Ashland City, TN (PressExposure) November 17, 2009 -- The co-founders of Keeping Kids Safe Ministries, Steve Vann and Greg Sporer, are pleased to announce the development of an international certification program that will be available to churches everywhere in 2010. The purpose of this program is to train youth workers and church leaders about how to work with the prevalent number of sexual abusers who attend church and to develop accountability standards related to the church's safety regarding this issue.
The leaders of Keeping Kids Safe Ministries have spent thousands of hours studying the problem of sexual abuse within church congregations and personally evaluated many church members who have admitted to being abusers. The culmination of their two decades of research is found in a new and comprehensive certification program that includes ongoing training, risk assessment, a follow-up audit of the church's compliance with accountability standards, and accessible consultants.
The ministry is effective because it addresses the source of the problem--the church member who is hiding his history, or perhaps just proclivity, as an abuser. The counselors teach those enrolled in the certification program that these offenders are attending worship as part of their spiritual recovery or perhaps in an attempt to stop their destructive behavior, while still others attend to seek more victims. Rather than alienate the sexual abusers, Keeping Kids Safe teaches participants in the program to reach out to them in a way that maintains the safety of the entire congregation.
Churches and their leaders are currently not held to any standards when it comes to protecting children. Many leaders are not even comfortable addressing the problem of sexual abuse within their congregations. With an estimated 18% to 24% of sexual abusers considered to be regular churchgoers, the need for an educated church staff cannot be minimized. By working with Keeping Kids Safe Ministries and completing certification, churches will be equipped to minister to offenders, enforce safety standards, and present an environment that members of the community can trust.
Keeping Kids Safe Ministries already has an impressive track record in working with churches and other religious groups. The ministry has served in churches in thirty-five states as well as with Focus on the Family and the Agape Counseling Center. The work of the ministry has been a consultant for featured stories on the ABC Nightly News with Charles Gibson, WSMV Nashville, the Salon magazine, and many other highly recognized news organizations. The reputation that Keeping Kids Safe Ministries has earned lends even more credibility to its latest efforts concerning church certification. "The men and women who serve with Keeping Kids Safe Ministries are dedicated to the idea that churches need to be safe places and that church leaders need help in creating that environment," shares co-founder Greg Sporer. "We are excited about expanding our certification program and reaching as many congregations as possible."