Introduction to CARP Materials

(Continue to the CARP materials.)

This website has been created to help churches create safer programs, services, and activities for children and youth, and for those who assist with and lead them.

The resource materials—including information, tools, samples, and more—that you will find in this website can help you identify and take active measures that will help make things safer.

Note that word: safer. We are using “safer” rather than “safe” deliberately—and emphasizing the “r” by putting it in bold face and underlining it—because the fact is this: No matter how much we want it and no matter how much we do to protect people—in particular children and youth—we can never, ever make a situation completely safe. Not ever. We’re setting ourselves up for failure if our goal is to “make things safe.”

There’s a second reason the goal is “making things safer” rather than “safe.”Sometimes, when the goal is to make it “safe,” people lose sight of the fact that this is an ongoing process: We have to be continually looking for ways to make things safer, not thinking “Whew! Now it’s safe, so we don’t have to think about this any more.” 

So, here’s the goal churches should be setting and to which we must commit ourselves:

To make things safer for all—and in particular for children, youth, and other vulnerable people—by deliberately taking active, prudent, reasonable, appropriate, and effective measures that are designed to

  1. Decrease the risk that children or youth (or vulnerable adults for that matter) will be abused by someone connected to the ministry of the church in any capacity, on church property or premises, in a church activity (or in a program that takes place on church property or premises), and
  2. To increase the church’s capacity to respond appropriately and effectively to any and every suspicion, allegation, report, or disclosure of abuse.
Here’s what you’ll find in the CARP materials:
  • Information about child abuse; a roadmap to the creation of an Abuse Response and Prevention Plan; information about risk management, legal and insurance issues; sample policies, protocols, procedures, and processes; templates, samples, forms, and tools, reference and contact information, and more.
Here’s what you won’t find in the CARP materials:
  • Lists of absolute rules for any and every occasion.

Why not? Because absolute rules are seldom effective; in fact, they can be, and often are, dangerous.

In some situations, there are indeed specific things that churches must do and some things that you must not do. You’ll find information here about such situations (for example, when a child discloses or alleges abuse), along with tools to help you identify what you must do, what you mustn’t do, and what you should consider doing.

Many situations, however, are not clear-cut. Here, the most important tools are the right questions: In such situations, church leaders have to ask the right questions in order to identify and assess risks and take the prudent, reasonable, appropriate, and effective measures that will reduce those risks. You’ll find material here to help you identify the right questions to ask.

The goal of these materials is to help your church create an Abuse Response and Prevention Plan tailored to your realities so that you may be enabled to effectively decrease the risks of abuse and increase your capacity to prevent it and respond to it.

Here’s how the website works:

The CARP materials are built around questions that commonly arise in relation to abuse response and prevention. For example: “I suspect that a young person in the youth group has been abused. What do I do?” or “How do we screen strangers?” or “What does the law say we must do to protect children from abuse?”

The questions have been divided into specific categories: On the CARP home page, you will see a coloured box that features the following titles:

  • General Questions about Abuse Response and Prevention
  • Risk Management and Abuse Response and Prevention
  • Creating an Abuse Response and Prevention Plan for your Church
  • Abuse Prevention: Managing the Risks of Premises, Programs, and People
  • Legal and Insurance Issues
  • What if …?

Clicking on the + sign to the left of a title will open up that part of the index, and you can scroll through the list of questions in that category. You can also search for a question by clicking on the link (in the word “here”) in the paragraph above the titles.

What happens when you click on a particular question?

Some questions are very simple and straightforward and have simple, specific answers. So, clicking on some questions will lead you to a single webpage that provides an answer to the question. Some questions have a couple of layers of answers. At the other end of the spectrum, some questions have complex answers, and so you may be led through a number of different layers of responses. Here’s an example:

SIMPLE QUESTION:
Question: What is the age of majority in Newfoundland and Labrador?
Clicking on this question will bring you to a page with a simple answer:
Answer: Nineteen (19) years of age.

COMPLEX QUESTION:
Question: “A child in our Sunday School program has disclosed to me that he is being abused. What do I do?”

The answer to that question is complicated; the website is designed to walk you through the different pieces of the answer to the question.

Here’s how this would work:
    1. Question: “A child in our Sunday School program has disclosed to me that he is being abused. What do I do?”

Clicking on this question will take you to a webpage that asks:

    1. Clarifying Questions: The answer(s) to this question (“A child in our Sunday School has …) depends on a number of variables. So here you’ll be asked a number of clarifying questions. For example:
      • What province are you in?
      • How old is the child?
      • What role do you play in the Sunday School?
      • What city/region are you in? (and why does this matter?)

      These questions are asked because the laws about reporting allegations or suspicions of child abuse (including the way a “child” is defined in relation to these issues) vary from province to province. Answering these questions will lead you to webpages that provide information specific to your province.

Clicking on links on this page will take you to a page that outlines:

    1. Specific Responses/Actions: This level will identify specifics (when there are specific responses—that’s not always the case) to the basic question. For example:
      • DO THIS: (1) YOU MUST notify the child protection authorities immediately … etc.
      • DO NOT DO THIS: (1) DO NOT conduct an internal investigation of the allegation … etc.
      • CONSIDER: (1) Consider convening a meeting of the Board of Christian Education; (2) Consider who needs to know about this; (3) … etc.

Clicking on a link on this page will take you to:

    1. Tools – Templates, Forms, Samples, etc.: Here you will find tools to assist you in your response to the question, for example, an Incident Report Form Template that you can download.

Clicking on a link on this page will take you to:

    1. Resource Information and Contacts: Here you’ll find specific resource and contact information; for example, contact information for child protection authorities in your province, as well as other resource materials you might find helpful.

Clicking on a link on this page will take you to:

  1. Reference Section: Here you will find detailed reference information related to the specific questions. In relation to this question, for example, you would find information about provincial child protection laws. So this section would include, for example:
    • Relevant sections of the New Brunswick Family Services Act
    • Relevant sections of the Newfoundland and Labrador Children and Youth Care and Protection Act
    • Relevant sections of the Nova Scotia Children and Family Services Act
    • Relevant sections of the Prince Edward Island Child Protection Act
(Continue to the CARP materials.)

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