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Protecting children has always been a major MEL priority, and it is up to all of us to do everything possible to prevent and report child abuse.

Child abuse is a major challenge facing many community institutions including churches, sports programs, and organizations providing a broad range of services to youth. Municipalities are at risk because they are a major source of youth recreation, daycare and other direct service programs.

To address this challenge, MEL has developed a model policies and procedures document, “Addressing the Protection and Safe Treatment of Minors (revised 6/21),” for our members that ensure that programs include the safeguards and protections needed when providing services for children.

MEL has developed specific training programs for elected officials and for the managers, supervisors and volunteers involved in programs serving children. Our goal: to reach more than 100,000 officials and staff members with these programs. Training programs for police officers and EMS responders are also included. The training assists members in recognizing issues affecting children and understanding their responsibility to act in the child’s best interest. 

The “Protecting Children from Abuse” video is available and we have developed an accompanying Protecting Children Resource Guide. The video is available for public viewing on the website and as part of the elected official’s training program through and the MSI Learning Management Portal, which will record your participation, click here for instructions. Click here for the MSI LIVE schedule for the Risk Management Course for Managers & Supervisors for 2021.

The MEL also provides an annual training program for camp counselors which includes vital information regarding the safe treatment and protection of children. The training is mandatory for all camp counselors and establishes best practices for part-time summer employees.

Our focus on our children is another major step forward in achieving our vision: a culture of safety in all of the communities and organizations we serve throughout New Jersey.

Please review the resource materials and links below. Printed copies of the Resource Guide and DVD’s are available.

Resources

Leadership Message about the Protecting Children Initiative from the Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund (MEL JIF) and the New Jersey Residual Claims Fund

Protecting Children Resource Guide

League of Municipalities Magazine: MEL Article on Protecting Children Initiative

Legal Decisions: Child Abuse and Protection

Background Checks Vendors

At the March meeting, the Board authorized the release of a Request for Qualifications to qualify vendors able to provide Background Checks.  The MEL’s “Protecting Children From Abuse” model policy calls for increased background checks and members were looking for assistance in identifying vendors. We have received submissions from the following 5 vendors. Click here to view the list of responders and related documents.