What is Safe Church Training?
ECCT’s Safe Church Training includes an online course followed by a 3-hour live session on Zoom. New online courses are designed to reflect whether you have previously participated in SCT, whether you currently have oversight responsibilities for events, programs, or others engaged in ministry, and ministerial roles. This training is grounded in our call to seek and serve Christ in all persons and respect the dignity of every human being. It offers an opportunity to increase and enhance our ability to live out our Baptismal Covenant within our communities of faith and in the world beyond.
Who needs to take Safe Church Training?
- Appendix A of the Model Policies for the Protection of Children and Youth and the Model Policies for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults is a table outlining who should attend Safe Church Training and which modules they should take. Appendix A was generated by The Episcopal Church and applies to all Episcopalians in The Episcopal Church.
How long is the Safe Church Training?
The Episcopal Church in CT (ECCT) provides several types of Safe Church Training, each with different requirements for participants. Comprehensive trainings take between four and a half and six and a half hours to complete and are done once. Every three years after a person completes the comprehensive training, they complete a three-hour recertification training.
- Comprehensive hybrid (virtual only): online self-paced learning modules accompanied by a three-hour synchronous Zoom session. Online work takes between 1.25 and 3.5 hours to complete, depending on the number of assigned modules.
- Comprehensive hybrid (online modules and in person live discussion): online self-paced learning modules and a three-hour in-person live discussion. Online work takes between 1.25 and 3.5 hours to complete, depending on the number of assigned modules.
- Comprehensive In person only: this training runs from 9am to 4pm on Saturdays (lunch included) or 6pm to 9pm on two consecutive weeknights (dinner included) and is facilitated in either English or Spanish. No online components are required for this training.
- Recertification trainings: offered virtually only, with participants attending a three-hour synchronous Zoom session. No online components are required for this training.
I’ve already done child protection work for my job/other volunteer work. What distinguishes Safe Church from other child protection programs?
- The Safe Church Training Program is built on theological foundations laid out in our baptismal covenant: to love and care for each other as we deepen our relationships with God, ourselves, and others and participate in God’s mission in the world.
How often do I need to take the Safe Church Training?
- Clergy and lay leaders take the Comprehensive Safe Church Training once then participate in a Recertification Training every three years after that.
How much does the Safe Church Training cost?
- ECCT covers the cost of the Safe Church Training for all participants. When trainings have an in-person component, food is also provided by the host parish at no cost to participants.
What does Safe Church Training discuss?
- This training is designed to increase awareness regarding misconduct and abuse of power, to outline steps toward preventing abuse, to offer ways to intervene when misconduct occurs and to equip anyone in a position of parish leadership with ways of healing and rebuilding the body of Christ.
- All leaders (people who engage in ministry without responsibility for oversight of others engaged in that ministry) take the Universal Training learning module that fosters a culture of safety and inclusion for all people and covers a broad overview of issues of vulnerability, power, andhealthy boundaries. Universal Training is designed to equip all people to live out their Baptismal Covenant.
- In addition to Universal Training, all supervisors and those with oversight responsibilities for ministry programs and/or other adults who engage inministry with children and youth shall have specialized training that is tailored to their role and ministry function.
- Depending on role and responsibility, specialized training should include:
- Prevention, identification, and response to all forms of abuse and neglect;
- Vulnerability within the pastoral relationship;
- An introduction to gender identity and expression;
- The needs of LGBTQ+ children and youth;
- The ways that children and youth can engage in self-advocacy; and
- The needs of differently abled children and youth.
How can I register for the Safe Church Training?
Registration for Safe Church Training is through Eventbrite and is limited to 20 participants. Registration closes one week before the scheduled session, or when capacity is reached.
- View upcoming Safe Church Training Zoom Follow-up dates and times and register online.
- Download and/or print ECCT’s Safe Church Training Resource Manual. A link to this resource is also included in your Eventbrite confirmation email.
- Following the instructions given in the email sent to you from the Safe Church Administrator, access the online training course and complete the full training at least two days prior to your scheduled follow-up Zoom call.
Please Note: The running time for the modules within the online training course range from 1.25 hours to 3.5 hours. These modules do not have to be completed all at once; you can take breaks in between. The online course includes narration.
