News Updates

  • The Evangelical Council for Abuse Prevention (ECAP) has released “ground-breaking” standards for child safety and opened them for public review,

    April 03, 2021
    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Evangelical Council for Abuse Prevention (ECAP) has released “ground-breaking” standards for child safety and opened them for public review, March 1. The standards are offered to assist ministries of all kinds as they work to protect children in their care.
    The ECAP standards were developed by a team of experts, including Melodie Bissell, President of Plan to Protect and other ministry practitioners, reviewed by a team of attorneys, and approved for public review by the ECAP board of directors. A full list of persons who helped develop the standards is available on the ECAP website. ECAP seeks to bring support, resources, and sustainability to the realm of child safety, especially within the evangelical world, which has witnessed abuse within its ranks and the surrounding culture. 
    “Our aim is to honor the name of Christ by equipping and educating ministry leaders to protect the vulnerable in their care,” said Jeff Dalrymple, Executive Director of ECAP. “This is a matter of biblical stewardship, and we want to see Christian schools, churches, and ministries become safe places for our little ones to hear the gospel, grow as disciples of Christ, and be protected from harm.”
    The ECAP standards address issues of organizational governance, volunteer and employee screening and training, how to respond to a variety of circumstances, and more, with numerous suggestions for best practices. ECAP has made these standards available for public review from March 1 through April 30, seeking feedback that is either specific or general, as well feedback that identifies areas that need clarification or are missing information. 
    “ECAP’s standards and the rest of its work is ground-breaking and extremely important for churches and other ministries seeking to protect children and uphold high standards,” said Sally Wagenmaker, an attorney serving as the organization’s general counsel. “I can’t wait to see ministries using ECAP’s valuable accreditation standards and related tools — for improved child safety, better risk management, and the glory of God in all they do.”
    The standards will serve as the basis for an accreditation program, which has been developed in partnership with the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), an organization representing 25,000 Christian schools in 108 countries serving more than 5.5 million students. The standards and accreditation program will give Christian organizations resources that protect them from making false assumptions in regard to child abuse — assumptions that abuse will not happen, that offenders are readily identifiable, and that their organizations are already safe. The ECAP standards will help prevent abuse and inform an appropriate response when an incident occurs. 
    “We must never be silent in the face of abuse,” said Jenna Quinn, author of Pure In Heart: A Memoir of Overcoming Abuse and Passing Jenna’s Law. “Communities of faith should not only seek to protect the vulnerable, but also seek to love the wounded and victimized. Although I grieve that such an organization is necessary, ECAP is committed to creating standards to prevent, report, and respond redemptively to sexual abuse. When abuse and its effects are minimized, we lose an opportunity to shine the light of the gospel in a dark place. I'm grateful for the work of ECAP and pray that every organization will see its value.” 
    “All those interested in the safety and well-being of children in the care of evangelical ministries are encouraged to carefully review the standards and offer suggestions for improvements, additions, and other thoughtful feedback,” said Dalrymple. “We are especially interested in receiving the input of frontline ministry workers and leaders.” 
    To review the standards, visit the ECAP site at www.ecap.net/standards, where feedback can be offered online. Following review of the feedback, ECAP expects to release the final standards on the ECAP website at a later date.
    --30--
    ABOUT ECAP: The Evangelical Council for Abuse Prevention was formed as a national organization in June 2019 in response to a growing awareness of the problem of sexual abuse within evangelical churches and ministries. ECAP seeks to offer a proactive, comprehensive solution for protecting children and the vulnerable from abuse within evangelical ministries. ECAP will offer accreditation to ministries that commit to operate according to standards for addressing and preventing abuse of children in their care. 
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Media Contact:
    Jeff Dalrymple
    Executive Director
    Evangelical Council for Abuse Prevention

    Melodie Bissell
    President
    Plan to Protect
    mbissell@plantoprotect.com
  • Business grant allows local enterprise to keep team intact.

    June 29, 2020

    Business grant allows local enterprise to keep team intact.

