The Billings and Mt. Olive United Methodist Churches desire to be places where children are safe to learn about God and grow in their faith. The Billings and Mt. Olive United Methodist Churches concur with the resolutions adopted by the 1996 General Conference and the 2000 Missouri West Conferences of the United Methodist Church aimed at reducing the risk of child abuse in the Church. This policy represents our desire for the Church to be a safe sanctuary for all children and youth.
The Billings and Mt. Olive United Methodist Churches shall:
- Adopt screening procedures for all worker/volunteers involved in the care and instruction of youth;
- Provide education for the workers/volunteers with children and youth regarding this policy and procedures relevant to child abuse prevention;
- Adopt safety procedures for church activities;
- Report incidents of child abuse in accordance with the state laws of Missouri;
- Require all non-church related groups meeting within the church to comply with this policy;
- Provide an opportunity for education of the congregation about child abuse;
- Review this policy annually;
- Provide liability insurance that includes physical and sexual abuse coverage.
This Safe Sanctuary Policy was approved and adopted by the Administrative Board of:
The Billings United Methodist Church on: _______________________________
The Mt. Olive United Methodist Church on: ______________________________
The Billings and Mt. Olive United Methodist Churches desire to provide a safe place for children and Youth to learn about God and grow in that belief. These procedures were developed to help facilitate our desire for a safe environment for all. This manual is a “living document” with ongoing revisions as needed to provide the best possible environment. The Administrative Boards shall be responsible for the management of this manual. The Administrative Boards may ask the Safe Sanctuary committee to review the policy and the procedures as necessary.
In this manual the following definitions apply:
Child – any person under the age of 18.
Youth – any person in the seventh grade or higher not yet 18 years of age.
Adult – any person age 18 or older.
Child Abuse – physical injury, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by a caregiver responsible for the welfare of the child.
Compensated Worker – hourly paid, salaried, part-time or full-time employee who works with children or youth at any church-sponsored activity.
Volunteer Worker – any non-compensated individual who works with children or youth at any church-sponsored activity.
Temporary Volunteer – any occasional or “last minute”, non-compensated Individual recruited to help with a church-sponsored activity Involving children or youth who has not been fully certified as a Safe Sanctuary worker by completing proper paperwork and attending a training/orientation session.
Procedures for screening all workers involved in the care and instruction of children and youth
- Anyone working with children and youth in any capacity should fill out an application.
- The name on each application shall be checked against police records and the sexual offender’s registry by the Administrative Board designated personnel.
- In the event that a name appears in police records and/or sexual offender’s registry, the applicant will not be allowed to work with children and youth.
- Decisions in regard to an individual with a police record may be reviewed by the Safe Sanctuary Committee at the individual’s request.
Procedures for providing education and training for workers/volunteers involved with children and youth regarding this policy and the procedures relevant to child abuse prevention
- Each worker/volunteer will be provided with a copy of the policy and procedures manual and sign off that they have read and will comply with said policy and procedures.
- Each worker/volunteer should attend training provided by the church.
- The church shall provide additional training as needed.
Procedures for opportunities for education of the congregation about child abuse
- The church should provide at least one educational opportunitiy per year for the congregation.
- Opportunities should be made available to the various groups within the church.
- The Safe Sanctuary Committee shall be in charge of securing the educational opportunities.
Safety procedures for church activities
- All workers/volunteers involved with working with children and youth must have been attending church regularly for at least six months before assuming any responsibilities.
- All teachers in charge of classrooms or other activities are required to be 18 years of age or older.
- When youth are working with children, they should be at least 5 years older than the oldest child in the group.
- There should be two workers/volunteers with the children/youth. When the two worker rule is not feasible, a roamer can be asked to check into rooms and situations where only one worker is present.
- When children/youth meet in classrooms, there should be windows in the doors or the doors should be left ajar.
- When an adult is counseling children/youth in a room, the door to that room should have a window or be left ajar.
- When taking part in any off campus activities, there should be a ratio of 1 adult for every 10 youth and for younger children 1 adult for every 5 children.
- Following church activities, workers/volunteers will release children only to parents, guardians, or caregivers who have been designated by parents or guardians in writing.
- Parents or guardians of children and youth participating in an off campus activity are required to fill out a permission slip that includes a medical release for that activity.
Procedures for requiring all non-church related groups meeting within the church to comply with the church’s safe sanctuary policy
- Provide all groups a copy of the policy and procedures manual.
- Each group/organization will sign an agreement signifying that they have read and will comply with the safe sanctuary policy and procedures of the Billings and Mt. Olive United Methodist Churches.
- If it becomes apparent that a group is not following the Church’s policy and procedures, that group will not be allowed to use the Church’s facilities.
Procedures for providing liability insurance that includes physical and sexual abuse coverage
The Administrative board shall provide liability insurance coverage which includes physical and sexual abuse coverage.
Procedures for reporting incidents of child abuse
- Upon observing or suspecting abuse, the worker/volunteer should immediately make certain that the child’s/youth’s safety and comfort are secured.
- If the situation if life threatening, call the police.
- Do not talk to any media. The Pastor will be the only official spokesperson of the Billings and Mt. Olive United Methodist Churches.
- Document everything that was witnessed or happened.
- Report the abuse or suspected abuse promptly to the Pastor. Anything< reported is confidential.
- If deemed appropriate, the Pastor and worker/volunteer will phone the Hotline at 1-800-392-3738. If not sure that you should call, you can check with Greene County DFS office at 859-6000 and they can advise you whether or not to call the Hotline. When calling be sure to have the following information:
Name of child/youth
Name of parent
Name of alleged abuser
Where child can be located
You will also be asked other questions about the incident.
- Following the guidance of the Hotline personnel, the pastor should notify the parents/guardians involved.
- The Pastor should report the course of events to the district superintendent, as well as local church officials.
- The Pastor and workers/volunteers are not to confront the accused, or the victim, other than to insure the safety of the child or youth.
- If the accused is the Pastor of the church, the resolutions of the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church should be followed. Those resolutions can be found in the 1997 Journal in the church office. The Administrative Board Chairperson, Lay Leader, and/or Staff Parrish Relations Committee Chairperson should be contacted. Together these people will bring such allegation to a District Superintendent, to one of the advocates, or to the Bishop (District Superintendent is the first choice.)
Procedures for reviewing the Safe Sanctuary Policy and Procedures Manual
- The Administrative Board may review policy and procedures as they deem necessary.
- The Nominating committee shall nominate a Safe Sanctuary Committee to be approved by the church conference.
- The policy and procedures will be reviewed annually by the Safe Sanctuary Committee with suggested changes taken to the Administrative Board for approval.
These Safe Sanctuary Procedures apply to any individual desiring to work with children and youth
These Safe Sanctuary Procedures were approved and adopted by the Administrative board of:
The Billings United Methodist Church on: _____________________________
The Mt. Olive United Methodist Church on: ____________________________
I. ______________________________, have been provided with a copy of the Billings and Mt. Olive United Methodist Churches Safe Sanctuary Policy and Procedures Manual. I have read it and agree to abide by the policy and procedures set forth in the document.
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