What do I need to do after I register?
- After you register to participate in a Safe Church Training, you will receive information from our Administrator for Licensing and Training, that will help answer questions and direct you to the next steps. Please check your spam folder if you have not received any communication.
- If you are participating in a hybrid training, you will receive access to the online modules in the email address you provided when you registered. You will need to complete the online modules prior to the training date.
I work in a specific program (like a preschool or nursery school) in a church. Do I need to take the comprehensive Safe Church Training?
- Yes. Part of our baptismal covenant is to seek and serve Christ in all persons. That includes the people you’re ministering to and to the people around them. If you work with kids, for example, you’re likely interacting with their parent(s) or guardian(s). As such, all leaders in ECCT take the comprehensive training and are recertified every three years thereafter.
- Periodically, ECCT offers specialized trainings with focus on specific ministries. For example, trainings can focus on youth formation or camp, with specific discussion around issues related to those programs. Those trainings include discussion of vulnerabilities across the lifespan but spend time in the discussion focusing on the needs of the group’s ministries.
I have a history of trauma. What can I do to ensure my emotional safety as I participate in the Safe Church Training?
- All participants of the virtual trainings are asked to create an intentional wellness plan prior to participating in the training. That plan includes consideration of what each member might do if material is difficult for them.
- In person trainings include access to pastoral care; a clergy person is present on site or available by telephone during the entirety of the training for anyone who would like to pray or receive spiritual counsel.
- Participants of all Safe Church Training Programs are encouraged to speak with their clergy or other trusted persons for support as needed.
How often are SCT available?
- ECCT offers about thirty Safe Church trainings between late August and mid-May. You can find information about the schedule on the ECCT calendar or on the link to Safe Church Training Sessions button in the Safe Church Training folder on the ECCT website.
Who should I contact if I’ve got questions about Safe Church Training?
- ECCT’s Administrator for Licensing and Training can answer questions about the Safe Church Training, including how to sign up, when to expect certificates of attendance, and troubleshooting technology before scheduled sessions.
Do I need to have a background check done?
- Appendix A provides information about who needs background checks.
How much does the background check cost?
- Basic background checks cost $15.50 with an additional $9.50 for each local check if the employee or volunteer has lived in multiple states.
- DMV checks cost $24
- Financial background checks cost $14 after a one-time site visit (cost for site visit $85)
Does a flag on my background check prevent me from serving as a paid staff member or volunteer in my church, worship community, or intentional Episcopal Community?
- The Model Policies do not automatically prohibit anyone from serving in a particular ministry regardless of the results of a public record check. That determination is within the discretion of a Rector, Priest in Charge, and in the absence of clergy leadership, parish wardens.
- Given the realities of racism in our church and US culture, some provisions of these Model Policies can have a disparate impact on People of Color, immigrants, and refuges. Parish leaders, both lay and ordained, are urged to take pay particular attention to appropriately handle and interpret information received from public record checks, especially when the person under consideration is a Person of Color, immigrant, or refugee.
SAFE CHURCH AUDITS
How often do we need to do a Safe Church audit?
- Each parish, worshipping community, Intentional Episcopal Community, and organization is required to conduct an annual Safe Church Self-Audit to confirm compliance with safe church policies, and to report such audit to ECCT.
- Procedures to be confirmed by audit will include (but are not limited to):
- Public records checks, application forms, records of screening and reference verification of paid and unpaid persons;
- Records of compliance with the Screening and Training Protocols (Appendix A);
- Procedures for responding to concerns and incidents; and
- Evidence of compliance with “safe space” requirements.
A document called Safe Church Self-Audit can be found in the resource section of the ECCT Safe Church Training folder.
Where can I find the ECCT Model Policies?
- On ECCT’s website, you can find all the policies and guidelines to keep the community safe in the Safe Church folder, linked here.
I’m concerned that something might have happened that I need to report. What should I do?
- There is a document in the Safe Church folder, linked here, that provides guidance about what to do if you have reason to believe a report should be made to child or adult protective services.
What other resources are available?
- There are many resources found in the ECCT Safe Church Training website folder, including forms, guidelines, and policies related to ministry with adults and children.