Statement of Purpose and Procedure Safeguarding the Well-Being of all Children/Youth
The members and staff of Triad Baptist Church (TBC) are committed to the safety, welfare, and protection of all children and youth participating in the activities and programs of TBC from abuse or harassment of any form: physical, mental, or sexual. No child or youth shall be subjected to the preventable risk of any form of abuse or harassment by TBC employees, teachers, or volunteers while on the TBC property or while engaged in TBC activities or programs located elsewhere.
The disturbing and traumatic rise of physical, mental, and sexual abuse of children has claimed the attention of our nation and society. Unfortunately, churches that have nursery, preschool, children, and youth programs are not insulated from this alarming trend. The following policies have been established in response to this trend and reflect our commitment to provide protective care of all children and youth attending any programs at the church, as well as any church-sponsored programs or activities. These policies are for the protection of the workers as well as the children.
All employees and volunteers working with children and youth must have approval by the ministry leader and deacon with oversight of that ministry before beginning the assignment. Each person will complete an information form which includes a release section, allowing the church to request a records check from authorized authorities. (The church may check these references and do a background check or criminal records check, but is under no obligation to do so.) According to church policy, a volunteer who serves as a teacher or in a leadership role, except under special circumstances approved by the deacons, must be a church member before working directly with either children or youth.
Individuals who have committed either sexual or physical abuse, whether or not convicted, will not be allowed to serve or be employed in any church-sponsored activity or program for children or youth. Due to the cyclical nature of abuse, and because of the statistically high rate of repeat abuse, individuals who have themselves been the victims of sexual or physical abuse will be confidentially and professionally considered on an individual basis.
Workers should observe the “two person” rule at all times. This means that when working with children or youth, workers will avoid one-on-one situations with pupils. For example, if a worker must leave the room to accompany children to the restroom or to obtain supplies, therefore leaving a worker alone with children in a classroom, the door (or top half of the door) will remain open at all times.
Youth under the age of 16 should be used as helpers but not supervisors. An adult aged 16 or older should be present in the room at all times.
Physical contact with children should be minimal and only in the presence of other adults. Appropriate touching should be limited to handshakes, “high fives”, a pat on the back or head, or brief hugs. Inappropriate touching includes the prolonged holding of preschool children on your lap, kissing, tickling, or extended hugs.
At least two workers should be present at all times. No child should be alone with a worker. If a child arrives before other members of your teaching team arrive, the door (or top half of the door) should be left open.
Window blinds are to be kept open and observation windows are to be kept clear at all times, unless it is necessary to darken the room (ex: for showing slides or a video). If the room must be darkened, the classroom door should be left slightly open.
No child should be released to anyone other than his parent (with the proper “Kiddie-Keeper”) unless the parent of authority has given direct permission for the child to be released to someone else.
Diaper changing should occur only in the presence of other workers.
It is recommended that workers should accompany more than one child at a time to the restroom.
If male and female workers (husband and wife, no exception) are serving in a classroom, the male worker should accompany the boys and the female worker the girls.
Children ages 4 and older should be able to use the restroom without assistance. Therefore, if the worker determines that the restroom is empty, he should remain in the hall outside the restroom door so that he will not be in a situation where he is alone with the child/children. This is for the protection of the worker as well as the child/children. If the worker determines that there are older children or adults in the restroom, he should enter the restroom with child/children. Children should have as much privacy as possible. Enter a bathroom stall only under the rare circumstance that is absolutely necessary to assist the child, keeping the stall door open.
Suspected Abuse at Church:
All paid and volunteer workers must immediately report to the ministry leader of that program (e.g. Nursery Coordinator, Sunday school Coordinator, Bible Club Coordinator, etc.) any behavior or other incident which seems abusive or inappropriate or any action which violates any of these stated policies and procedures. The ministry head is responsible for making sure that the appropriate staff member is immediately informed of the situation. This staff person will be designated as the person responsible for the communication between the persons involved in the incident and the parents, church, media, etc.
Suspected Abuse Outside of Church:
If you suspect that a child involved in any of the programs at TBC is being abused at home, the following steps are to be followed:
Report the suspected abuse to the leader of the ministry under which you are working. This leader should relay this information to the appropriate staff member at once.
Do not interview the child regarding the suspected abuse.
Do not discuss the suspected abuse with other workers, parents, etc. All information regarding the child should be kept confidential between you, your ministry leader, and the proper authorities.