    The Canadian Chamber of Commerce recently announced Plan to Protect as a recipient of a $10,000 grant from the Canadian Business Resilience Network Small Business Relief Fund.

    Melodie Bissell is the Founder and President of Plan to Protect, a social enterprise located in Stouffville that provides abuse prevention and protection to organizations servicing the vulnerable sector globally. The company services 12,500 volunteer-driven organizations in North America including care homes, sports clubs, churches, community clubs, municipalities, and transportation companies.

    “On behalf of Plan to Protect we are so grateful for this grant,” says Bissell. “COVID-19 has impacted so many businesses, us included.  It is devastating after spending so many years growing the business to have the phones stop ringing and witness revenue streams come to a halting stop. Our world has changed, business is no longer, business as usual, but the needs have not changed. Children, youth and vulnerable adults still need protection and safety.  I am so grateful for the Chamber and SalesForce Canada recognizing the work we do. This grant will enable us to continue to keep our team intact, enabling us to meet ongoing needs within our communities.”

    More than 1100 small businesses across Canada applied for the 62 grants available. The recipients were those that best demonstrated how the business will use the grant to change or innovate, how the change or innovation will sustain the business’s recovery and allow it to prosper, and how the grant will support the role each business plays in their community.

    “We have seen businesses all over Stouffville working hard to adapt to this unprecedented time.  Plan to Protect is a shining example of what a great organization can do, even when faced with significant obstacles.  We are proud to have them as a member.”  Karen Wootton, Executive Director, Stouffville Chamber of Commerce.

    The fund was managed by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and made possible through the generosity of Salesforce.

    “We saw how determined these entrepreneurs are to preserve their employees’ jobs and to serve their customers and their communities.” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber.

    “It has been incredible to see the resilience coming from Canada’s small business owners over the last few months. We know it hasn’t been easy,” said Margaret Stuart, Canada Country Manager, Salesforce. “The applicants have further demonstrated what we at Salesforce already knew to be true – that Canada is rich with innovation and entrepreneurial talent. We’re hopeful that these grants will provide essential support to small business owners as they return to work.”

    A complete list of the winners can be found here.

    Click here for the local press release.

  • Tori Bissell Packs Her Bags for Africa Long Term

    February 26, 2019

    I’m writing with both exciting news and sad news. In the Fall, I accepted Tori’s resignation from Plan to Protect® and her role with as Director of Training effective May 31, 2019. 

    This marks a new chapter for her, as she moves to Rift Valley Academy in Kenya, Africa to serve as Child Safety Coordinator. What a wonderful role for her combining her teaching degree, her calling to missions, and her six years of experience with Plan to Protect®.  

    At Plan to Protect® we are heartbroken to have Tori leave our team for she has made tremendous contributions to Plan to Protect® including the development of our on-line school www.plantoprotectschool.com, our on-line certification training, the development of our second level certification training, our Crisis Management Certification course, redesign of our website, and launch of PROTECT magazine.  Her passion, dedication and creativity have made a lasting impact – she will be dearly missed. 

    But we are also thrilled and overjoyed to see the calling on her life to protect 500 missionary children and nationals that live in a boarding school setting away from their parents.  We know her education and experience will have such a significant impact on an institution that is 100+ years old, employs many staff, and serves many families, denominations, mission organizations. (As you can imagine as Tori’s mom, I am really proud of the woman Tori has become).

    We have begun the search process to find a candidate to replace Tori.  If you are interested in reviewing the job posting, please check out the career section of our website.

    If Tori has made an impact on you or your organization, would you consider taking a moment during the next few months to drop her an email, I am sure will encourage her heart. If you would like to receive Tori’s newsletter, learn more about this new adventure, or how you can help, please send her an email to let her know.   Tori's email is tori.bissell@aimint.org

    I am sure you will agree with the team of Plan to Protect®, we are very sad to see Tori leave, but eager to hear how Tori applies her knowledge and experience to Rift Valley Academy. We know that Rift Valley Academy will be blessed by her dedication and commitment to safety and protection. 

