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  1. SAFE SANCTUARIES Policy and Procedures for Reducing the Risk of Child Abuse in the North Alabama Conference

  2. PURPOSE AND GOALS 1. Why do we need a Safe Sanctuary Policy? We need children in our care to be safe.

  3. 2. We have a Biblical command. Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes one such child welcomes me”. Mark 9:36

  4. If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones…,it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6

  5. WE PROMISE… With God’s help we will so order our lives after the example of Christ, that this child, surrounded by steadfast love, may be established in the faith and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to eternal life. Baptismal Covenant, United Methodist Hymnal, p. 44

  6. PURPOSE AND GOALS 3. We need to protect volunteers against false allegation of abuse and victim of legal judgment. 4. To protect the good reputation of the United Methodist Church

  7. 5. It is a General Conference Resolution ’96. The General Conference of the United Methodist Church adopted this resolution aimed at reducing the risk of child sexual abuse in the church.

  8. Statement of Covenant Acknowledge the risks Adopt a plan Take steps to implement the plan Continue ministry to our church families

  9. So we will..... • Develop and implement an ongoing education plan for the congregation and it’s leadership to reduce the risk factors leading to child abuse. • Screen, train, and annually retrain all paid, volunteer, fill-in, and chaperon workers • Develop and implement safety procedures for activities • Advise child/youth of agency outside the church to contact incase of abuse. • Carry adequate liability insurance • Develop awareness for all congregation through special curriculum or activities • Have a reporting strategy • Be familiar of the Annual Conference policies and laws of your state

  10. TRAINING COMPONENTS Points covered: • Child abuse defined • Statistics and Rates • Procedures to protect children, youth, and those who work with them. • How to report accidents, incidents, or suspected abuse

  11. Definition • The National Resource Center on Child Sexual Abuse defines child sexual abuse as "any sexual activity with a child, whether in the home by a caretaker, in a day-care situation, in any organized ministry, whether at the main facility (church) or away, or in any other setting, including on the street by a person unknown to the child. The abuser may be an adult, an adolescent, or another child.

  12. TYPES OF CHILD ABUSE • Physical • Sexual • Emotional • Neglect • Ritual

  13. Vulnerable Adults • Ritual, emotional, or sexual abuse of any person over 19 years of age with physical, mental and/or developmental disabilities.

  14. CHILD ABUSE STATISTICS 3 million cases of child abuse reported each year! • 8,219 per day • 343 per hour • 6 per minute • 1 every 10 seconds Source – national center for child abuse and neglect.

  15. ESTIMATED RATES OF SEXUAL ABUSE By age 18: • 1 in every 3 girls • 1 in every 7 boys are sexually abused (numbers underestimate since many are reluctant to report) Source – national center for child abuse and neglect.

  16. PROFILE OF A CHILD MOLESTER • Two types: Preferable and Situational • Known to the child 80% of the time • Generally between 20-30 years of age • 20% of abuse before age 18 • Often married with children • 1 in 4 offenders is a member of thechild’s family or one entrustedwith care of the child. • About half are friends of child or family • 2 out of 3 who are caught abuse again

  17. PROCEDURES FOR HIRING STAFF • Job description • Position application with personal references • Background permission consent form • Personal interview summary form • Personal reference interview form

  18. RECRUITING ANDPLACING VOLUNTEERSRegular, Occasional & Last Minute Volunteer s Should: • Fill out an application • Provide references • Give permission to run a criminal record check. • Attend Safe Sanctuary Training!

  19. CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS Responsibility of the local church • Keep on confidential file • Employment Screening Services identify yourself as a part of the North Alabama Conference to receive the discount • Call 866-859-0143 or check the website:

  20. THE SIX MONTH HOSPITALITY POLICYA volunteer attending the church less than six months Volunteer must: • Be assigned to a position supervised by a “cleared” person. Or… • Be given a non-child-contact task until 6 month period is satisfied. • With the approval of the Church leadership a volunteer may provide name of staff in former church for reference contact.

  21. Safe Sanctuary TrainingAt new member orientation, new staff/volunteer or annual review training Must include: • Copy of your Safe Sanctuary Covenant Statement • Policies to be implemented • Procedures for ministry • Steps to report • Details of what the state law requires

  22. SUMMARY Create a Safe Sanctuary Team a. Make a Statement of Covenant b. Develop Policies and Procedures c. Acquire needed information and keep on confidential file (including clergy) d. Keep records of education to staff, volunteers and congregation.

  23. GENERAL OPERATING PROCEDURES • The following procedures pertain to all ministries involving Children and youth.

  24. 2-5-6 RULE month membership in the church to work with anyone under 18 years of age adult rule years older than the age group helping

  25. WINDOWED AND OPEN DOORS • Doors in the Nursery, Children’s and Youth areas have doors with windows • Nursery has half doors • Preschool area has windows in the walls • Rooms occupied by children and youth need to be observable from outside the room

  26. OVERNIGHTS In a hotel setting • No adult shares a bed with a child. Adult sleeps in separate room with creative monitoring. Frequent adult check-ins. In a bunkroom setting • At least 2 same gender adults may sleep in a large room with multiple bunk beds.

