors has tasked the Sensitive Issues Consultative Group (SICG) to assist churches and mission fields in addressing sensitive issues such as child abuse (both historical and current). The SICG is comprised of Alliance and non-Alliance professional counselors and caregivers proficient in psychological and spiritual counseling. When historical claims made by former mission children are confirmed and referred to SICG, the group will manage therapy for these abuse victims based on the Therapy Guidelines. SICG also acts as an independent advocate to the Board of Directors on child safety and protection issues.
The Alliance is also part of the Child Safety and Protection Network (CSPN) that is comprised of more than 50 mission agencies, denominations, and international schools who have worked together to adopt and implement child safety and protection Best Practice Standards. CSPN was also established to provide a vehicle for these entities to collaborate and share resources when addressing child safety issues and needs. The Alliance is a full member of CSPN; it has been independently reviewed by this organization and has implemented the key elements of the Best Practice Standards.
Download Best Practice Standards (PDF document)
Investigations of International Allegations
- The Alliance will investigate every allegation of abuse (whether current or historical) by an international worker or volunteer.
- Investigators within The Alliance have been expressly trained in the area of abuse investigations.
- Every investigatory team will include an independent observer to ensure a comprehensive investigation takes place that includes full compliance with the policies and procedures The Alliance has put into place.
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