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Church Culture For Ministry Leaders

Evangelical Council for Abuse Prevention Develops Child Safety Standards for Ministries

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The Evangelical Council for Abuse Prevention (ECAP) has developed a new set of standards to help ministries protect children in their care.

The standards, which are available for public review and comment through April 30 here, were formulated by a team of experts and ministry practitioners and reviewed by a team of attorneys, ECAP said.

“Our aim is to honor the name of Christ by equipping and educating ministry leaders to protect the vulnerable in their care,” said Jeff Dalrymple, executive director of ECAP. “This is a matter of biblical stewardship, and we want to see Christian schools, churches, and ministries become safe places for our little ones to hear the gospel, grow as disciples of Christ, and be protected from harm.”

The ECAP standards address issues of organizational governance, volunteer and employee screening and training and how to respond to a variety of circumstances, with suggestions for best practices.

“ECAP’s standards and the rest of its work is ground-breaking and extremely important for churches and other ministries seeking to protect children and uphold high standards,” said Sally Wagenmaker, an attorney serving as the organization’s general counsel, who said the standards will help provide improved child safety and better risk management for ministries.

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The standards will serve as the basis for an accreditation program ECAP has developed in partnership with the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), an organization representing 25,000 Christian schools in 108 countries serving more than 5.5 million students. The standards and accreditation program will give Christian organizations resources to help prevent abuse and inform an appropriate response when an incident occurs, they said.

“All those interested in the safety and well-being of children in the care of evangelical ministries are encouraged to carefully review the standards and offer suggestions for improvements, additions, and other thoughtful feedback,” Dalrymple said. “We are especially interested in receiving the input of frontline ministry workers and leaders.”

The Evangelical Council for Abuse Prevention was formed as a national organization in June 2019 in response to a growing awareness of the problem of sexual abuse within evangelical churches and ministries. ECAP seeks to offer a proactive, comprehensive solution for protecting children and the vulnerable from abuse within evangelical ministries, and offers accreditation to ministries that commit to operate according to standards for addressing and preventing abuse of children in their care.

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Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.