What is Chaplaincy

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A Chaplain is a practicing member of a religious tradition, attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, school, police department, university, or private chapel. Originally the word chaplain referred to representatives of the Christian faith, it is now also applied to people of other religions, including Hindu Chaplains also.

The role of the chaplain tends to be that of a mentor and a provider of pastoral care services. Chaplains provide care for students by supporting them during times of crisis or need. Many chaplains run programs to promote the welfare of students, staff and parents including programs to help students deal with grief, anger or depression.

Hospitals employ chaplains to assist with the spiritual, religious, and emotional needs of patients, families and staff. Chaplains are often employed at residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFE) and skilled nursing facilities (SNF) as well.

The role of the law enforcement chaplain deals primarily with law enforcement personnel and agencies. The chaplain responds to these unique needs and challenges with religious guidance, reassuring and trustworthy presence, resources and counseling services. The law enforcement chaplain offers support to law enforcement officers, administrators, support staff, victims and their families, and occasionally even the families of accused or convicted offenders.

Prison chaplains can be a “safety valve, through listening and pro-social intervention” in potentially explosive situations. They also reduce recidivism by linking offenders to positive community resources, and in the work they do to help offenders change their hearts, minds and directions

Australian Government permits and encourages religious Chaplains to work in Schools, Universities, Prisons (Correctional Services), Hospitals, Defense Establishments etc. Chaplaincy is a spiritual counseling support service that is offered by trained religious Chaplains in Hospitals, Jails, Schools etc. Some Chaplaincy places in schools are funded by the federal government and are paid positions.

In Australia chaplains in state schools have, controversially, been funded by the federal government and local communities since 2007. Australian chaplains assist school communities to support the spiritual, social, and emotional well-being of their students. Chaplaincy services are provided by non denominational companies. As of August 2013 there are 2339 chaplains working in Australian secular schools. Hindu students form 2.5% (year 2017) of total student population in the state of NSW alone, but, there are no Hindu Chaplains in schools.

Chaplains should be qualified and approved by the Government and by Hindu Council of Australia.

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