Dear Pastors and Church Leaders,
Greetings to you from the Conference Board of Trustees (CBOT) and Conference Treasurer. It may seem odd to receive a letter from these offices but we are charged to ensure adequate insurance coverage for your church properties, clergy, staff and volunteers. The information and resources addressed in this letter is in support of our mission and your ministry.
One of the many entities that we engage is our insurance company and they are mandating Abuse Prevention Program be in place at all churches. We have worked with HUB International and are pleased to introduce Ministry Safe program for all California-Pacific Conference churches and ministries. This program is replacing Safe Gatherings effective April 1, 2022. We also understand that Ministry Safe meets the training requirements of AB506. If your Safe Gatherings certificate is current, you may take Ministry Safe training upon expiration of the certificate.
What is AB506:
AB506 is a new California law effective 1/1/2022, that requires administrators, employees and/or volunteers of a “youth service organizations”, to complete child abuse and neglect reporting training, and undergo background checks, including fingerprinting. The bill requires that all “youth service organizations” develop and implement strong abuse prevention policies and procedures.
A youth service organization includes churches with youth groups, childcare, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, youth sports and other youth related groups and/or activities.
Abuse Prevention Program:
All churches in the Conference must have an Abuse Prevention Policy. This is not only a requirement at the Conference level, but also an insurance company requirement, as a condition of abuse and molestation liability coverage. More importantly, a strong Abuse Prevention Policy is for the protection of our youth and vulnerable adults. It is our responsibility to keep them safe at our churches and offsite church trips and events.
What Does Ministry Safe Offer:
Ministry Safe’s Abuse Prevention System is comprised of 5 parts, that when used effectively together, creates a strong Abuse Prevention Program for your church. This helps us protect the youth and vulnerable adults at our churches. The five parts are as follows:
- Sexual Abuse Awareness Training – Employees and volunteers are trained to recognize abuser’s grooming behaviors and processes and better understand their characteristics. This training makes employees and volunteers better equipped to help prevent abuse and molestation of children and vulnerable adults.
- Skillful Screening Process – This training addresses your church and church ministry’s employee and volunteer screening process. It enables managers, administrators and leaders to better determine if an applicant has the right motive for wanting to work with children or vulnerable adults.
- Policies and Procedures – All churches have access to the sample Abuse Prevention Policies and Procedures on Ministry Safe’s portal. The sample policies include: Youth Ministry Policies, Youth Sports Policies, Children’s Ministry Policies, Daycare Policies, Education Policies, Camp Policies and Child Services Policies. More are available upon request and availability.
- Background Checks – There are 7 levels of background check searches available. Their levels can include identity research, sex offender registry search, federal court criminal search, social security match, county of residence search, multi-jurisdictional search, state records search.
- Monitoring and Oversight – Without monitoring and oversight, it is difficult to make sure our churches are doing what we say we are doing. Protecting our youth and vulnerable adults should be a high priority. Ministry Safe’s Control panel allows the church administrators to monitor and track Sexual Abuse Prevention Training, Skillful Screening Training and Background checks. It can be set up with multiple administrators to allow for a smooth transition, should an administrator leave the church or transfer the responsibilities to another person.
Each church is already set up in the Ministry Safe portal. The account has initially been set up with the Church SPRC chair as the administrator. If there is no SPRC chair on file for your church, the Senior Pastor has been registered as the administrator. Your church has the ability to add multiple administrators for your location. Administrators have access to view the Control Panel and add users in order to assign training to them. For the Onboarding Presentation put together by Ministry Safe, with instructions on how to access the portal, add users, send training and how to customize your training settings, click here. If you have questions about your account, please feel free to call Ministry Safe and OR Lizet Hernandez for further assistance.
Ministry Safe: 833.737.7233 (TOLL FREE)
Lizet Hernandez: 310.568.5986, firstname.lastname@example.org
A mandatory webinar is scheduled for April 20, 2022, for a brief training on the portal, what Ministry Safe offers and how their training system complies with AB506. To register, click here.
- Access to Ministry Safe, their Sample Policies, Abuse Awareness Training, Skillful Screening Training, Monitoring, are at no cost to your church. Your insurance carrier, Philadelphia Insurance, is picking up the cost for these services. There is no limit to the number of employees and volunteers that you can add to the portal and assign training to.
- The church will, however, incur the cost of background checks. Level 1 background checks at $8, includes Identity Research, Multi-Jurisdictional Search, Sex Offender Database, Hits Verified, Additional Court Fees for CA.
Ministry Safe is required for:
- All clergy of the conference, whether appointed to local churches or to conference staff, district superintendent positions, or to extension ministries
- All volunteers who serve with children, youth and/or vulnerable populations at conference-sponsored events, camps and ministries
- All paid staff at the conference and district administrative offices, camps and campus ministries
- Paid lay staff at churches in positions identified in Ministry Safe and local church abuse prevention policies
- Volunteers at churches who serve with children, youth and/or vulnerable populations, as identified in Ministry Safe and local church abuse prevention policies
- Paid and volunteer staff at preschools incorporated as part of a California-Pacific Conference United Methodist Church, if the training and screening requirements that currently exist for licensure in the state, do not meet AB506 requirements.
Please follow the image link underneath to listen to Bishop Grant Hagiya’s introduction and the program:
In Christ’s Service,
Rev. Karen Tannheimer
President, Conference Board of Trustees
Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop