The Samaritan Counseling Center’s mission begins and ends with people and our community.


PA Changes FBI Fingerprinting Process for Mandated Reporters

December 2017                                                                                                                    by Linda Crockett

Engage: Youth Ministry & Contemporary Issues – Pastor or Predator? Sexual Misconduct in Youth Ministry

August 2017                                                                                                                  by Linda Crockett and 5 others |Princeton Theological Seminary Institute for Youth Ministry

Child on Child Sexual Abuse

May 23, 2017                                                                                                                           by Linda Crockett | Letter to the Editor – LNP

PA Mandated Reporting Update – Human Trafficking

May 22, 2017                                                                                                                           by Linda Crockett, Director of Safe Church/Safe Places

2016 Samaritan Annual Report Safe Church section

PA Mandated Reporting Misperceptions

February 20, 2017
by Linda Crockett, Director of Safe Church/Safe Places

Eliminating the Statutes of Limitations in Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) Cases in PA

May 12, 2016
by Linda Crockett, Director of Safe Church/Safe Places

Child sex-abuse victims deserve time to seek justice

Linda Crockett | Special to LNP
October 9, 2015

Making places of worship safe havens for children

Louis A. Butcher Jr. | Matters of Faith
October 11, 2015

Changes for PA Churches: Non-resident volunteers, Minor Employees, Exchange Visitors, and more Swear or Affirm Statements

September 3, 2015
by Linda Crockett, Director of Safe Church/Safe Places

In our July 24 update, we covered a number of the changes to PA’s Child Protective Services Law set forth in HB 1276, signed by Governor Wolf on July 1, 2015. In this update, we highlight more changes resulting from HB 1276, specifically on non-resident volunteers, minor employees, employee requirements for “Swear or Affirm” statements, and exchange visitors. We also provide information about how your congregation can join the next Lancaster based SafeChurch Cluster, how to get trained as a SafeChurch facilitator, and our updated SafeChurch DVD. Click here to read the article.

More Legislative Changes for PA Churches in July 2015!

July 24, 2015
by Linda Crockett, Director of Safe Church/Safe Places

On July 1, 2015 Governor Tom Wolf signed HB 1276, aimed at clarifying some of the ambiguous language in the slew of more than 20 bills reforming PA’s Child Protective Services law passed in 2014. We will highlight these changes in several articles over the next few months, so be sure to check back on our website to see the latest updates. Click here to read this article.

Update on Clearance Fees

June 15, 2015
by Linda Crockett, Director of Safe Church/Safe Places

On June 10, 2015, Governor Tom Wolf announced that the processing fees for Child Abuse Clearances and PA Criminal Record Checks will be eliminated for volunteers working with children, and cut from $10 each to $8 each for employees, beginning July 25, 2015. This change is not dependent on any legislative action. This action by the governor does not affect the fees charged for FBI fingerprint checks for employees and for volunteers who have not lived in Pennsylvania for 10 years. Those fees are not controlled by the state and will still be in force.  Click here to read this article.

Changes for PA Churches

January 28, 2015
by Linda Crockett, Director of Safe Church/Safe Places

• DHS gives current volunteers, but not new volunteers, background check grace period
• Who needs to get trained under the new law?
• On-line reporting system goes live

Volunteers working with children became mandated reporters effective December 31, 2014, entering a whole new “world” of compliance and responsibility under the law. During 2014, 23 bills regarding PA’s Child Protection Laws were signed into law. We provided some guidance and updates in our CHANGES FOR CHURCHES series to congregations beyond those in our Samaritan SafeChurch program, which works with groups of 7-10 congregations over a one year period to shift culture so that adults become proactive about protecting children from sexual – and other – forms of abuse, not only in church but in our communities.  Click here to read this article.

New PA Clearances for Those Who Work With Children

October 16, 2014
by Linda Crockett, Director of Safe Church/Safe Places

Church employees and volunteers that are responsible for caring for children in a regularly scheduled program, activity or service are required by PA Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) to obtain specific background checks, or “certifications”, and repeat them every 36 months.  The insitution and staff member supervising each volunteer or employee are legally required to obtain these clearances, and are subject to prosecution for deliberately failing to do so.

Click here to read this article.

Big Changes for Churches:  New PA Child Abuse Reporting Laws

September 5, 2014
by Linda Crockett, Director of Safe Church/Safe Places

You may have seen reports over the past few months about changes in PA’s Child Abuse reporting laws.  As of September 1, 2014, more than 20 pieces of legislation have been signed by Governor Corbett related to protecting children from abuse.  The legislation significantly expands the universe of people considered “mandated reporters” and increases penalties for failure to report suspected abuse.

Many of these changes stem from recommendations of the 2012 Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection, which was formed in the wake of the Penn State Sandusky case.  Most of the changes are effective 12/31/14.  It is important that church leaders upgrade policies, training and procedures prior to the effective date(s) of this legislation.

Click here to read this article.

Ending Child Sexual Abuse – What Will It Take?

by Linda Crockett, Director of Safe Church/Safe Places

The Ms. Foundation believes that ending child sexual abuse is one of the most strategic things we can do to improve women’s lives across the lifespan. I could not agree more – because sexual abuse can take a young girl who believes she can do anything and turn her into a girl who believes she can do nothing – and even worse, is worth nothing.  Click here to read this article.

A Faith Community Call to Action: Penn State Lessons as Catalyst for Change

by Linda Crockett, Director of Safe Church/Safe Places

No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders. You will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise. Isaiah 60:18 (NIV)
No matter what our faith tradition, I think most of us could agree that this vision of the prophet Isaiah is one we want our congregations, and communities, to live into. However, this vision cannot be realized without intention and hard work.  Click here to read this article.

SafeChurch Focus

Building. . .

a faith-based movement to end Child Sexual Abuse

Moving. . .

beyond first generation “safe church policies and training” to shifting culture to inspire and equip adults to protect children from sexual harm in church and community

Connecting. . .

with others sharing a vision where people of faith take leadership to end the conditions that allow one in four girls and one in six boys to be sexually abused

Engaging. . .

survivors as sources of wisdom and leaders

Partnering. . .

with the Just Beginnings Collaborative to End Child Sexual Abuse