Safe Church Policy
SECOND CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, PALMER, MA
Guidelines for the Care of Children & Youth by Authorized Church Volunteers & Staff
1. NO ONE ON ONE
All our children and youth in the Church School shall be under the care and supervision of at least one adult, but two persons whenever possible, one of whom may be a high school aide. Further, no adult leader, staff or volunteer or anyone else working with our children or youth should place him/herself in a compromising situation by being alone with a child or with children out of sight of other teachers, advisors, aides or parents. No adult leader, staff or volunteer shall be alone with a child in the bathroom for the purposes of toileting, cleaning up from craft or art projects, or care of illness or injury.
2. PARENTAL CONSENT
Those working with children and youth shall have signed, written consent of a parent or guardian before being alone with a child or youth including those working with and/or transporting youth, or chaperoning or supervising activities or programs away from the church and/or any unsupervised situation.
3. REPORTING RESPONSIBILITIES
Any evidence or suggestion of child abuse/neglect, or any inappropriate conduct or relationship between an adult worker and a child or youth shall be promptly reported to the Pastor, Moderator, Church School Superintendent or Chairperson of Christian Ed., who will take appropriate action as required by Massachusetts law.
4. OVERNIGHT RULE
Any and all adult chaperones supervising overnight stays of church children or youth shall be approved by the Pastor, Moderator or Chairperson of Christian Ed. At least two adult males will dorm with boys and two adult females with girls. Further, a signed parental consent form is required which lists the names of the church volunteers and staff to be present.
5. BATHROOM SUPERVISION OF CHURCH SCHOOL CHILDREN
Normally, adult leaders, staff or volunteers who accompany a child to the bathroom should remain outside the bathroom while the child is inside. If a child needs assistance with zipping, buttoning, buckling, cleanup, wiping etc., two adults need to be present, one of whom may be a high school aide. If anything unusual occurred during this assistance, a note describing the help given and persons present should be written and handed to the Pastor, Moderator, Church School Superintendent, or Chairperson of Christian Ed. at the close of Church School that day. If for any reason, an adult leader, staff or volunteer is left alone in a classroom, the teacher in the nearest or neighboring classroom should be so informed. Diapering of infants and toddlers may be done in the classroom if two people are present, one of whom is an adult. As an alternative, a parent should be called to the nursery to do the changing.
6. YOUTH ACTIVITIES
Setting boundaries is the responsibility of adult leaders, staff and volunteers. Therefore, these persons should not encourage intimate contact with children or youth.
7. PRESCREENING APPLICATION
All authorized church volunteers and paid staff shall fill out a confidential primary screening form for children or youth workers.
8. SIX (6) MONTH RULE
No person shall be allowed to volunteer to work with youth until six (6) months has elapsed from the time of his/her membership in the church and/or filling out the Primary Screening Form.
9. STUDENT PICK-UP
All Church School students through Grade Four (4) must be picked up by their parent(s) or guardian(s) after each class. Photo ID’s are taken of children in these grades and their parent(s) on Registration Sunday, i.e. Rally Day, each year and posted in a visible place for identification purposes. Same to be done for the Nursery.
10. ADVISING YOUTH WORKERS
All those working with our youth shall receive the church’s guidelines regarding child safety and be informed of Massachusetts law. New youth workers who come on board during the year will be advised as well.
These forms shall reside with the Pastor in a locked file cabinet. Both the Pastor and Chairperson of the Board of Christian Education will have access to the files. Applicants may request a copy of their form.
Child Safety Committee, June 1996; Approved by Executive Council, August 1996; Revised, September 2002.
NOTE: There are glass windows installed in all rooms in which children will be present.