Child Protection Policies and Procedures

April 22, 2014

Landmark Christian Church seeks to provide a safe environment for the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of all the children who participate in our programs and activities.  Church leadership recognizes the need to have formal, written guidelines to help prevent the opportunity for, or the appearance of, abuse to a minor.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these… And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.”
Mark 10:14, 16

Definition of Inappropriate Behavior

The following behaviors are prohibited for all church volunteers, employees, and attenders

Physical abuse- includes physical injury to a child that is not accidental
Emotional abuse- includes belittling, teasing or bullying
Neglect – includes deprivation of essential needs such as food, water, shelter, or medical care.
Sexual abuse- includes activities such as fondling, inappropriate touch, inappropriate language, and sexual activity between volunteer/helper and child.

 

Volunteer Requirements

6-month rule:  Volunteers who would like to be considered for a position involving contact with minors must wait 6 months from their first attendance at Landmark Church.

Background Checks:  The background check will be done on all children’s workers, which will consist of, at a minimum, a search for past sex offenses and criminal activity.  Any convictions for sex offenses will preclude the person from working with children.

The Child Protection Policies and Procedures guidelines must be referred to, followed and signed. The signed portion will be given to the pastoral staff or an elder board member and kept on file.

Children’s teachers and program coordinators must have stated and demonstrated personal commitment to Christ and adherence to the beliefs of Landmark Christian Church.

An interview with each new prospective teacher will be conducted by ministry staff or someone designated by them. At the interview, the church’s core beliefs will be explained and the prospective teacher’s beliefs will be discussed. The Child Protection Policy will be explained and the teacher will sign a statement agreeing to abide by it.

 

Classroom Policies

Two Adult Rule: All children and youth classes and activities will contain at least two adults. When it is impractical to staff two adults in every room, there will be an additional adult who will serve as a floater.  The floater will have visual and physical access to all areas (either requiring doors to be open or having prominent windows in the doors).

Open Door Rule: Classroom doors, and any doors to rooms where adult-child interaction is taking place, should remain open unless there is a window that provides visibility into the classroom from the inside of the building.  Doors should never be locked while persons are inside the room.

Teachers should be in their classrooms prepared to greet and supervise their students ten minutes before class begins. They are responsible for students until class ends.

Children under sixth grade are never to be left unsupervised.  If it should become necessary to leave students under 6th grade for any reason, the floater should first be notified of the problem.

Discipline is expected to be appropriate for the child or youth’s age, such as redirecting, separating from the group (time out), notifying the parent of the problem, and/or taking the child to a parent or staff member.  Physical discipline, such as spanking, is never permitted.

 

Restroom Policies

For the protection of all, workers should never be alone with a child/youth in a restroom with the doors closed and never in a closed stall with a child.  If a child should need assistance, prop the doors open while assisting them.

Preschoolers should always be taken to the restroom as a group unless another adult worker is available to take charge of either the child or the classroom group.  Always escort the child or group back to the classroom.

Parents are strongly encouraged to have their children visit the restroom prior to each class.

 

Nursery Policies

All volunteers and helpers should wear a name tag

Implement the check in / check out system for each child who attends.  The child’s name, age, name of parents and special instructions should be included on the sign in/out sheet at each service

Only the child’s parent may pick them up unless otherwise specified

Volunteers should stay in the nursery until all children are picked up.

Only children ages 3 and under should be in the nursery.  Helpers and children of volunteers are exceptions.

Two volunteers must be available in the nursery for all services.  One must be 18 years or older and a helper must be 10-17 years old. If an adult is alone in the nursery, they can have the floater step in if needed.

Nursery should be clean and organized at all times and all toys should be age-appropriate.

Diapering procedure:

  • Volunteers should wear disposable gloves while changing diapers.
  • New gloves should be worn each time a diaper is changed.
  • Changing table should be sanitized after each use.

 

Emergency Procedures

In case of severe weather, have the children sit in the hallway by the restrooms.

In case of fire or other emergency that requires evacuation

Guide the children out of the building as quickly as possible.
Count the children when outside the building to make certain that all are accounted for.
Take the children to the light pole on the west side of the parking lot (by the gravel portion of the parking lot) and wait for parents to pick up their children.
Stay with the children until they all have been picked up by their parents

 

Transportation Policies

Preferred transportation for all youth events is in a church owned vehicle.

If individual, privately owned vehicles will be used, the drivers must be 21 years of age or older.

If the driver is a regular driver of a church owned vehicle they must be pre-approved by the insurance company. All drivers must have proper insurance and a good driving record.

Every passenger must wear a seat-belt.

It is recommended that the driver have the permission slips and medical forms of the youth passengers in his/her vehicle in case of an emergency.  When more than one vehicle is used to transport youth to activities, it is highly recommended that each driver have directions to and from the activity along with the cell phone numbers of the other drivers if possible.

Under no circumstances should a youth drive to any off site event, outside the local area, without parental permission of all involved.

It is recommended that all participants ride together as a group to any events.

No adult should be alone in a vehicle with a youth without parental permission, except in the event of an emergency.

When renting a vehicle, it should be in the name of Landmark Christian Church. This allows the insurance to cover the vehicle.

 

Overnight Policies

All youth participants and parents should read and sign a code of conduct/permission form for the event. Adult chaperones and event staff must have read the “Child Protection” policies and procedures.

There will be no mixed gender sleeping quarters. There must be both gender adult chaperones if both gender youth are participating. Adults should not share beds with children other than their own.

Chaperones should set a curfew and continue supervision after ‘lights out’. Youth should know where the adult chaperones are at all times. No youth should be allowed to leave the property without adult supervision.

When acquiring hotel accommodations, it is recommended that, if possible, all the rooms be on the same floor.  When making reservations, pay-TV and long distance lines should be turned off at the hotel desk.

 

Chaperone Policies

Chaperones must be 21 years of age or older. Anyone under the age of 21 can volunteer but must have supervision and may not be considered a chaperone.  They must be considered a volunteer and not a participant and must be cleared as a volunteer.  They should avoid any situations that may jeopardize the youth/young adult relationship.

It is recommended that every activity have at least two chaperones.  If both genders of youth are present at the activity, it is recommended that both genders be present among the chaperones.

Utilize the buddy system.  Youth participants should never be alone. Groups of 3 or more are recommended.