Safeguarding God’s Children
Safeguarding God’s Children (SGC) is a training program for child sexual abuse awareness. The program provides participants information they need to protect the children they know and care for in their personal lives and in the ministries in which they serve.
If every adult can protect just one child, they will forever change one life. If we can all change one life, together we will make a difference in this generation of children.
All clergy whether stipendiary, non-stipendiary, or otherwise who are engaged in ministry or service to the church; all persons who teach, supervise or assist with supervising children or youth in ministries, programs or activities more often than occasionally. All paid or volunteer Church Personnel whose work regularly takes them throughout the facility or grounds; all persons who provide transportation to children or youth without other adults in the vehicle more than occasionally; all vestry members or members of similar decision making groups who have the authority to approve the creation of ministries, programs or activities for children or youth.
Those required to take SGC training are to take group training offered by trained and certified diocesan and parish trainers as well as online modules offered through Praesidium Academy. This training is good for three years. Re-certification must be completed every three years to comply with the diocesan policy.
All church personnel (paid and volunteer) in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta are considered “Mandated Reporters” and are required by this policy and by Georgia law, to report known or suspected abuse of children or youth to the appropriate state authorities.
By Georgia law, an oral report shall be made immediately, but in no case later than 24 hours from the time there is reasonable cause to believe a child has been abused, by telephone or otherwise and followed by a report in writing, if requested, to a child welfare agency providing protective services, as designated by the Department of Human Services, or, in the absence of such agency, to an appropriate police authority or district attorney. A report to the Rector or other Clergyperson in charge of a parish may constitute fulfilling the above, providing that the clergyperson follows through with the reporting within the 24-hour period and that no changes are made in the report itself.
Reports are taken 24 hours a day by calling 1-855-GA CHILD (1-855-422-4453). If unable to reach DFCS, or if the child is in immediate danger, report to local law enforcement (911) or the district attorney in the county where the child lives.
For additional information:
Reporting Suspected Sex Abuse
All parishes must submit this form annually and return to the Diocese of Atlanta no later than March 31.