What to do if you suspect abuse/neglect
Hey, Kids’ Club volunteers! Thanks for taking the time to understand what to do when we think a kid might be abused or neglected. This happens to about 1 out of 8 kids. So knowing how to respond in the right way can get a kid the help they need. Plus, we actually have a legal obligation to report our suspicion.
The first thing to do is make a quick note of the kid’s name and sticker number. Then, notify a staff member. Right away. Really, as soon as you suspect abuse––whether it’s during check-in or in the middle of Large Group––talk to a staff member. And please don’t speak to anybody else. We want to respect the sensitive nature of this information. The staff member will work with you to determine whether the kid is in danger, and figure out next steps.
After you talk to staff, if the kid wants to talk, listening is the best thing you can do. And no matter what a kid says, stay calm and think about what your face is communicating. This may be the first time a kid has confided in anyone—and they might be gauging your reaction—so it’s important to show support and empathy. That doesn’t mean you have to have the perfect words. It might just mean sitting next to them and thanking them for sharing. And in any situation, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you respond well.
So, if you suspect a kid might be abused or neglected, check the sticker and tell a staff member immediately. Seriously, tell a staff member right away. That is the best way you can help that kid. Kids’ Club staff have been trained in how to report suspected abuse and neglect, so you can be free to sit with a kid and show empathy. So then, sit with the kid. Listen. And if any action is necessary, the staff member will be a part of that process. Our job isn’t to investigate, but to report our suspicion to a professional who can help them. And continue to ask God to bring comfort, healing and protection.
We know this is a hard thing to hear about and think about. But we’re grateful to have volunteers like you who make Kids’ Club a safe place to be vulnerable.
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