Dear Denominational Colleagues and Members of Executive Committee:
On behalf of the New York State Council of Churches, I am writing to ask for your support of the Child Abuse Reporting Expansion Act (CARE Act) which will require clergy in New York to be mandated reporters for child abuse. For those of you who have served in other states where mandated reporting has been a requirement for many years, it may come as a surprise to you that there is no such requirement in New York. This must change! Denominations in other states were at the forefront of requiring mandated reporting and we need to offer the same leadership in our state. To view what other states (33 total) already require clergy explicitly or implicitly to be mandated reporters, click here.
I invite you to sign this letter as a judicatory leader and/or Executive Committee Member. Please share it with your board chairs, colleagues and fellow clergy and ask them to sign it as well. This letter was prepared in consultation with CFCTOO which was started by survivors of abuse at Christian Fellowship Center in Northern New York. They have experienced spiritual, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of CFC leaders and members. At considerable risk, they have bravely brought this legislation forward to the Assembly and the Senate. Click here to read the legislation which is sponsored by Assembly Member Monica Wallace and Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal. It would legally require clergy to function as mandated reporters in instances of suspected child sexual and physical abuse.
Abbi Nye and Michelle Wilbur and others from CFCTOO have asked the New York State Council of Churches to support them. I joined Abbi and Michelle along with other clergy and survivors for a press conference and number of lobby visits which were positively received by both Democrat and Republican lawmakers. I promised to Abbi and Michelle that I would build support by urging our ecumenical and interfaith partners to sign a letter of support. To learn more about the bill and CFCtoo go to their website at WWW.cfctoo.com.
Please note that there will be a press conference in support of the CARE Act on the Million Dollar Staircase at the Capital on Wednesday, May 31 at 11:00. If you can join us, please let me know.
Again, click here to sign the letter. If you have questions please contact me, Peter Cook, Executive Director, New York State Council of Churches at [email protected] or 508-380-8289. Thank you for your prayerful consideration.
The Reverend Peter Cook
New York State Council of Churches
85 Chestnut Street, Albany, New York 12210
518-436-9319 Work, 508-380-8289 Mobile