SAFE CHURCH, SAFE COMMUNITIES IN THE DIOCESE OF EASTON
In 2021, the Episcopal Church introduced Safe Church, Safe Communities as an enhanced and expanded update to Safeguarding God’s Children. The new program not only incorporates additional topics surrounding safeguarding children but also includes safe practices for vulnerable adults. In addition, new modules are available that provide theological background and information to assist organizations with the implementation of the new Safe Church program.
PRAESIDIUM ACADEMY – NEW EDUCATION PLATFORM:
Safe Church Safe Communities training modules are offered online through Praesidium Academy. With Praesidium, Learners are able to take classes online at their leisure and pull their transcript to help track their progress. Parish and Diocesan Administrators have various helpful reporting tools through Praesidium to assist in monitoring and documenting compliance with training requirements for the Learners within their respective parishes.
DIOCESAN SAFE CHURCH, SAFE COMMUNITIES POLICY INTEGRATION:
The National Episcopal Church has provided model policies for the new Safe Church, Safe Communities program that dioceses can use as a base in structuring their own individual policies. As such, the Diocese of Easton’s Safeguarding God’s Children Episcopal Diocese of Easton Policies for the Protection of Children and Youth from Abuse dated September 1, 2017 is in the process of being revised in order to integrate with the new model policies provided by the national church. The Diocesan Safe Church Safe Communities revised policies are projected to be completed and approved by the fall of 2022. Parishes will be notified as soon as the new policy is available.
DIRECTIONS FOR PARISHES – SAFE CHURCH TRANSITION:
Safe Church, Safe Communities replaces the former Safeguarding God’s Children program. The online platform on which the program is offered and administered has also changed from Armatus to Praesidium Academy. In order to accurately migrate Learners and Administrators into the new program, each parish will need to begin by assigning a designated individual as their Safe Church Administrator. By assigning an Administrator, each parish will be able to effectively set-up Learners and monitor compliance with the established policies. The Administrator will also help ensure that each Learner within a parish is comfortable with the new platform and the different requirements based on their role, involvement and activity.
Phase I: Assigning a Safe Church Administrator:
Each parish/organization’s Rector (or equivalent) must select and approve a Safe Church Administrator. Familiarity with the former program, Safeguarding God’s Children, will be beneficial in transitioning to the new Safe Church program.
A Parish Safe Church Administrator will be expected, at minimum, to:
- Maintain current certification of Safe Church Safe Communities policies; meaning, the Administrator remains current on all required training;
- Be able to identify and onboard all individuals within the respective parish/organization who are required to be certified under the Safe Church Safe Communities policies;
- Maintain accurate designations for each Learner based on their current activities within the parish/organization – for example, if a Sunday School teacher is elected to the vestry, that individual’s screening and training requirements will need to be updated accordingly in Praesidium;
- Monitor and document compliance with Safe Church policies.
The Diocesan Safe Church Administrators, Elizabeth Phillips and Joanne Fisher, will provide the newly assigned parish/organization’s Safe Church Administrators with appropriate training for their roles. Please know that with the use of Praesidium Academy, monitoring and documenting Learners’ progress is easily accessible.
The assigned Safe Church Administrator should contact Elizabeth Phillips or Joanne Fisher to:
- Obtain their parish/organization’s unique registration code;
- Be designated as an “Administrator” in Praesidium;
- Get a quick “tutorial” on onboarding and managing Learners.
Notes & Links:
- Policy Manual (2020-2022) currently under revision
- Background Checks
- List of Those Who Completed Online Courses Prior to Summer 2022 (in line with the Pandemic Revisions, March 2020-January 2022)
- List of Those Who Completed the In-Person Training Course Prior to Covid (Safeguarding God’s Children in the Diocese of Easton, August 1, 2017 to March 2020).
- Barriers to Disclosure and How to Listen When a Child Discloses
- Parent and Child Training Program: “Empower Me”: Training Summary and Registration Form
- Checklist of Possible Indicators of Abuse
Safe Church Links
Almighty God, heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children: Give us calm strength and patient wisdom as we bring them up, that we may teach them to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.