Over the past decades OMF has continued to develop awareness, support and training to better care for the missionary family. There are a variety of policies and practises that focus on enabling families to thrive in cross cultural ministry. Below you will find an outline of one aspect of our commitment to care for families, Child Protection.
Policy: A comprehensive Child Safety Policy is a key part of the Members’ Handbook, which all existing and new OMF members agree to abide by, signing a ‘Terms of Agreement’ or ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ document to formalize their commitment.
Screening: All those (members, short-term workers and volunteers) who will work with children are required to undergo extra screening, beyond the normal application process with references. The extra screening includes a requirement for references specifically related to the applicant’s work with children, and criminal records check, where available.
Training: A foundational level Child Safety training, ‘Everyone’s Responsibility,’ is mandatory for all members, regardless of the nature of their ministry, and is repeated every three years. OMF continues to develop additional training provided more frequently for those directly involved with children as part of their ministry.
International Child Safety Officer takes responsibility for seeing that any reports of potential abuse, or similar concerns, are handled quickly, sensitively and appropriately, following the established procedures. The ICSO has a dedicated email address to which confidential matters can be addressed. OMF will follow up on any such report. The ICSO is supported by local Child Safety Officers in each OMF Center. The local CSO, working together with the TCK Advisor, is responsible for Child Protection in their Center.
Accountability of Boarding Home personnel: The Boarding Co-ordinator provides direct accountability for Boarding Home parents and assistants for the overall quality of the boarding program in OMF. In addition, there is in place an Advocate for all Boarding Homes – this is a person based locally, not a member of the boarding team, known to students in the boarding home and available to them if they wish to raise concerns in confidence about any aspect of the boarding home life.
Interagency Collaboration: OMF works with the US-based Child Safety and Protection network (CSPN), UK’s Church Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) and others to access specialist training, up to date resources and policy development in international best practices.
Within OMF protocol, policy, procedures and training for child safety and protection have progressed and improved greatly. OMF is committed to continue to review, grow and develop in this area.