The General Conference of the United Methodist Church, in April 1998, adopted a resolution aimed at reducing the risk of child sexual abuse in the church. The adopted resolution includes the following statement:
Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes (a) child…welcomes me” (Matthew 18:5). Children are our present and our future, our hope, our teachers, our inspiration. They are full participants in the life of the church and in the realm of God.
We promise at every baptism:
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 life eternal. (United Methodist Hymnal, p. 44)
The Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church-2000
God calls us to make our churches safe places, protecting children and other vulnerable persons from sexual and ritual abuse. God calls us to create communities of faith where children and adults grow safe and strong. (from The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church-2000, pp. 180-181. Copyright c 2000 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.)
The following standards are in place at Glen Haven United Methodist Church to reduce the risk of child abuse and prevent the opportunity for false allegation against a worker.
Operational Procedures for Children and Youth Programs
While working with persons under 18 years old on church property, we require:
1. Two adults present during each activity.
2. Windows in doors or open doors of rooms used by children and youth.
3. All workers in supervisory roles be 18 years of age or older.
4. Workers be 5 years older than the child or youth they supervise.
5. Workers be designated by name tag and/or clothing.
6. All Pre-K and Kindergarten age children be escorted by a parent and picked up by the parent (or designated person). Workers will check off when child is picked up by the parent/designated adult.
7. All 1st – 5th grade students to have written permission on how they are to go home (e.g. by designated adult, walk home with siblings/friends, etc.).
8. Advance information for parents concerning the program the child is attending.
GHUMC recognizes that abuse of impaired and older adults is a major societal concern. Many older adults are also subject to financial abuse, as well as physical and mental abuse. We must be vigilant for signs of abuse in our adult membership and report any suspected abuse, following the process outlined in this policy. The local Department of Family and Child Services has a division with responsibility for supervising elder care.
Any primary worker working with the youth, children or vulnerable adults of GHUMC must undergo a national criminal background check. The report must show no serious offenses (felony) or they will not be allowed to become a worker. Workers will not be allowed to chaperone an event off church grounds until the background check has been completed and the report has been cleared by the Senior Pastor or his/her designee. A primary worker awaiting results may participate with on site activities as long as they are supervised by another primary worker who has been cleared. A new background check should be done at least every other year. Misdemeanor offenses will be considered on a case by case basis.
First Aid and CPR Training
Each primary worker shall be trained in both First Aid and CPR. All paid nursery workers should be certified in infant CPR. GHUMC will hold training classes at least once a year and it is the worker's responsibility to enroll in a class.
Transportation to and from activities at the church is not the church's responsibility. Church approved volunteers may provide transportation to and
from activities held away from the church. If there is only one vehicle, there must be two adults present. When there is an offsite trip, there must be at least one adult worker of each gender represented. Youth will not be allowed to drive other youth or children or themselves. Church approved volunteers must have a valid driver's license and an insurance card on file in the Church Office.
Websites, Photos and E-mail
E-mail communication is becoming more and more important. E-mail from adults sent to youth and children should be limited to information related to youth and children ministries. It should not be used to pass along jokes, etc. E-mail addresses of youth and children should be protected and not given out. Any photos on websites, posted in classrooms or posted on bulletin boards should not identify individuals. If allergy signs are posted, they should not show the names. Written permission must be received from parents before any photo of children or youth is posted on a church sponsored website, in classrooms or on bulletin boards.
Standards for Diapering/Restroom Activity
1. Diaper changing occurs in open area with 2 adults present.
2. Leave restroom door open (if only a little) when supervising preschoolers.
3. If potty “accidents” occur and adults assist with clean-up, two adults are need to be present and a parent contacted.
4. Two or more children in Kdg. – 5th grade may be escorted to the restroom by adult, informing another adult of departure and return. Child meets need independently. (“rule of 3”)
**At the conclusion of all on-or off-site activities and before leaving the facility, supervising adults should make sure all children or youth have been claimed by the appropriate person.