Explore the Quaker way: read about the basics of our faith, find answers to common questions and find a Quaker meeting near you.
Appendices to the Child Safety Policy
1. Sample Yearly Meeting Forms
Forms used by the youth programs of the organization of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends are available for download including expectations for youth workers, applications to work with children, reference check forms for youth volunteers, an incident report form, a checklist for responding in the event of an allegation of sexual abuse, and a summary of basic child safety information for youth workers in the Young Friends Program. The Youth Ministries Committee hopes that these documents serve not only to show what the Yearly Meeting as an organization has put into practice, but that they can prove a useful tool for meetings that may be looking for these types of resources in their own meeting. We encourage Friends and meetings to adapt these forms as it is helpful, and to continue to work at making all of our meetings and Friends communities places where children can be nurtured and grow in the Spirit as safely as possible.
2. Best Practices in Risk Reduction
In our efforts to ensure the safety of the children and youth we serve, we recognize both the importance of clear specific policies, and the reality that we cannot anticipate every possible dangerous situation, nor should our programs be guided by fear, and rigidity. The following risk reduction principles help guide our work, as we seek to be a faith community that is flexible and joy filled as well as prepared to respond in the event of an incident. —NEYM Youth Ministries Committee 2017
The materials in the risk reduction principles document have been assembled by the Yearly Meeting Youth Ministries Committee, drawing on resources written by other Friends, and using material from Reducing The Risk II: Making Your Church Safe from Child Sexual Abuse by James F. Cobble, Jr., Richard R. Hammar and Steven W. Klipowicz. The Youth Ministries Committee hopes that these principles can serve meetings as you undertake your own journey of working to reduce the risk of harm within your own Friends community. Note to meetings: If your meeting has its own resources and would like to share them more widely, the Youth Ministries Committee would love to share them here as a resource for other Friends and Friends meetings. Please send any relevant materials to the clerk of the Youth Ministries Committee.
3. State Resources
The following is a list of web resources with information about laws and regulations regarding mandated reporting in each state, as well as phone numbers for reporting an incident of abuse or neglect.
Connecticut Child Abuse and Neglect Careline (24/7): 1-800-842-2288
Mandated reporters must report orally to the Department of Children and Families' (DCF) Careline or a law enforcement agency within 12 hours of suspecting that a child has been abused or neglected and must submit a written report (DCF-136) to DCF within 48 hours of making the oral report.
In cases of domestic violence call the Hartford Interval House at (860) 527-0550
Maine Department of Health and Human Services (24/7): 1-800-452-1999
Massachusetts Child-At-Risk Hotline (24/7): 1-800-792-5200
Massachusetts law requires mandated reporters to immediately make an oral report to DCF when, in their professional capacity, they have reasonable cause to believe that a child under the age of 18 years is suffering from abuse and/or neglect. A written report is to be submitted within 48 hours
New Hampshire Division for Children Youth and Families Central Intake Unit (24/7): 1-800-894-5533
NH Law requires any person who suspects that a child under age 18 has been abused or neglected must report that suspicion immediately to DCYF.
Rhode Island Child Protective Hotline: 1-800-742-4453
ALL persons in Rhode Island are required by law to report known or suspected cases of child abuse and/or neglect to the Department of Children, Youth, and Families within 24 hours of becoming aware of such abuse/neglect
Vermont Department for Children and Families: 1-800-649-5285
If you reasonably suspect child abuse or neglect, you are legally required to make a report to our Family Services Division (FSD) — within 24 hours of the time you first received or observed information about the suspected abuse/neglect.
4. Resources for and from local meetings on responding to incidents of sexual abuse
In 2003 a three-member subcommittee on child safety was appointed by NEYM Ministry and Counsel to create a resource for NEYM and affiliated monthly meetings to use as they develop plans for how to respond to a child safety concern within their meeting community. The committee was composed of Christel Jorgenson (Cambridge, MA), William How (Fresh Pond, MA) and William Harley (Providence, RI) and they completed this work in August 2005. In 2016–17 the Youth Ministries Committee revised and updated this document and used it as the basis for the current policy as well as many of the materials posted on this website. The cover letter of the original report and the draft child safety policy written by that committee can be found here, and the list of resources they used to inform their work can be found here. We are grateful to these Friends for their service, and hope that their work will encourage greater safety for children throughout our Yearly Meeting.
Christel Jorgenson (Cambridge, MA) also created a document outlining the elements of the child safety policy that was developed at Friends Meeting at Cambridge in 2003. This document, including an excerpt from a letter she wrote encouraging Friends and meetings in New England to take up the work of minimizing the risk of child sexual abuse in our meetings and communities can be found here.
Providence (RI) meeting shared their minute, "Acknowledging our Failures and Committing Ourselves to Truth," at Annual Sessions 2015 regarding their experience as a meeting after the disclosure of an instance of sexual abuse within the meeting community many years prior. In this minute Friends from Providence offer sage advice to all Friends: "Looking to the future, we recognize our responsibility to do what we can to prevent abuse in our community and to be truthful in all our dealings with each other." Read the full text of their minute here.
Education around abuse prevention is a critical piece of our stewardship for the children and families in our care. We can think of education as fitting in a logical sequence between our efforts to prevent abuse, on the one hand, and being ready to respond to allegations and reports, on the other… This is tender, thoughtful, vital and ongoing work.- Beth Collea (New England Yearly Meeting Religious Education and Outreach Coordinator)
The Youth Ministries Committee seeks to help carry the various parts of the work of abuse prevention in local meetings across New England, and in all of our faith communities. New England Yearly Meeting’s Religious Education and Outreach Coordinator, Beth Collea (Wellesley, MA) has written a very helpful account of this education work that explains its importance and offers simple, welcoming models of how to begin to go about it.
There are many resources available for meetings who are looking to begin, or to continue the work of creating a safer space for children within their community. Beth Collea and other Friends serving in religious education capacities have created a page on community safety, which can be found here. The document called 10 ways to begin building a culture of community safety and rules of thumb for community safety have both been of use to local meetings as they have begun to undertake the work of building community safety.
The list of background reading used by the 2003 child safety subcommittee to inform their work can be found here along with a list of more recent publications. Note to meetings: If your meeting has created or located educational resources and would like to share them more widely, the Youth Ministries Committee would love to share them here as a resource for other Friends and Friends meetings. Please send any relevant materials to the clerk of the Youth Ministries Committee.