The scriptures contain many examples of the Savior’s love for His children. His Church does not tolerate abuse of any kind. As part of an ongoing effort to protect children and youth, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has launched an online training course for all adults who interact with children and youth in their Church assignments.
The training, which is initially being launched in North America (with other areas to follow) is to be done as new leaders receive assignments to serve children and youth. Each leader will log in with his or her Church account so completion of training can be recorded. Local leaders are notified if the training is not completed. The training can be accessed at ProtectingChildren.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
“We take Jesus Christ’s teachings about children and youth very seriously,” said Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president. “He welcomed them into His presence and gave stern warnings against abusing, bullying or hurting them in any way. Jesus said of children, ‘Of such is the kingdom of God’ [Mark 10:14]. His deep concern for children and youth must continue to be our deep concern.”
Church Launches Protection Training for Leaders of Children and Youth
In a notice sent to Church leadership in the United States and Canada, the Church asks that all Latter-day Saints with the following congregational assignments complete the training:
- Stake and district presidencies, bishoprics and branch presidencies
- High councilors
- Stake, district, ward, and branch Primary, Young Women, Young Men and Sunday School and Relief Society presidencies; elders quorum presidencies
- Secretaries, teachers, advisers, camp leaders, activity day leaders, music leaders, pianists and others serving in positions in the Primary, Young Women and Young Men organizations
- Teachers of youth Sunday School and seminary classes
Latter-day Saint leaders registered in Scouting should also complete the required Boy Scouts of America’s Youth Protection training through the remainder of 2019, after which the Church will no longer be participating in BSA.
In addition to those working with children and youth, parents and others are encouraged to complete the training.
The training is designed to increase awareness, highlight policies and identify best practices for supervising and interacting with children and youth. It also helps leaders know how to prevent and respond to abuse. Leaders and specialists from child protection organizations, family therapists and other professionals participated in the creation and evaluation of the new training.
“Jesus blessed and prayed for children ‘one by one,’” Brother Stephen W. Owen, Young Men general president, said, quoting a Book of Mormon passage. “We, too, must do all in our power to bless and protect each child entrusted to our care. This online training is one important way we can help ensure our children have the loving parents and devoted leaders they deserve and need.”
Latter-day Saints asked to serve in any of the previously listed positions are to complete the training after being appointed to their assignments.
A list of members who need to complete the training will be updated regularly in the Leader and Clerk Resources section of ChurchofJesusChrist.org. Local leaders should ensure that members access and complete the training.
Key Principles and Policies Covered in the Training
- The Lord expects us to do all we can to prevent abuse and to protect and help those who have been victims of abuse.
- The Church does not tolerate abuse in any form. Abuse violates the laws of God and may also be a violation of the laws of society.
- “When adults are teaching children or youth in Church settings, at least two responsible adults should be present” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church, 11.8.8).
- “At least two adult supervisors must be present at all Church-sponsored activities attended by children, youth, and young single adults” (Handbook 2, 13.6.2).
- Avoid extended one-on-one communication with children or youth, and regularly communicate with parents or guardians about activities or concerns.
- Take all reports of abuse and inappropriate behavior seriously. You have a responsibility to act according to your local laws. Review the training to learn how to respond, and contact your bishop or branch president for counsel and direction.
Children and youth who have been abused need kind, caring attention from inspired Church leaders, family members, and others, including trained professionals, who can help them overcome the destructive effects of abuse. The healing power of the Savior Jesus Christ will ease burdens and provide strength to overcome adversity.
Please view the Frequently Asked Questions below for more information about this online training module and about how to prevent and respond to abuse in your calling.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of this training?
This training is for anyone called to work with children or youth. This includes:
- Stake and district presidencies, bishoprics, and branch presidencies.
- High councilors.
- Stake, district, ward, and branch Primary, Young Men, Young Women, Sunday School, and Relief Society presidencies; elders quorum presidencies.
- Secretaries, teachers, advisers, camp leaders, activity day leaders, music leaders, pianists, and others serving in positions in the Primary, Young Women, and Young Men organizations.
- Teachers of youth Sunday School and seminary classes.
While the principles and policies in the training apply to all Church members, international laws may vary and local adaptation may be needed. This version follows laws within the United States and Canada. Additional versions are being prepared. Teachers and leaders outside of the United States and Canada should follow their local laws when responding to abuse and counsel with their local leaders if they have concerns.
How long will the training take?
This training should take about 30 minutes to complete.
How often will I need to take the training?
If you have a calling working with children or youth, you need this training every three years. You will receive an email reminder before the expiration date of your training.
Will I need to take this again if I move to another ward or branch or if I am released?
No. This training is valid for three years.
Do I need to sign in to access this training?
Yes, you will need to sign in with your Church Account. If your Church Account is not linked with your Membership Record Number (MRN), you will need to update that information before completing the training or your completion will not be recorded.
To link your MRN to your Church Account, first find your MRN on your temple recommend or by asking your ward clerk or another Church leader to look it up on ChurchofJesusChrist.org or through the Member Tools app. Once you have your MRN, go to settings.churchofjesuschrist.org/membership in order to add it to your account. For more information, visit settings.churchofjesuschrist.org/help.
How will leaders know who needs to take the training?
A list of members who need to complete the training will soon be available in the Leader and Clerk Resources section of ChurchofJesusChrist.org and will be updated regularly.
Does this take the place of BSA’s Youth Protection training?
Leaders registered in Scouting should also complete the required BSA Youth Protection training through 2019.
As a priesthood leader, what do I need to know before extending a call?
Leaders and teachers of children and youth are asked to complete the training, if possible, within one month of being sustained.
Is this training available in multiple languages?
The training is not currently available in languages other than English, but the plan is to eventually offer it in multiple languages.
Can anyone take this training?
Yes. In addition to those working with children and youth, parents and others are also welcome to complete the training.
If you need help setting up an account to access Church resources, see your ward or stake clerk. You can also talk to your leaders if you need access to a computer to complete the training.
What if my question isn’t answered here?
Please send your question by clicking Feedback here or at the bottom of the page.
- Counseling Resources: Abuse (Help for the Victim) for Ward and Stake Leaders
- Gospel Topics: Abuse
- “Protecting Members and Reporting Abuse” (abuse.ChurchofJesusChrist.org)
Additional Resources and Information
- Child Welfare Information Gateway
- Children’s Bureau
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network
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