  27. OFF SITE TRIPS Before departure • Give contact info, start/stop times of event, location of event, program content, lodging info, etc. • Get all contact info from parent with written or documentedparent/guardian permission • Provide adequate supervision ratios – Same gender adult: Child or youth 1:5 for elementary age 1:5-7 for sixth through eighth grade 1:6-8 for ninth through twelfth grade • Have at least 2 children oran additional adultride in personal vehicles.

  28. TRANSPORTATION AND YOUTH • Never let them drive from the church to off-site location • Either plan to meet at the location or transport with adult drivers • Have at least 2 adults or 2 youth when driving personal vehicles

  29. REPORTING PROCEDURES • Accidents – when an unintentional act occurs and a child is hurt. • Incident – when an action is observed that does not require reporting to DFCS, but does require attention • Suspected Abuse – when one sees, has be told of, or suspects a child has been abused in some way. See a staff member or children’s volunteer director for forms.

  30. HOW A REPORT IS MADE… Questionable Behavior Occurs Abuse observed or reported Incident observed requiring attention Innocent, accidental event occurs Discuss with no one other than appropriate authorities File report of Suspected abuse File accident report with Director Suggest alternate behavior File incident report with director Call dep. of Fam. and child Services DHR Tell Sr. Pastor or SPR Chair Director issues warning Director offers help Call Insurance Company Call police if appropriate Training Counseling Call DS Do or say Nothing else let DHR investigate Only one speaking to media


  32. APPROPRIATE TOUCH • Never be the first to hug and always the first to let go. Perfect the SIDE-HUG. • Should you hold a child in your lap? • As long as it is age-appropriate and happens in an open area.

  33. DISCIPLINE Basics • Use positive words • Establish rules and expectations • Tell parents the good, the bad, then the good (Sandwich Rule) • Involve the church staff when necessary • Plan strategy when child threatens self or others.

  34. IDENTIFY YOURSELF • Wear a Nametag Or identifying clothing… DUMC Coach, Uniform skirt, jacket or apron YOUR NAME HERE Church Name North Alabama Conference UMC

  35. CHECK IN/CHECK OUT SYSTEM • Your congregation should come up with a plan to sign in and sign out each child. • Inform the congregation of Safety Procedures. • Establish release of children depending on the program and age of child. Two’s through second grade – parents pick up Third through Fifth grade – released with written permission.

  36. POTTY POLICY Diapering: • With another adult present • Done in visible area. Toddler and Preschoolers • Adult supervises, but allows child independence • Potty “accidents” requiring help • Open door • 2 adults • Inform Parent

  37. RESTROOM WITHBIGGER KIDS • Do not allow child to go to restroom alone…take at least 2 • Tell other adult (leave classroom door open) • Check restroom before kids go in • Do not assist child unless there is an emergency. • Inform the parent

  38. YOUTH MINISTRY • Personal relationships are a must, but whether you are serving as a counselor, friend in Faith or chaperone, if meeting with a Youth one-on-one meet: • In a public place • The corner of a busy room • With the door open Consider a cyber use policy

  39. MINISTRY SPECIFIC PROCEDURES Each ministry has procedures specific to the age group or activity. All workers should be given that information prior to working in that ministry. Procedures include what to do in case of illness or emergency.

  40. LEISURE MINISTRIES Activities in the gym… • Be aware of our open facilityWe cannotbe sure that allwho are here are safe to bearound children • Parents should superviserestroom breaks Activities on the field… • Adults retrieve balls from the woods • Pay special attention in the parking lot

  41. COACH–TELL THE PARENTS! In a parent meeting, tell parents to follow these child-safety rules: • Parents are to remain on site, but if a parent must leave practice or game, he/she is to designate another adult to be in charge of his/her child in an emergency and tell coach who that person is. • Parents are responsible for participant siblings. Player siblings should not be unattended in the building or on the playground.

  42. CHILDCAREAND PRESCHOOL • Nursery doors are locked at all times for highest security and opened by staff only • To avoid congestion, only one parent may enter to drop off or pick up child • Tours of the nursery should be made during non-high traffic times

  43. SAFE SANCTUARY TEAM ’S RESPONSIBILITIES • Conduct safe sanctuary training, provide copy of operating and reporting procedures and recommended guidelines. • Have all staff/volunteers sign that they have been trained and understand procedures and guidelines • Supervise paid and volunteer workers to see procedures are being followed • Review policy and procedures annually • Update background checks every 3 years • Keep all information on confidential file.


  45. WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF… …you find yourself in a room alone with a child? …you see a child in the hall wearing a wrist band with or without an accompanying adult? …you are a female taking first grade boys to the restroom? …you are the only third grade Sunday school teacher and Johnny says he is supposed to leave to meet his parents after class?

  46. WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF… …a particular youth is habitually the last to be picked up from youth events. He/she asks for a ride home and you’re the last adult left? …you heard a youth was participating in unethical or illegal activities? …you see a co-worker breaking one of the appropriate touch rules?

  47. WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF… …as a soccer coach, you count your four year old players and have one less than you did at beginning of practice? …a parent of a player wants to “run to the store” during practice? …An irate parent berates his/her child for performance on the basketball court?

  48. JUST BE SMART S Be aware of surroundings M Be mindful of manipulators A Be aware of what to avoid R Be ready to report issues T Be timely about telling