Mrs. Gifty Otu-Appiah, the wife of the Winneba Area Head of The Church of Pentecost, has called on Church leaders and Children’s Ministry workers to endeavour to make the church the safest place for children.
According to her, the local church bears a significant responsibility in safeguarding children not only within the church premises but also wherever dangers may arise.
Mrs. Appiah gave this advice yesterday when she delivered a presentation at the Foundation Builders Conference 2023, held at the Pentecost Convention Centre (PCC) in Gomoa Fetteh.
Addressing the participants on the topic of “Ensuring Child Safety in/By the Local Church,” Mrs. Otu-Appiah defined child safety as the measures and practices put in place to protect children from harm, injury, abuse, or danger.
She emphasized that child safety encompasses various aspects of a child’s well-being, including their physical, emotional, and psychological security.
She further explained that child safety measures involve creating a secure environment that promotes healthy development and protects children from potential risks or threats.
Mrs. Otu-Appiah also noted the importance of identifying potential hazards, implementing preventive measures, and educating both children and caregivers about safety practices.
She highlighted the need for identifying signs of potential harm, responding to allegations or suspicions of abuse, providing support and services to protect children, and holding accountable those who have harmed them.
Mrs. Otu-Appiah emphasized that the primary goal of child protection is to ensure that all children are safe and free from harm, including physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence.
To promote child safety, Mrs. Otu-Appiah advocated that the local church should empower Children’s Ministry workers, establish systems that limit access to children for potential abusers, as well as educate and empower children to participate in their own safety and prevention efforts.
She also stressed the importance of educating parents, guardians, and the community on child abuse prevention and the need to intervene if harm occurs.
Drawing from biblical teachings, Mrs. Otu-Appiah emphasized that God calls the church to be advocates for children and therefore called upon all members of the local church to uphold the biblical mandate of child safety.
She further outlined practical ways in which the local church can ensure child safety. These measures included implementing screening and background checks, developing comprehensive child protection policies, providing training and education for all child workers, ensuring proper supervision and accountability in all activities, securing facilities, maintaining check-in and check-out procedures, and maintaining open communication with parents and caregivers.
She also emphasized the importance of responding to all safety concerns, developing and practicing emergency preparedness plans, and regularly reviewing and updating safety measures.
Mrs. Otu-Appiah ended her presentation by charging church leaders and Children’s Ministry workers to make child safety a top priority, creating an environment that honours children’s God-given dignity and eliminates the chance for abuse and harm.