  • Plan to Protect® partners with ScreeningCanada, the online background screening web application

    September 11, 2018
    We have some exciting news for you. Plan to Protect® has partnered with ScreeningCanada, the online background screening web application created for the Canadian marketplace. We now have our own private-labelled, third-party Enhanced Criminal Record Checks.  The web application facilitates the ordering, processing, and delivery of Canadian searches in real-time, securely, accurately, and with confidence. This will replace the service we currently have been offering with Sterling Talent Solutions. Our new platform comes highly recommended:  
     
    Plan to Protect® is Canada’s leading training and policy company focused on assisting organizations working with children and other vulnerable groups. They have filled a desperate need in the marketplace and worked tirelessly on behalf of their clients to provide the best strategies and resources for keeping kids and staff safe. Plan to Protect® is continuously researching the best solutions possible for their client, and they have concluded that the ScreeningCanada platform is the right partner for Plan to Protect® going forward. This platform provides the very latest technology to facilitate the best possible enhanced criminal record checks, identification verification and customer support. Plan to Protect® has worked with ScreeningCanada to design functionality that works for Plan to Protect®clients. My companies have screened over 8 million Canadians and I know what a quality screening process looks like. Plan to Protect® is indeed the leader in their space. 

    ~ Dave Dinesen, (Founder, and past president and CEO, BackCheck?) ~

    Our process supports Canadian Privacy legislation, Data Protection Laws and Human Rights that vary considerably from other countries, and may be different from province to province.
     

    This decision has been made after much consideration and research and in consultation with Canada’s leading experts in third-party Criminal Record Checks.  For us, it came down to finding a solution to provide you with a much better customer service experience with the same savings as you have had in the past with Plan to Protect® for both staff members and volunteers. 
    • $29* pp for Plan to Protect members.  
    • $33* pp for Non -Plan to Protect® members
    *Plus tax. 
     
    Other benefits include: 
    • Live Chat functionality for immediate client and candidate support
    • Cost savings for the client (we will now be able to offer additional discounts during high volume months)
    • A Canadian company with local knowledge and expertise
    • Convenient online reporting
    • All data stored in Canada
    • Integrated with Accredited Police Agencies
    • Both client and candidate to access completed results
    • Industry-leading security protocols, encryption, and integration methodologies
    If you are a current client using our services and would like to schedule an appointment to speak to one of our staff members to discuss your current screening account and to discuss the transition, please CLICK HERE and select an appointment time that works for you. We will share with you the benefits you will receive. 
     
    We are looking forward to providing you with the same level of service for our Plan to Protect
    ® ScreeningCanada Enhanced Criminal Record Checks as our clients receive from us for all of our other services. 

  • IMPORTANT NOTE REGARDING OUR MEMBERSHIP PRICES AND BENEFITS

    December 01, 2017

    Over the course of the past ten years we have grown our network of members from a small handful of members in 2007 to hundreds of members in 2017. Our last increase in membership fees was early 2011. As of January 2018, we are restructuring our Membership packages, and will be moving from an organization size-based pricing to revenue-based pricing. Therefore, our Membership fees are subject to a change, which will impact 65% of our members with an increase in membership fees, and 24% of our members with a decrease in membership fees.

    This change will bring more clarity as we grow our network of members moving forward and ensure equity for all.

    Along with this fee structure change, you will be pleased to know we have added new benefits

    We trust this will not come as too much of a surprise, and that you will continue to find tremendous value in our on-going support as you strive to achieve the HIGHEST STANDARD of protection. 

    For more information about becoming a Plan to Protect® Member, Click Here.  

    If you have questions about the coming changes, please don't hesitate to contact us.
  • Plan to Protect® Updates in 2017!

    November 30, 2017

    At Plan to Protect® we are constantly striving to provide updated and current information. One of the ways we do that is by adding new resources to the Member Section of our website. Over the course of 2017, we have added the following policies, appendices, webinars, resources and articles to the library of resources on our Member Section.

