Child-Friendly Faith Project

The Child-Friendly Faith Project is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) national public charity that educates the public about the impact that religious, spiritual, and cultural beliefs and practices have on children. They do this through their website, conferences, workshops, and direct outreach to problematic faith communities.

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Child-Friendly Faith Project founded to provide solutions to child maltreatment in faith communities

By Elizabeth Minutello

As Janet Heimlich was researching her 2011 book Breaking their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, it became clear that while religious, cultural, and spiritual beliefs can establish a positive moral foundation and structure, these same ideologies may be used to justify harmful childrearing practices. Having exposed such problems, Heimlich then looked at what could be done to end this form of maltreatment and founded the Child-Friendly Faith Project (CFFP). Our current Challenge the Gap beneficiary, the CFFP works to find these solutions.

As president of the Child-Friendly Faith Project, Heimlich announced that the organization has three core concepts:

   1) Faith can be beneficial and harmful to children.

   2) Every adult has the right to practice the faith of their choosing. However, if they bring children into that                   faith, those adults have the responsibility to make sure it enhances children’s well-being. 

   3) It is not the place of the CFFP to promote or denigrate any particular religion, place of worship, faith group,             or ideology but, rather, to look at how beliefs and practices affect children.

According to the CFFP’s mission, the organization seeks to “ensure that religious, spiritual, and cultural practices, traditions, and rituals enhance child development and do not cause harm” through two educational efforts.

First, the CFFP provides information through its website and at an annual conference. Participants in these programs include individuals involved in religious and secular fields such as clergy, social workers, pediatricians, and law enforcement personnel.

Second, the organization is developing a Child-Friendly Faith Communities designation program to “support and promote faith communities that are, or strive to be, role models for nurturing children and protecting them from abuse and neglect.” Through this program, the CFFP will help places of worship engage in discussions about child maltreatment and offer a comprehensive training program.

Foundation Beyond Belief is proud to support the Child-Friendly Faith Project as it continues to educate the public on this vital issue. You can learn more about the CFFP’s mission on its website, Facebook, and YouTube. Child advocates and survivors are invited to join the CFFP’s Facebook group.

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Child-Friendly Faith Project Conference addresses ideologically driven child maltreatment

Child-Friendly Faith ProjectBy Elizabeth Minutello, Challenge the Gap correspondent

For many individuals and their families, their religious, spiritual, and cultural beliefs and practices provide structure and a positive moral foundation in which to conduct their lives. However, others use these same ideologies to justify child maltreatment. Our current Challenge the Gap beneficiary, Child-Friendly Faith Project (CFFP), works to educate the public and faith leaders regarding child maltreatment and protect children in all faith traditions. 

In 2013, CFFP launched their first conference. Speakers from various fields including religious education, social work, and law enforcement spoke about how to better protect children from abuse and neglect. Some of the speakers present were survivors of ideologically driven abuse. Videos of presentations are available online.

CFFP is looking for speakers, volunteers, and others interested in helping them with CFFP Conference 2014. Any inquiries can be sent via email.

It was also at CFFP Conference 2013 that the organization unveiled its Charter for Child-Friendly Faith. As described by Reverend Dr. Carla Cheatham, this is a “document we can all come around the table to discuss.” Designed as part of a long-term effort to build trust, respect, and an open dialogue among individuals of different belief systems, the charter is based on principles that most can agree upon. Among some of these principles are:

  • Children are important and unique individuals and should be valued and honored for the persons that they are.
  • Children have a right to grow up in an environment that is safe and promotes healthy development.
  • Faith communities should take advantage of services offered by secular agencies designed to protect children from abuse, become familiar with child abuse laws, and develop protocols that minimize the potential for child maltreatment.

Please take the time to view the Charter for Child-Friendly Faith in its entirety.

Foundation Beyond Belief is proud to support Child-Friendly Faith Project as it develops its new initiatives and continues to educate the public on ideologically driven abuse and ways to prevent it.

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Last chance to support our first-quarter beneficiaries

As FBB gets ready to feature a new slate of world-altering organizations, you have a final opportunity to distribute your donations among our five featured beneficiaries for the first quarter of 2014. Take a look at what they have done with our support:

Poverty and Health

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) works to lower national suicide rates by supporting research, educating the public and professionals about mood disorders, and advocating for legislation that impacts suicide prevention. Working in a subject area that can be uncomfortable or even taboo, advocacy and education to combat myths about suicide prevention is   a vitally important task AFSP continues to perform. 

Natural World is a global grassroots organizing movement that raises awareness of climate change and the use of fossil fuels. They use social media to educate an entire generation with scientific findings, presented on their nine different websites for countries around the world and just as many Facebook and Twitter accounts using native languages. Their focus on sparking environmental activism at the local level prompted FBB staff to compile   a guide for getting involved with their work in your own community. 


Safe Passage helps to educate children who would otherwise spend their days scavenging for a living at the Guatemala City garbage dump. Their Educational Reinforcement Program works to remove all obstacles to learning by providing medical care, hot meals, tutoring services, and school supplies, in addition to the flexible classes meant to accommodate working children who support their families. The Pathfinders         Project will work with Safe Passage in May and June of 2014.

Human Rights


Ali Forney Center in New York City helps lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth by providing emergency and transitional housing, medical care, employment assistance, and psychiatric support services. The FBB grant was dedicated to their Learning, Employment, Advancement, and Placement (LEAP) program which aids homeless LGBTQ youth in their career advancement by providing professional attire for interviews, college application fees and expenses, and credentialing expenses.


Challenge the Gap

Child-Friendly Faith Project (CFFP) works to protect children of all faith traditions from maltreatment, in particular ideologically driven abuse. At their first conference in 2013, CFFP held speeches by religious educators, social workers, and law enforcement on how to protect children from neglect. During the conference CFFP also revealed its Charter for Child-Friendly Faith, a guide for respectful dialogue between people of differing beliefs based on shared principles of the rights and value of children.

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Here’s what we’re up to for Q1 2014

In the video below, learn more about Foundation Beyond Belief’s programs and our featured beneficiaries for the first quarter of 2014: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention,, Safe Passage, Ali Forney Center, and Child-Friendly Faith Project



If you’d like to adjust your donation allocation, click on “Manage Donation” under “Manage Account” on the right (make sure you’re logged in first). And if you’re not a member yet, why not join now?

Many thanks to FBB member David Beadle of The Secular Human for creating this video for us!

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Meet our new beneficiaries for the first quarter of 2014

By AJ Chalom, Humanist Giving Program Coordinator

We’re kicking off our fifth year of compassionate humanism with a fantastic new slate of charities. These organizations work to prevent suicide, teach the world about climate change, help some of Guatemala City’s most vulnerable children access education, serve as an advocate for homeless LGBTQ youth, and make sure children raised in devoutly religious homes have access to the medical care they need and live free from abuse. Learn more about these organizations below. Members, to adjust your donation allocation for this quarter, log in and select “Manage Donation” on the right side of the page.


Encore Poverty and Health: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) seeks to reduce suicide rates through initiating and participating in projects that develop, implement, and evaluate innovative approaches to suicide prevention. Their programs concentrate on social awareness, reducing the stigma of mental health disorders, and early intervention. The Natural World: is a massive grassroots organizing network that raises awareness of climate change and the use of fossil fuels worldwide. Their use of video and social media is extensive. Their goal is to provide scientific information regarding climate change to a cross-section of the world’s population to inspire them to take action.
Safe Passage Education: Safe Passage provides educational opportunities for children who live in and around the Guatemala City garbage dump. These children often spend their days with their family scavenging for wood, metal, and other materials to earn money and help build housing in the slums at the base of the dump. Pathfinders Project will work with Safe Passage in May of 2014. 
Ali Forney Center

Human Rights: Ali Forney Center’s mission is to help homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth be safe and independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood. FBB’s grant will be appropriated to Ali Forney Center’s Learning, Employment, Advancement & Placement (or LEAP) program, which provides career and educational advancement services for homeless LGBTQ youth. This program concentrates on providing legal assistance and financial stability counselling. They also cultivate a community of acceptance for their clientele.

The Human Rights beneficiary this quarter is the first selected under our new RFP process. We invited pre-screened charities to participate in the RFP process to provide additional information about their programs.

Child-Friendly Faith Project Challenge the Gap: The Child-Friendly Faith Project is a new endeavor that spreads awareness of how to support children in devoutly religious homes and protect them from abuse. They furthermore encourage devout communities to provide proper medical opportunities for their children. The group does not want to convert people; instead, they want to make sure that all children are being raised in abuse-free homes.

Women's Leadership Project

Leo Igwe Research Project

Small Grants:
Women’s Leadership Project (WLP) is a feminist humanist college prep mentoring program for girls of color in South L.A. high schools. WLP fills a vacuum in a school district that has few programs that specifically address the intersection of sexism, racism, misogyny, and heterosexism in the lives of young women of color. The majority of their students will be first-generation college students. The WLP college-prep curriculum sends girls of color to four-year colleges and universities at above-average rates.
Leo Igwe Research Project: Many women accused of witchcraft by their communities in Ghana have also endured torture and beatings. Stripped of their belongings and shunned by family and friends, they are often unable to get medical treatment for their injuries or to ensure their own safety from further harm. Nigerian humanist Leo Igwe, who is currently fighting witchcraft accusations in Ghana, has created a victims’ fund to provide initial support for these women. Foundation Beyond Belief is proud of its ongoing commitment to supporting this fund.

Members, don’t forget to log in and select “Manage Donation” on the right side of the page to allocate your donations for the first quarter.

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Regular Giving Boosts Q1 2014 Beneficiary Grant Amounts

FBB members and our community gave almost $70,000 last quarter to improve the lives of people around the world. Four of our featured charities, will receive grants of more than $10,000 each, and we hope from now on, as FBB grows, we will be able to increase all of our grants sustainably over the $10,000…

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