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Company helps churches against predators

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–The Louisiana Baptist Convention has begun offering its churches the services of a Texas-based company as a way to combat child sexual predators.

The company, Child Guard Systems, Inc. (www.childguardsystems.com), provides a comprehensive child protection program for churches via a simple, web-based compliant program. The company seeks to keep sexual predators out of volunteer and staff positions.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry approximately 80,000 cases of sexual molestation are reported every year. That statistic doesn’t account for the unreported cases where shame and disinformation prevail over action.

“We want every local church to be a positive experience for every child,” said David E. Hankins, executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. “The vast majority of our Louisiana Baptist churches work very hard at assuring that children are protected. Churches need to be very careful and do their best to lower the risk of harm to children. We want to provide links to resource providers so that churches can acquire the best tools and increase the level of safety for children.”

Child molestation perpetrators have been known to use both church staff positions volunteer positions to target their prey. Experts say churches need a clear policy where workers are trained and a criminal background check for each staff/volunteer worker is performed.

Arthur Benson, a spokesperson for Child Guard Systems, Inc., said his company provides a cost-effective method that can certify every volunteer and staff person who works directly or indirectly with minors. The company does background checks and even trains and tests applicants to demonstrate comprehension.

This process not only helps protect children but also provides evidence against liability in cases where the church is included in a civil lawsuit.

The company also provides photo identification badges with both child and parent information encoded in a magnetic stripe. The card is swiped when a child is dropped off at the church and again when picked up. The church will have real time documented proof of when and who dropped off a child at the nursery or children’s department at the local church facility. There is also a record of when the child is picked up. The card also can be encoded with the child’s medical and emergency information.

For additional information, visit the company’s website, www.childguardsystems.com

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