Purpose: To prevent child abuse and ensure the safety of all children and youth at Adams United Methodist Church in Adams, Tennessee.
Policy: All volunteers to work with children/youth will undergo a thorough screening process before being utilized to work with the children/youth
ALL volunteers to work with children and/or youth must be actively involved at Adams United Methodist Church.
All volunteers to work with children and/or youth will complete a Volunteer Application Form. The application form will be submitted to either the Pastor or the Youth Minister for review and acceptance.
Volunteers to work with children/youth will be required to submit to a criminal background check through the Tennessee Conference.
Applicants will fill out and submit a “Consent to Criminal Background Check Form” provided by the Conference.
The reports will be received and reviewed by only the Pastor and or the Lay Leader. Acceptance or denial of the volunteer applicant based on the information contained in the report will be made by the Pastor and or the Lay Leader.
Volunteers who have not resided in Tennessee at least five years will be required to submit to a national criminal background check. The applicant will fill out and submit a “Consent to Criminal Background Check”.
The national reports will be received and reviewed by the Pastor and or the Lay Leader. Acceptance or denial of the volunteer applicant based on the information contained in the national background check will be made by the Pastor and or the Lay Leader.
Background checks will be conducted on all volunteers every seven years.
References provided by the applicant will be checked by either the Pastor or the Lay Leader as is appropriate. The “Reference Check Form” will be used for documenting the results of these checks.
Volunteers who work with children/youth will be required to sign a Volunteer Covenant Statement. Covenant statements will be renewed annually at the mandatory training session.
All documents pertaining to the volunteer applicant will be kept confidential and only accessible by the Pastor and Lay Leader.
A Record of Training Form will be kept on each volunteer that will list the date of training, type of training received, and instructor.
Policy: Basic procedures are set forth to guide the day-to-day children's and youth ministries at Adams UMC. These procedures will demonstrate to members and visitors alike Adams UMC’s commitment to being a safe and holy place where children and youth can grow in the faith.
Adams UMC abides by the "Two Adult Rule" which requires that no fewer than two non-related persons (one must be at least age 21, the other at least age 13 & at least 5 years older than the class they are serving) be present during any church-sponsored program, event, or ministry involving children/youth.
Annual First Aid/CPR training is encouraged and will be provided for all church workers with children and youth. All Children’s Ministry or Youth Ministry Leadership Volunteers will be required to attend a First Aid/CPR training at least every 5 years after their initial training to be done within 1 year. First Aid kits will be available in a centrally designated area at all times.
After initial training to be completed within the first year, all workers with children/youth will be required to attend a training session every 3 years at which time they will renew their covenant statements.
Any volunteer to work with the youth unsupervised shall be at least five years older than the youth being served.
No primary worker with children or youth shall be under the age of 21.
Classrooms or childcare rooms may be visited at any time by parents, church staff, or volunteers.
Every room specifically designated for activities involving children and youth shall have a door with a window in it or have a half-door.
All children below 3rd Grade Level will be required to be signed in and out of activities by their parent or guardian or to another individual only with advance and written permission.
Bathroom Procedure: A child needing to use the toilet shall be escorted by an adult to the bathroom. The adult is to remain in the hallway while the child uses the toilet. If assistance is requested by the child, then the adult may enter and assist. Each time an adult needs to assist a child using the bathroom facilities it will be logged into the nursery log (or other) with the following format: "time, name of child who requested help, provider who gave assistance." At the end of Sunday school, the parent or guardian will be informed that bathroom assistance was requested by the child and provided.
Nursery Log: All children, infants and toddlers using the nursery must be signed in and out by a parent or guardian.
Diapers will be changed only by a guardian or parent.
A record will be kept listing the names of volunteers who work with children, area volunteering in, and the date. This information will be kept on the Volunteer Work Record form and will be maintained by the Pastor, Sunday School Superintendent or Youth Leadership Coordinator as appropriate depending on the activity.
Parents will always be given advance notice and full information regarding the events in which their children will be participating. For activities held away from the Adams UMC campus, a Permission for Participation form will be required.
Policy: Appropriate discipline procedures which focus on the behavior and not the child will always be used.
If a child is behaving inappropriately, the teacher or worker will tell the child the specific behavior that is unacceptable and state what the acceptable behavior is. For example, "We do not throw blocks. We use blocks for building". (Use of verbal direction)
If the child's disruptive behavior continues after consistent prompting the child's parent will be located to sign the child out of the activity.
Physical punishment or verbal abuse will never be used at any time.
Policy: A plan for responding to known incidents of child abuse and allegations of child abuse is in place to properly respond to such a situation.
Notification of the parents of the victim/alleged victim and ensuring the victim's safety until the parents & police will be the first step. The safety of the victim shall be Adams UMC’s primary concern.
The accused abuser shall not be confronted with anger or hostility. He or she will be treated with dignity but immediately removed from further involvement with the children and youth until the individual is cleared of wrong-doing.
The Pastor will notify the proper law enforcement or child protective services agency immediately.
The Pastor will notify the district superintendent and annual conference authorities.
The Pastor will notify the church's insurance agent.
The Pastor will notify the church's attorney.
The Pastor will keep a written record of the steps taken by the church in response to the allegation.
The Pastor will call upon a designated conference spokesperson to make any necessary statement or responses to the news media.
The Pastor will prepare a brief statement that can be made to the congregation without giving any unnecessary details, placing blame, interfering with the "victim’s privacy, or violating any confidentiality concerns.
Church officials will be prepared to cooperate fully with the investigation conducted by law enforcement officials or child protection services.
Any allegation will be taken seriously and needed pastoral resources will be extended.
Policy: An orientation procedure for new volunteers who will work with children/youth has been established to ensure all volunteers to work with children/Youth are educated regarding Adams UMC’s Safe Sanctuary and other policies and procedures that pertain to their vital role.
All volunteers to work with children/youth will attend an orientation session prior to beginning to serve as volunteers with children/youth.
Orientation sessions will be held as needed and be led by a member of the newly created, Child Protection Taskforce.
At the training session all volunteers will be given a copy of the Safe Sanctuary policy.
Every volunteer will receive an informational packet including the reasons for our policy an excerpt from the 2008 United Methodist Church Book of Resolutions pertaining to abuse prevention, definitions of abuse, signs of abuse, and appropriate behaviors for adults working with children/youth.
All pertinent documents required including application consent to criminal background check, and covenant statement will be completed at the orientation session and submitted to the training leader for processing by the Pastor.