The Child-Friendly Faith Communities Designation Program

What is the CFFC Designation Program? The Child-Friendly Faith Communities Designation Program is a unique, two-phase, comprehensive curriculum designed specifically for faith communities. Participants can be religious organizations of all kinds, including churches, synagogues, and mosques, as well as faith-based educational institutions and youth programs. The designation program includes information and instruction that helps faith communities discuss and learn about child development, maltreatment, and protection in an environment that feels emotionally safe. It also includes workshops that help participants develop effective child abuse prevention policies and design programs that benefit children directly or indirectly.

Why participate? Religious organizations that take part in the designation program enjoy numerous benefits. In addition to receiving this rich education, a participating organization is designated as a Charter Member of the CFFC, or, if it completes both phases of the program, a Child-Friendly Faith Community. In addition, the CFFP promotes the faith community as a role model in child protection. In this way, participating organizations serve as beacons to adults who are looking to join a faith community that truly understands children’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. So enlisting in the designation program not only can give a boost to a faith community’s public image, it can help it to grow.

What makes the designation program different from other training programs? Most religious organizations focus their staff training on child sexual abuse prevention. While this awareness is valuable, organizations that participate in the Designation Program learn about most forms of maltreatment, including those that involve faith teachings and practices. Also, the program includes two Child-Friendly Faith in Action workshops that guide participants through the process of developing effective child abuse prevention policies and developing or improving programs that directly or indirectly serve children’s needs.

You say it’s a “two-phase” program. What are the two phases exactly?

The CFFP Charter Member Discussion Series consists of five 1-hour self-paced discussions aided by the CFFP Charter Member Discussion Series Study Guide, as well as handouts and digital survey tools. Once completed, the CFFP designates the participating faith community as a Charter Member of the Child-Friendly Faith Project and offers marketing support to promote its new status.

The Child-Friendly Faith Communities Education Series takes place over a period of approximately 9 months. Each module is led by a CFFP-affiliated trainer who has expertise in child development, maltreatment, and protection. The program includes workshops to guide participants in creating or improving child protection policies and child-friendly programs. Once completed, the CFFP designates the participating organization as a Child-Friendly Faith Community and offers extensive marketing support to promote its new status. Only organizations that have completed the discussion series may participate in the training series.

Just what does my faith community receive if it becomes designated as a Child-Friendly Faith Community? Upon completing the program, each participating organization will be able to:

  • Assess its knowledge of child development and enter into private discussions about children’s physical and emotional needs;
  • Learn about child development, maltreatment, and protection, as well as how to holistically serve children’s physical and emotional needs;
  • Feel assured that its faith teachings are nurturing for children and do not cause harm;
  • Minister effectively to survivors of religious child maltreatment and their families;
  • Be guided through the process of creating, or improving, child abuse prevention policies and procedures;
  • Be guided through the process of creating, or improving, a program of its own design that directly or indirectly serves children’s needs;
  • Obtain as a resource the Charter for Child-Friendly Faith, a set of principles that clarify and offer structure around a faith community’s responsibilities to young people;
  • Be designated as a Child-Friendly Faith Community and be permitted to use the CFFC logo on worship guides and marketing material;
  • Receive marketing support from the CFFP to ensure that the the organization is publicly recognized as a role model in child protection;
  • Attract new members looking for a faith community that has taken important steps to understand children’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

How do you measure the success of this program? To ensure that the program is meeting its educational goals, participants complete surveys that evaluate increased knowledge of children’s needs. Facilitators and trainers provide feedback on a group’s overall progress through surveys and discussions with the CFFP. One year after completion, the CFFP will follow up with the community to evaluate whether participants have implemented programs they proposed as part of meeting curriculum requirements.

What are the goals of the program? In 2016, upon completion of the pilot phase of the Charter Member discussion series, we will offer that program to all faith communities in the United States. We will also complete development of the Child-Friendly Faith Communities training series. In 2017, we expect to have 3 faith communities participate in the discussion series and launch the pilot phase of the training series. In 2018, we expect to have 5 more faith communities participate in the Charter Member discussion series and release the CFFC training series to the general public.

How can I help? We would also be grateful for your financial help! To make a donation that will go directly toward funding the Designation Program, click the image to your left or click here. Also, tell your pastor, rabbi, imam, or youth program director that you’d like your faith community to participate!q

Where do I go to learn more? To learn more about the Child-Friendly Faith Communities Designation Program, please email us at designation@childfriendlyfaith.org. Thank for your interest and compassion!