    NEW Policies 

    • Parent Issues and Concerns Policy Statement - November 2017 - In response to the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA) Requirements for September 1, 2017, policy and procedures that set out how parents' issues and concerns will be addressed.
    • Emergency Management and Response Policy Statement - November 2017 - In response to the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA) Requirements for September 1, 2017, policy and procedures regarding the management of emergencies.
    • Disciplinary Action - April 2017 - A policy statement with steps that can be followed when Personnel have not followed the proper policies or procedures.

       
    NEW Appendix

    • Individualized Plan for Children with Medical Needs Appendix - November 2017 -  In response to the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA) Requirements for September 1, 2017


    Recorded Webinars

    • Emergency Response - January
    • Appropriate Discipline - February
    • Recognizing a Predator - March
    • Interacting with Parents - April
    • Vulnerable Women Protection - May
    • Registration and Sign-In - May
    • Dangerous Games - June
    • Disciplinary Action - June
    • Smart Justice - July
    • Assisting Children with Behavioural Needs - September
    • Supporting Reporters - October
    • Board & Leaders - UPDATED October
    • Electronic Documentation - November

     
    Resources 

    • Fields to Customizing in your Documentation Management System - November 2017


    Articles

    • Conducting Social Media Background Checks - May 2017 - Like credit or criminal background checks, many employers, volunteer agencies, and other organizations (such as political parties) are now conducting social media background checks on future and prospective employees, volunteers, and candidates
  • Plan to Protect® is your 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year

    November 29, 2017
     
     
    On November 14, the 12th Annual Business Recognition Awards were presented at a Gala at the Royal Canadian Legion in Stouffville, ON. Nearly one hundred Chamber members gathered to pay tribute to the winners in 5 different categories. Included in the celebrations were Minister Jane Philpott, Minister Helena Jaczek, Mayor Justin Altman, Town Councillors and Chamber members and guests.
     
    From a long list of nominations, the independent judge panel, from Seneca College, selected Plan to Protect® as 2017 Entrepreneur Of The Year!
     
    We are thrilled to accept this award!
  • Debi one of our National Trainers will be missed!

    April 23, 2017
    Deborah Jean (nee: Wootton) Fusilier died on Sunday, April 23rd.  She was born in New Mexico in 1950, the daughter of Laurie Thomas and Sheila (Bugeln) Wootton.  Her father was a career U.S. Air Force officer, so she had many homes until her parents retired to Florida.  She graduated from Oak Ridge High School in Orlando and the University of South Florida in Tampa.  After graduation, debi joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ, working with high school students in Dallas, Texas for four years.  There, she met Lane through common friends, they dated, and were married, forty years ago this past November.  Her four children were born in Waco, Texas, where the Fusilier’s helped start a church and served that church for 21 years.  She moved with her family to Hamilton, Ontario in August 1999, believing that this city was the place where they should invest the remainder of their ministry lives.  Debi volunteered with the ministry to children, then teaching and training others to teach children.  It was her life’s passion.  Over forty years, Debi taught children about the God of the Bible and about His great love for them through Jesus.  Her parallel concern for their security and safety led her to implement Plan To Protect.  She also trained other churches to protect their children, joining the Plan To Protect national training team.  She loved beauty and treasured the arts, especially the paintings of Jan Vermeer.  She acted in plays produced at the church, including the role of Joy Davidman, wife of C.S. Lewis. Debi is survived by her husband, Lane Fusilier (pastor of Philpott Memorial Church), four children, Austin (Sara), Evan (Joelle), Eric (Laura) and Laurie Brown (Derek), a sister, Linell Ela, and a brother, Tom Wootton.  She greatly loved her four grandchildren, Ella, Theo, Grace, and Katie. Visitation will be held Thursday evening, 7-9pm, at Philpott Church, 84 York Blvd.  The funeral will be held on Friday morning at 11am, at Philpott Church, reception to follow. Online condolences and notes of sympathy may be left at www.donaldvbrown.ca
  • Verified Volunteers and Plan to Protect Partner to Safeguard Vulnerable Populations

    April 03, 2017

    Together, Organizations Increase Protection for Children and Vulnerable Adults

    Fort Collins, CO, March XX, 2017— The need to mitigate risk and vet volunteers who care for children, youth and vulnerable adults is crucial. To that end, Verified Volunteers, a leading background screening service for non-profit organizations, and Plan to Protect have partnered to provide greater protection for organizations serving vulnerable populations. Plan to Protect’s expertise in abuse prevention and protection along with Verified Volunteers’ high quality background screening solutions helps organizations develop a comprehensive safety program to protect people and assets while providing peace of mind.

