I am writing as Archbishop to bring to your attention an important matter that is and must be an urgent concern for all of us who work with children in every aspect of the Archdiocese, in every Metropolis and in every parish and youth ministry. This letter is to call each of us to action, and to encourage us as our clergy, our lay leaders and our fellow parishioners to mobilize to serve our children and youth. Read More
We believe that children and youth should be safe at every youth ministry program or event.
That’s why we created the new Policies for the Safety of Children and Youth, the new standard for youth safety across the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Scheduled to take effect in September 2019.
Read more about them: Blog Post (July 10, 2018)
We're ready to take the next step in Youth Safety. Watch the video to learn more.
1. Why Youth Safety?
Good ministry is centered on Christ and oriented towards His Kingdom. If we’re going to facilitate meaningful and transformative encounters with the Lord, then we need to do so in a safe and healthy environment.
2. What are the New Policies?
In March 2009, the Holy Eparchial Synod approved the Youth Protection Manual (YPM). While this document was a huge step forward for youth safety, it only covered camps and retreats. The Policies for the Safety of Youth and Children apply rigorous youth safety principles to all Youth Ministry Programs and Events across the Archdiocese.
3. What is a Youth Worker?
Under the Policies, Youth Workers are the only adults who can participate in Youth Ministry Programs and Events. Under certain circumstances, other adults can visit and offer support services.
4. How Can I Become a Youth Worker?
To become a Youth Worker, a person must (1) register or re-register with her home parish every year, (2) successfully complete the required training once every year, and (3) successfully pass the required background screen once every two years.
5. How Can I Lose My Youth Worker Status?
The Archdiocese has a strict zero tolerance policy regarding Abuse. Failing to complete the required three-step process for becoming a Youth Worker will also lead to disqualification.
6. How Should I Report Abuse?
Abuse and suspected Abuse should immediately be reported to state authorities. If you have any questions, you can contact the Childhelp National Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD.
7. How Should I Respond to Inappropriate Behavior?
Inappropriate behavior (including Policy violations) should promptly be reported to your Supervisor. If your Supervisor is somehow involved in this inappropriate behavior, then you should make your report to the next person up the chain of command.
8. How Will We Create a Record of Compliance With the Policies?
Twice a year, each Parish will prepare a report for its respect District/Metropolis containing (1) the roster of Youth Workers in the Parish; (2) a certification that these Youth Workers have all been registered, trained, and screened as per the Policies; and (3) certification that these are the only people involved in Youth Ministry Programs and Events.
Twice a year, each District/Metropolist will prepare a report for the Archdiocese containing (1) the roster of Parishes in the District/Metropolis; (2) a certification that the District/Metropolis has received certification letters from the parishes, and (3) a certification that the District/Metropolis has performed a random spot check of Parishes that has revealed no issues with the certification letters.
Twice a year, the Archdiocese will prepare a report for the Legal Committee containing (1) the roster of the District and Metropolises; (2) a certification that the Archdiocese has received certification letters from the District and Metropolises, and (3) a certification that the Archdiocese has performed a random spot check of Parishes that has revealed no issues with the certification letters.
9. How Should I Handle Electronic Communication?
While Electronic Communications can be helpful, we need to be aware of the risks associated with private communications. Youth Workers should know their limits and make an effort to steer interactions to in-person settings in the context of Youth Ministry Programs and Events.
10. How Can I Help Create Safe Ministry Spaces?
Preparation is key. Youth Workers should be prepared for Youth Ministry Programs and Events and know what they need to do and where they need to be at all times.
Information and Work Checklists
Please use one of the following links for additional information and important checklists with everything you need in order to comply with the new policies. Please note Packet #3 is for Metropolis Youth Workers and has been sent directly to them.
Ensure that only qualified Youth Workers participate in youth ministry programs and events.
Establish clear guidelines for reporting abuse, suspected abuse, and inappropriate behavior
Provide best practices to help individual programs tailor policies and procedures that are right for them.
To become a Youth Worker, a person must do 3 simple things:
Register with your home parish, so know exactly who our Youth Workers are.
Complete annual training, so we know our Youth Workers are ready to serve.
Pass a background screen once every 2 years, so we know our Youth Workers are safe.
The Policies have been endorsed by the Holy Eparchial Synod and unanimously approved by the 44th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Archdiocese. Together, as one Body, we’ll take this next step in keeping our kids safe.