Storrs Community Church
Safe Church Policy
Revised August 2016
*Parents: Please specifically note the italicized portions of the policy.
All churches aspire to provide a safe, loving and trusting environment for all of its members. Unfortunately, it can be this trusting and loving nature of churches coupled with the constant need for eager volunteers that makes them vulnerable.
The aim of this policy is to make our church a safe place for our children and volunteers by establishing transparency and accountability in our programs and limiting access of those who would harm our children.
Screening and Selection for Ministry
All employees and volunteers who work with children or youth are required to undergo a background check and public records check. In addition, the following screening components must be completed prior to ministry involvement:
- Written application
- Reference checks
Volunteers are not permitted to apply to work with children or youth until the clergy and the congregation has known them for at least six months.
Behavioral Standards for Ministry
Adults shall not:
- Provide children or youth with alcohol, illegal drugs or pornography,
- Consume or be under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or the misuse of legal drugs at any children’s or youth event,
- Engage in illegal behavior or permit other adults or children or youth to engage in illegal behavior,
- Engage in any sexual, romantic, illicit or secretive relationship or conduct with any child or youth,
- Discuss their own sexual activities or fantasies with children or youth.
Firearms and concealed weapons are prohibited at any church activity. The Pastor may make special exceptions for off-duty police officers or others required to carry firearms.
Monitoring Programs and Interactions
Two unrelated adults are to be present at all programs and activities for children and youth.
If unanticipated circumstances result in an adult being alone with children or youths, that adult shall immediately report those circumstances to the Pastor or Director of Children and Youth Ministries.
If only one student is in attendance, class is cancelled and the student joins their parent in the Worship service.
It may be appropriate for a Sunday School class to have only one teacher so long as at least one other adult teacher or safety monitor can have visual contact with the teacher.
All programs, trips and events that involve children or youth require prior approval by the Pastor. No event for children or youth shall take place in a private residence without prior approval.
Adults who work with children or youth are discouraged from having a separate and private relationship with any unrelated child from the church away from sanctioned church youth activities.
All church computers are to be password protected.
Education and Training
Our Safe Church policy will be posted in areas where activities for children and youth take place and will be given to all adults who regularly work with children or youth and to parents.
A "safe church audit” will be conducted annually in April, to review practices and policies within the congregation. All volunteers are expected to review Safe Church Policy or attend training annually.
Responding to Concerns
Anyone who knows of a violation of these policies shall immediately report the violation to the Pastor or the Director of Children and Youth Ministries. Anyone who knows of a violation of these policies by a clergy person shall immediately report the violation to the Board of Elders.
The Abuse and Neglect Hotline for the Connecticut Department of Children and Families is 1- 800-842-2288.
The names and addresses of parents and children must be carefully maintained.
Programs for nursery, preschool and elementary children must provide a sign-in sheet. An accurate sign-in and pick-up procedure would include each child’s name, parent’s name, and phone number. Space will be provided for parents to list any special needs.
Children should not be received into the classroom until properly registered and signed in.
A child will be released to a parent or representative only on the basis of a signature only to persons listed on the registration/sign in form. (or security number, identification card or in the case of a nursery child, the bearer of the I.D.#.)
Children are never to be dropped off in the nursery or classroom without a teacher/caregiver present. If only one teacher/caregiver is present, the door must be left open.
Children are not allowed to wander during the class time.
Only approved authorized volunteers are allowed in classrooms during classes.
Parents are responsible for the supervision of their children prior to, in between and after official programs.
Parents are encouraged to take their children to visit the bathroom prior to each class or service.
Diaper changing must always take place in such a way that another nursery worker can easily see the child that is being changed, as well as the other children and workers in the room.
Children must be 12 years of age or older, with appropriate training before being permitted to change infant’s diapers.
Safety monitor will take note of time children spend in the bathroom and will check on child if they are taking an exceptionally long time.
If a child needs assistance in the bathroom a second adult (Safety monitor or teacher) is to be informed (preferably) before assisting the child.