    Verified Volunteers supports nonprofit organizations serving vulnerable populations nationwide and across all major service sectors including youth development, education/mentoring, social and human services, healthcare, faith-based and sports. Together, Verified Volunteers and Plan to Protect encourage a strategic, holistic approach to risk management focused on the critical combination of high quality, accurate and compliant background checks and robust safety assessment and training, emphasizing organizational best practices.

    “Our research shows that the number of organizations serving vulnerable populations is on the rise. Our expectation must be that the most vulnerable among us are served in an environment free of physical, sexual or psychological harm,” says Katie Zwetzig, Executive Director, Verified Volunteers. “We have expanded the breadth and depth of background checks available to volunteer programs and have worked to close other potential gaps that might challenge organizations through products such as identity validation. By partnering with Plan to Protect, we add another highly effective security and protection option for those organizations we work with to even better mitigate risk within the service sector.”

    “The issue of physical and sexual abuse and safety remains a huge concern for volunteer-based organizations who are serving the vulnerable sector. For organizations like these, abuse prevention and protection needs to be a strategic initiative,” says Melodie Bissell, President, Plan to Protect. “Organizations have an obligation to demonstrate a duty of care to the populations they serve and to their volunteers and employees. Together with Verified Volunteers, we can offer a safeguarding solution that helps organizations prevent and protect against abuse.” 

    About Plan to Protect

    Plan to Protect provides the highest standard of abuse prevention to organizations servicing the vulnerable sector. Plan to Protect works with organizations to ensure a safe environment and to identify and prevent abuse by means of assessment, implementation and recognition. Plan to Protect offers customized policies, procedures, risk assessments, policy audits, certification training for trainers and administrators, on-site facilitators for orientation and refresher training and on-line training for abuse prevention screening services.

    About Verified Volunteers

    Verified Volunteers helps nonprofit organizations gain confidence in their volunteers by delivering thorough, compliant background checks using a sophisticated suite of federal, national, state and local criminal locator tools. Extensive expertise in screening and compliance best practices helps clients recruit the best volunteers to maintain a safe environment and positive reputation. By enabling volunteers to order, manage and share their background checks via a secure online platform, Verified Volunteers creates a community of vetted volunteers. Verified Volunteers is backed by Sterling Talent Solutions, one of the world’s largest background screening companies and is partnered with Points of Light, the world's largest organization dedicated to volunteer service.


    Media Contacts:

    Katie Zwetzig, Verified Volunteers
    (970) 232-3550
    Katie@verifiedvolunteers.com
     

    Melodie Bissell, Plan to Protect
    905-642-4693
    M.bissell@plantoprotect.com
     

    Jackie Jusko
    Boxcat Creative for Verified Volunteers
    (415) 460-9984
    jackie@boxcatcreative.com

  • Plan to Protect widens its international influence, launching Plan to Protect for US churches.

    October 31, 2016

    For the past twenty years, Plan to Protect™ has been the Abuse Prevention Manual used by over 10,000 churches in Canada, United States and beyond. Along with the manual, the popular certification program has been sought after by Church Administrators, Trainers, staff and volunteers.

    TORONTO, Oct. 28, 2016 - PRNewswire - Plan to Protect™, an international leader in the area of abuse prevention through its certification, resources, training, policy writing services, speaking, and consulting services, announced today the launch of the latest version of the popular abuse prevention manual,Plan to Protect™, now updated for churches in the United States.

