The U.S. Administration for Children & Families estimates that 678,000 children are victims of abuse and neglect every year. It takes a lot of spiritual, mental, and sometimes physical healing for children to surmount the trauma caused by abuse and neglect. Many children require long-term support to overcome abuse and neglect. However, early intervention makes a world of difference!
The National Office has taken a proactive approach to make prevention and early intervention practical with a new Bridge program entitled Child Abuse & Neglect: Reporting and Prevention. This two-step program provides both the general guidelines and the definitions of mandated reporting, child abuse, and neglect. It also provides insights for warning signs and offers tools for best practices to help prevent child abuse and neglect. In this training, Michael Buttacy (CEO of Ozarks Teen Challenge – adolescent boy’s center) and Cindy Zello (Executive Director of Beauty for Ashes Women & Children’s Home) lead an engaging discussion that highlights useful advice for the ATC context.
As followers of Christ, we are called to be His ambassadors to everyone we encounter (2 Cor. 5:20). While this course outlines the legal requirements for reporting and preventing child abuse, we at Adult & Teen Challenge want to challenge ATC personnel to meet a higher standard because God cares deeply about how we treat every child we encounter, whether in person or their story is reported to us.
The content in Child Abuse & Neglect: Reporting and Prevention is applicable for adult and adolescent centers. This training is designed to give learners an in-depth look at cultivating appropriate policies to ensure ATC personnel meet the higher standard Scripture teaches. It also bolsters current center policies to comply with state regulations. The goals for this program include providing quality care for students, equipping ATC staff with necessary tools to minister effectively as mandated reporters, and communicate the knowledge necessary to create a safety net against potential legal liabilities.
If you or other persons at your center would like to enroll in Child Abuse & Neglect: Reporting and Prevention, it is available in the Bridge Learning Library under the Human Resources category.
 National annual child abuse statistics cited from U.S. Administration for Children & Families, Child Maltreatment 2018. This data, released annually, is the most current federal data available. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/research-data-technology/statistics-research/child-maltreatment