The Baltimore Child Abuse Center recently announced the creation of its Blueprint for Child Protection program, which will assist in training Jewish organizations like day schools, camps and synagogues to adopt new policies and procedures regarding instances of abuse.
The organization is the recipient of a grant from the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Foundation, which will fund the program’s implementation.
In October 2016, The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore organized the Community Impact Investment Summit and solicited proposals from nonprofit and philanthropic organizations to effect significant change in the Baltimore Jewish community. BCAC pitched Blueprint, which wound up as one of 11 programs selected for funding.
“One of the things we’ve seen is that we can make the most impact with youth serving organizations by giving them the tools and the training to help them protect the children in their midst,” said Adam Rosenberg, BCAC’s executive director. “Frankly, most organizations don’t have any policies or procedures when it comes to child protection, so many youth-serving organizations don’t know what to do.”
Rosenberg, a member of Temple Oheb Shalom who used to work for The Associated, said he frequently returns to a lesson he learned from president and CEO Marc Terrill: People support what they help create.
So the organizations that will be served by Blueprint will also be part of the process in determining exactly what those polices and procedures should be.
“At the end of our three-year grant period, we’d like to, in essence, walk away from it and leave these tools and this knowledge with the community,” said Rosenberg. “It would be ineffective if we were policing the community and doing the training every year. But if we can teach them to do this themselves, it’s something that lasts a lifetime.”
Rosenberg recognizes that child abuse is not an issue that is specific or endemic to the Jewish community, so he is hopeful that a successful rollout of the Blueprint program will serve as a template for a national protocol.
“The Catholic Church began grappling with this issue of sexual abuse by clergy more than 15 years ago,” he said. “The rest of us, the Jewish community and other communities, are just playing catch-up now. Some of the things we’re proposing are not necessarily revolutionary, they’re just things that are long overdue.”
— Connor Graham