Children's Ministry at Ridgecrest United Methodist

Policy for the Protection of Children

Ridgecrest United Methodist Church

Policy for the Protection of Children

 

The following policy is intended to apply to church activities involving children where responsibility for the child’s safety is assigned to a church worker, either paid staff or volunteer.  For church activities in which child’s parent(s) or guardians are participants, the responsibility for the child’s safety is presumed to remain with the participating parent or guardian.

 

[Our church facilities are available to outside organizations on request.]  For activities involving children, requesting organization agrees to abide by the Ridgecrest United Methodist Church’s Safe Sanctuary policy or an equivalent policy of its own.  Organization may be requested to provide a copy of their policy. A copy of the church's Safe Sanctuary policy is available upon request. All incidents will be reported according to the Ridgecrest United Methodist Church policy: section 3.

 

In April of 1996, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church adopted a resolution aimed at reducing the risk of child abuse in the church. The resolution calls for all churches to welcome children and also make our churches safe places for children to grow and learn. It is our responsibility to be proactive in recruiting and training people to work with children and also protect those volunteers from allegations of child abuse. It is also our responsibility to oversee all programs involving children to make sure the environment is safe. There will also be a response plan in place should an accusation arise. The General Conference affirmed that every local United Methodist Church have a policy for the protection of children in place.

 

            The Ridgecrest United Methodist Church hereby establishes this Child Abuse Protection Policy to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to the physical safety and spiritual growth of our children and youth.

 

            As a Christian community, we pledge to conduct all our activities and ministries in a safe manner that encourages the spiritual growth of all the children entrusted to us. We will follow reasonable screening measures in the selection and recruitment of all volunteers working with children. We will train all persons working with children in Child Abuse Protection. We will respond to all reports of abuse and report them to the proper authorities.

 

We adopt the following as minimum standards for our ministries with children and youth.

 

1.   Screening and Recruiting for the United Methodist Church

 

a)    All workers with children will submit an application listing standard contact information and three references of individuals not related to the worker.

b)    The Pastor, or his designated leader will interview all workers with children, before they begin teaching. References will be contacted.

c)     All workers with children will be asked to undergo a child abuse background check, every five years and upon enlistment, through The Kern County Sheriff’s Office. Any individuals found to have prior child related offenses would not be accepted.

d)    All workers with children will go thru a child abuse-training course provided by the church.

e)    All applications, reports and training record(s) will be kept by the church as part of an applicants’ confidential file. All files shall be kept in a locked file on the church premises.

 

2.   Supervision

 

a)    There will be two unrelated adults overseeing all youth related events. If this is not possible, the group with only one adult will congregate in with another group.

b)    The two adult rule will be followed at all times, no exceptions.

c)     Due to liability insurance restrictions, No person under 18 will be considered as one of the adults.

d)    Child Abuse Training is mandatory, annually, for all persons working with children / youth, if it hasn’t already been provided by another agency. A record of the training shall be provided and become part of the applicant’s confidential file.

e)    Enrollment applications for education programs on the church grounds are to be filled out by the parents / guardians as necessary.

f)      Children / Youth are required to submit written permission forms for all events off the church grounds and outside of direct supervision of their parents. These forms are to include pertinent health information, parental permission to treat a minor, a covenant of participation and standard contact information.

3.     Reporting of Incidents

a)    The pastor, or his designee, is to be immediately notified of all accusations, even during the service. All reports will be taken seriously. Notification needs to be discreet.

b)    If an allegation implicates a family member, Child Protective Services is to be called.

c)     If an allegation implicates a non-family member, law enforcement is to be called.

d)    It will be the pastor’s responsibility to contact the Annual Conference, District, or any other church officials.

4.      Responding to Incidents

a)    The child reporting abuse shall be removed from the situation immediately.

b)    The individual being accused of the abuse will be detained, if it is possible, and law enforcement is to be called.

c)     It will be the pastor’s responsibility to contact the Annual Conference, District, or any other church officials.

d)    Support will be available to all persons involved in the incident through outside agencies.

e)    The Church office can provide resources and referrals to outside agencies.

5.     Nursery

a)    Childcare for children 0 – 3 years old is provided during church services and various church functions in the nursery.

b)    All children in the nursery must be signed in and out by their parent or guardian. Siblings may not perform the sign-in / sign-out procedure.

c)     Parent / Guardians must indicate on the sign-in sheet where they will be during their child’s stay in the nursery.

d)    Parent / Guardians are expected to provide pertinent health information in writing before leaving their child in the nursery (allergies, medical conditions, etc…). This information will be restricted and only be available to the nursery attendants.

e)    Parent / Guardians are expected to pick up their children immediately following the church service, class or function.

f)      For the protection of the nursery attendants, only the person, who signed the child in will be allowed to pick up and sign the child out. No Exceptions!

g)    Only six children per adult attendant will be allowed in the nursery.

h)    The nursery will close if there are not two adult attendants present.

i)      Persons who are not actively working in the nursery will be prohibited from the nursery when it is in operation.

j)      Diaper bags & personal items must be labeled with the child’s name. Parents are advised to include a change of clothing and an empty plastic bag in the diaper bag for wet or soiled clothes.

k)    The nursery will not provide food for the children during their stay. Parents please do not bring food to the nursery. This policy is in place to help avoid possible food allergy reactions.

[Adopted August 12, 2007]

For more information, please visit http://www.gbod.org/lead-your-church/safe-sanctuaries