Our mandate as child advocates is to ensure that all children within our care and those we interact with every day enjoy a loving and safe environment.
We are committed to protecting children from all forms of abuse and exploitation. Our board policy communicates this clearly by stating that:
“Concern for children is the cornerstone upon which Compassion International has been built. We are opposed to all forms of abuse and exploitation and will do everything within our power to ensure that no harm comes to any child registered in our program due to his or her involvement in the ministry of Compassion International.”
By protecting children, we are responding to Christ’s mandate to care for and protect His little ones. Each of our country offices and church partners are required to designate one staff member as having child protection responsibilities within his or her role.
The Child Protection Officer is responsible for activities pertaining to training, advocacy, prevention and handling of child abuse allegations. For Compassion Ecuador, Mario Cobo has been given this key responsibility.
Why do you think the role of Child Protection Officer is important?
The Bible isn’t silent about the children; on the contrary, what it says about them is a clear example of God’s will on behalf of the kids. We need to take all the children and teenagers seriously because God does!
The thing that may wake God’s anger the most is those who make children “stumble.” Our Heavenly Father sends angels to protect the little children and guarantee them special access to the Kingdom and His presence.
Millions of children face harsh circumstances all over the world. But the most important point is that we find children from our own ecclesiastic communities, who live under conditions of extreme poverty. The Church has the unconditional obligation to serve the most vulnerable members of our societies, to speak up for them, to raise its voice for those who cannot defend themselves. All of us, the people who follow Jesus’ steps, are called to show God’s love to the children.
This is why we believe that the important role of a Child Protection Officer must be reflected by every single church partner working day by day with the children from our country. This is the reason why we developed a program for all the partners to protect the children; we are responsible.
What are the major responsibilities of the Child Protection Officer?
- To manage the strategy for child protection countrywide with a training program and an educational package for 100 percent of our church partners.
- To follow up on cases of abuse with the help of each facilitator in the field.
- To train the health tutors at the child development centers on how to handle the delicate topic of child abuse.
- To promote strategic dialogue with institutions that have proven experience and expertise on this topic in order to improve our work in the field.
Can you briefly explain how child protection is facilitated through the country office for the child development centers?
As a country office, we have developed an educational package about protection for our boys, girls and adolescents. The name of this package is “Children, God’s image.”
Our training team has already worked on this topic with 100 percent of our Partnership Facilitators and 100 percent of our church partners and their personnel. Each participant received a certificate as a children’s advocate. It’s important to mention that this educational package also has material for the parents.
The church staff, especially the health tutors, have been trained to teach the children to protect and take care of themselves and identify cases of potential abuse (legal, health, psychological and spiritual).
We are currently talking with different institutions working in the field of child protection to create strategic alliances that enable us to support the churches in the field with more training.
From the country office and through our team of facilitators, all specific cases of mistreated or abused children are followed up on. We have worked in the legal area with lawyers, reported cases to the respective institutions, provided health care and psychological follow-ups, worked on spiritually strengthening the child and his/her family, and supported the church’s actions on anything related to following up these cases.
What is your interest or passion for child protection?
To protect children from abuse is a very important issue for our society, our family, our church and most of all, for the main subjects of the kingdom of God: our boys and girls.
From my perspective as a son of God who works at an institution that advocates for all children in Jesus’ name, we look for all the members of our church partners and Compassion International offices to share and support our organization’s values, especially when it comes to showing respect and providing protection to our boys, girls and adolescents.
We must be aware of the needs that our little children have around the world. The rate of child abuse is increasing and becoming more and more alarming. This situation does not exclude the children who are part of our program; these kids’ dignity is what we will never stop fighting for.
Read about how Compassion Indonesia is protecting the children our program serves.