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RCA Urges Strengthening of Synagogue and School Policies  
Policies Headlines
Dec 12, 2012 -- Dear Chaverim,

We are proud that the RCA has become a strong voice in advocating accountability and responsibility in the Jewish community's response to child abuse. Just this week, we have been quoted in the Washington Post's article, "Orthodox rabbis laud conviction of Hasidic man on sexual abuse charges," and The New York Jewish Week's Weberman Convicted on All Counts."

As a first step in fulfilling our commitment that "in light of the issues raised in [the Weberman] trial the RCA commits itself to increasing the training of its members who serve in all areas of the rabbinate, including pulpits, education, chaplaincy, and communal service, to know how to recognize, prevent, and respond appropriately to issues of child abuse. In addition, the RCA will help its members develop policies regarding prevention and response to issues of child abuse in their individual congregations and schools, as well as in their larger communities, and, where nonexistent, to support the creation of response teams that include mental health practitioners, law-enforcement personnel, and specially trained rabbis to respond to allegations of abuse and molestation," we urge our chaverim to review their institutions' policies regarding prevention and response to child abuse.

The following links are just a few valuable resources available that deal with concerns and responses to child abuse that will help you understand the issues, evaluate your policies, and to (re)establish (more) responsible protocols. Your own insurance companies can be very helpful as well. These initiatives should be undertaken with your lay leadership, legal advisers, child welfare experts, and other community resources. Local Jewish Family and Child Services and other child welfare agencies are important and eager resources for you.

With my background in this area, I am always available as a resource to you and your community. As well, there are other chaverim in the RCA with education, training, and professional experience who are eager to be of assistance. Please, don't hesitate to call.

A Coordinated Response to Child Abuse and Neglect: The Foundation for Practice (Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, Children's Bureau)

Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-serving Organizations: Getting Started on Policies and Procedures (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Model Policies for the Protection of Children and Youth from Abuse (Church Pension Group)

Child and Youth Abuse Prevention Program for Religious Organizations (Church Mutual Insurance Company)

Aleinu School Conduct Policy and Behavioral Standards (Aleinu Family Resource Center, Los Angeles)

Protective practices for staff in their interactions with children and young people (Government of South Australia, Department of Education and Children's Services)

Mark Dratch
Executive Vice President

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