Catholic News Service
May 30, 2019
By Francis Njuguna
Catholic bishops of East Africa have introduced a handbook to assist church leaders develop standards to safeguard the safety of children.
Titled “Child Safeguarding – Standards and Guidelines: A Catholic Guide for Policy Development” was introduced May 29 in the Kenyan capital May 29 by the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa, known as AMECEA.
The release followed a three-day child safety seminar May 28-30 attended by bishops, clergy, religious men and women and laypeople working in various ministries.
George Thuku, AMECEA’s child protection officer, said the handbook is expected to be used by each national bishops’ conference throughout the region as they establish their own safeguarding policies.
“Each of the national episcopal conferences should ensure that it has officially launched its national policy on the issue, child safeguarding,” Thuku said.
Father Emmanuel Chimombo, director of AMECEA’s Pastoral Department, explained that the handbook sets the minimum requirements for individual bishops’ conferences to follow.
“The document is not everything, but has a minimum standards and guidelines that the church in the region can effectively use to tackle matters pertaining to the child safeguarding and protection,” he said.
The handbook includes guidelines on funding the establishment and implementation of child protection policies.
“There should be other avenues through which the issue (of) child safeguarding and protection could equally be tackled under some of the already existing policies within the church structure,” Thuku said during the handbook’s introduction.
Afterward, the release, Archbishop Ignatius Chama of Kasama, Zambia, told Catholic News Service that the handbook builds on the discussions by the heads of the world’s bishops’ conferences during the Vatican summit on child protection in February.
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