    (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161028/433931

    "As the name of the manual implies, the process of protecting our children does require planning, procedures and training. It could be overwhelming but it is an absolutely critical task to implement and monitor safe environments. It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel when there is an excellent tool available that makes customization of policies and the follow-through a manageable task," said Melodie Bissell, President and CEO of Plan to Protect™. 

    Bissell went on to say, "For over two decades, we have seen great success as many faith communities and non- profits have risen to the challenge to protect children and youth. However, there is no shortage of news headlines reinforcing the fact that our work is nowhere near complete and so we aim to constantly improve our resource and service offering while also attempting to impact more and more organizations." 

    Scott R. Konrad, Senior Vice President, Willis of New York, Inc. writes, "Having devoted the majority of my career to managing and insuring the risks of religious and secular nonprofits, I know well the pitfalls of having inadequate protection for their most vulnerable constituents.  Plan to Protect™ provides a cost-effective, comprehensive, turnkey risk management solution that can be easily adapted to the specific needs of any religious entity -- from the parish church to a denominational headquarters.  I know of no other resource providing this depth and quality of actionable, hands-on content approaching this price point, and I recommend Plan to Protect to any institution seeking to fortify its youth risk management programming." 

    About Plan to Protect™: 

    Plan to Protect™ provides the HIGHEST STANDARD of abuse prevention and protection for organizations servicing the vulnerable sector.  This is accomplished through our commitment to provide the certification, tools, training and momentum to help win the race against abuse. 

    The 250 page, beautifully formatted, manual includes five key chapters and word document downloads. 
    The manual can be purchased on line at www.plantoprotect.com/store for $59.99 plus shipping. 

    Plan to Protect™  includes the following content:

    • Protect Through Awareness of Abuse 
    • Understanding your Organization's Responsibility 
    • Understanding Legal and Insurance Perspectives 
    • Recruiting and Screening Guidelines 
    • Protect Through Program Development 
    • True Case Studies 
    • Child and Youth Protection Procedures 
    • Reporting and Response 
    • 100+ pages of templates and forms with downloads in Word format 
    • Compiled Policies for ease in customizing

    Learn more about Plan to Protect™ and their certification, training and resources at www.plantoprotect.com, or visit them on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn.  Also download the PlanToProtect App on the iTunes Store. 

    Early Tributes to Plan to Protect™ 

    "Ignoring wolves does not make them go away or erase their crimes. Ignoring victims does not magically make them heal. It's time we take seriously the ways of the Good Shepherd who laid down his life – His comfort, His reputation, His will – for His wounded sheep. That is why I'm grateful to recommend this resource, carefully created by Plan to Protect™. Here you will find the information and wisdom needed to not only protect children, but to help each church become a beautiful place of healing and redemption."
     -       Mary DeMuth, Author, Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing After Sexual Abuse

    "We are thrilled to come together into a national partnership with Plan to Protect™ – an organization at the forefront of safety and abuse prevention training. Plan to Protect™ provides extensive expertise in the safety and abuse prevention field with their programming, materials, and extremely knowledgeable staff. Their ability to successfully and effectually train organizations serving vulnerable populations is unmatched. With this partnership, Verified Volunteers is excited to add another highly effective security and protection measure to our arsenal of products. We are now equipped to better mitigate risk within the service sector."  
    -      Katie Zwetzig, Executive Director, Verified Volunteers

    About the Editor and co-author, Melodie Bissell 
    Melodie Bissell is the Founder and President of Plan to Protect™, which provides the HIGHEST STANDARD of abuse prevention and protection to organizations servicing the vulnerable sector globally.  

    Melodie is the co-author of the bestselling Plan to Protect™ manuals: Plan to Protect®: A Protection Manual for Children and Youth, and those that work with them and four Pocket Guides of Plan to Protect™ Best Practices, for Children, Youth, Vulnerable Adults, and Disability Initiatives.  

    Melodie is currently working towards her Doctorate of Ministry at University of Toronto on the Spiritual Healing of Victim Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse.