I hope this information will put some of the speculation about how PBI has chosen to control the access of abuse survivors to therapy to rest.
Over the last while, and particularly as it came to public attention that the independent 3rd party chosen in December by Prairie Bible Institute (Centre Street Church) was withdrawing from its role effective April 15th, a troubling piece of information came to light. While questions continue to go unanswered about the funding and expenses of the alumni Survivor Fund Project/Healing Team, it has now been confirmed that the 3rd party professional (Dr. Mollering) was required to go to this Healing Team if she wanted to do her job and provide survivors with a certified and qualified therapist. According to the information below, the paid friends of The Survivor Fund Project/Healing Team outlined the following criteria to Centre Street Church.
It has taken Prairie Bible Institute over 3 months to clarify how professionals hired to do therapy with abuse survivors would be paid. Yet, as soon as The Survivor Fund Project/Healing Team announced itself, they had no problem letting donors know that they would be submitting their expense accounts (why I call this team paid friends) to PBI for reimbursement.
If a professional chosen by PBI can be treated in such a condescending matter, what hope do abuse survivors have? I’m open to hearing the up side of this funding arrangement from a tax specialist, accountant, therapist, charity expert and survivors.
A few days ago Centre Street Church was informed that any therapist would have to go through the alumni team (The Survivor Fund Project/Healing Team), as Prairie Bible Institute has designated this ‘team’ to assume the role of fund distribution to professionals.
What a demeaning and tawdry set of criteria set by The Survivor Fund Project/Healing Team and PBI. I commend Centre Street Church for their self-respect and other-respect in their desire to put victims above do-gooder alumni amateurs, and respectfully withdrawing their services. Why tie the hands of qualified professionals by delaying a basic piece of information like funding? The Survivor Fund Project/Healing Team criteria for therapist requests for funding:
1. Do you know if the counselor will direct bill (either CSC or Prairie?)
2. Do you know / are comfortable with the counselor, or do you simply trust this lady’s choice in that regard?
3. Do you know how many sessions you’re thinking of at this time, and at what cost?
4. Does she have any benefits plan that will help cover part of the costs, or does she need us to cover 100% of the costs? Or is the counselor not chartered, in which case, benefits plans won’t cover it anyway.
5. Are you free to tell me the “status” of the perpetrator? Meaning – were they a Prairie staff member, PBI college student…? (We have no interest in knowing the identity of the perpetrator or victim unless the victim gives you permission and wants us to know.). We’re only asking this so we can get a gist of the stories – how many are “domestic” vs. “institutional” etc.
6. Are you planning on any kind of “accountability” between the victim / counselor and yourself to monitor progress? I don’t want that information sent to me, nor does Prairie, but if we’re asked by donors or potential donors, we may need to be able to state what accountability is in place for the use of counseling funds. As long as you’re comfortable with reasonable progress, we trust you and prefer to stay out of that loop unless the victim chooses to include us in any way.
7. Is there anything besides counseling that you think we can consider doing to help? Books, DVDs, seminars, for example? Or travel?
(added – BD Survivor Fund Project/Healing team member John Kepler says the above criteria was for one case. see the comment section below. What is/was other criteria for CSC?)
I am grieved for Centre Street Church personnel – no good deed goes unpunished. PBI has done exactly what they said they would do in December. I am grieved for survivors, their safety needs has been so tangled and so yanked out from under them, there are no choices left except what PBI dictates.
- PBI receives donor funds through The Survivor Fund Project and issues the donor a tax receipt. PBI administers donor funds to the paid friends
- The Survivor Fund Project/Healing Team alumni ‘befriend’ survivors, and request a refund of their expenses for befriending from PBI. PBI is not told the name of the survivor(s) and there is no public accounting
- The Survivor Fund Project alumni deal with chosen therapists, vet, and submit therapists bills to PBI
Centre Street Church had to provide unqualified PBI funded alumni with the information below, with no guarantee their request would be honoured:
1. Name of therapist
2. Amount of sessions and cost per session
3. Provide the paid friends with the survivors medical insurance plan
4. Provide qualifications of the recommended therapist. (Hello. Like a certified therapist from Centre Street Church is going to recommend a non-certified therapist!)
5. Report on accountability between therapists. (Checking therapy progress etc)
This makes some sense financially, it would keep PBI’s Survivor Fund Project alumni out of the loop, similar to PBI supposedly not knowing who the paid friends were taking out for coffee, driving around or giving books or DVD’s to.) It also makes sense professionally – certified mental health professionals are supervised, a request by another qualified therapist on progress is not a breach of confidentiality. However, what’s to say The Survivor Fund Project/Healing Team/PBI wouldn’t cut someone off for whatever reason?
Why would anyone trust The Survivor Fund Project/Healing Team given they are not accountable to anyone?
Is this the only way PBI can fund counselling/therapy for survivors?
PBI will release a pr April 15th, and I’m sure it will praise the paid friends to high heaven and thank Centre Street Church.
May I make a suggestion to observers and survivors? How about dropping Centre Street Church an email and thanking them for their willingness to put abuse survivors first? How about commending this church for it’s openess, transparency, professionalism and honesty – showing by their ethical choice to withdraw from relationship with PBI, that those words have meaning for followers of Jesus Christ who step up to the plate to offer help to the wounded? Email: miriam.mollering(at)cschurch(dot)ca.
P.S. I like the title of this blog dedicated to PBI and survivors, The Truth Will Make You Free. Hopefully Hank will find people with ideas on how to move forward.
Update: It was noted at The Truth Will make You Free that I did not highlight the education of the team. That is correct, I did not know their educational backgrounds. Jim Crites has a counselling degree (Masters) from Providence Seminary in Manitoba, and John Kepler received a Masters in Pastoral Counselling in the U.S. Another unnamed Survivor Fund Project member is completing a Masters in counselling.