Many of you will be aware that we have been alerting people to a national UCA Child Safe Program that would be available online. This has been in response to the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Commissioner’s expectation that we would have a consistent national approach to protecting children.

The program will consist of a number of modules that will be released as they are developed. The first one, a basic overview to being a child safe community is intended to be the basic introduction for all leaders and volunteers within the church.

The next one, currently in development, is intended for Church Councils and boards who have oversight of children and other vulnerable people in our congregations and organisations. Other modules are also being explored. It is likely that the later modules will be more focussed on the issues covered and the intended participants. Refreshers will be developed too and it is hoped that this will grow to be a rich resource for all congregations and leaders.

The roll out of the program will be done in stages. The first group to be invited will be those in placements. Then more broadly those in leadership in children’s and youth ministry, as well as those serving on committees and councils of the church. Your invitation will include instructions on how to access the program. It will take approximately ninety minutes to complete the first module and you will be able to complete it in stages. We are hoping that this first group will have completed this module by the 31st December 2021.

An immense amount of thinking and work has gone into this program. It is exciting that it will soon be available. Into the future this will be a great asset for inducting new leaders, helping teams develop their skills and reflect on their practice. More than anything though we pray that it will play a part in protecting children and the vulnerable among us.