Trinity Episcopal Church Safe Church Policy and Procedures for Ministry with Children/Youth Highlights
November 10, 2014
General Purpose Statement
Trinity Episcopal Church seeks to provide a safe and secure environment for the children and youth who participate in our programs and activities. By implementing the below practices, our goal is to protect the children and youth from incidents of misconduct or inappropriate behavior while also protecting our staff and volunteers from false accusations. This policy replaces the Safe Church Policy of 2011.
For purposes of this policy, the terms “child” or “children” include all persons under the age of eighteen (18) years.
Selection of Workers
All employees and all persons who desire to work with the children participating in our programs and activities will be screened. This screening includes the following: a) Six Month Rule b) Written Application c) Personal Interview d) Reference Checks e) Background Check (see website for details).
Two Adult Rule
It is our goal that a minimum of two unrelated adult workers will be in attendance at all times when children are being supervised during our programs and activities. Some youth classes may have only one adult teacher in attendance during the class session; in these instances, doors to the classroom should remain open and there should be no fewer than three students with the adult teacher. We do not allow minors to be alone with one adult on our premises or in any sponsored activity unless in a counseling situation.
Responding to Allegations of Child Abuse
For purposes of this policy, “child abuse” is any action (or lack of action) which endangers or harms a child’s physical, psychological or emotional health and development.
Childcare workers may have the opportunity to become aware of abuse or neglect of the children under our care. In the event that an individual involved in the care of children at Trinity Episcopal Church becomes aware of suspected abuse or neglect of a child under his/her care, this should be reported immediately to the Senior Warden, Rector or the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee or designee for further action including reporting to authorities as may be mandated by state law. All clergy are mandated reporters. All volunteers are strongly encouraged to report such activity to the rector of Trinity Episcopal Church.
The Following Provisions Regarding Child Protection Are in Effect:
Open Door Policy
Classroom doors should remain open unless there is a window in the door or a side window beside it. Doors should never be locked while persons are inside the room.
We recognize that there may be times when it is necessary or desirable for childcare (paid or volunteer) who are themselves under age 18 to assist in caring for children during programs or activities. The following guidelines apply to such workers:
Children five years of age and younger should utilize the classroom bathroom available. If a classroom bathroom is not available, workers may escort a group of children to the hallway bathroom as needed. They should always go in a group, never taking a child to the bathroom alone.
One child will be allowed to enter the classroom bathrooms meant for individual use. The worker(s) should escort more than one child to the multi-person bathroom and remain outside the door when in use and escort the children back to the classroom. Call the child's name if there is a delay. If a child requires assistance, the workers should prop open the bathroom door and leave the stall door open as he/she assists the child.
For children over the age of five, at least one adult male should take boys to the restroom and at least one adult female should take girls unless over the age of ten if teachers are available. The worker should check the bathroom first to make sure that the bathroom is empty, and then allow the child/children inside. The worker should then remain outside the bathroom door and the other worker escort the children back to the classroom.
For the protection of all, workers should never be alone with a child in a bathroom with the door closed and never be in a closed bathroom stall with a child. Parents are strongly encouraged to have their children visit the bathroom prior to each class. Those age ten and older are permitted to go to the bathroom alone.
Accidental Injuries to Children
In the event that a child or youth is injured while under our care, the following steps should be followed:
- 1. For minor injuries, scrapes, and bruises, workers will provide First Aid (Band-Aids, etc.) as appropriate and will notify the child’s parent or guardian of the injury at the time the child is picked up from our care.
- 2. For injuries requiring medical treatment beyond simple First Aid, the parent and/or guardian will immediately be summoned in addition to a church staff member. If warranted by circumstances, an ambulance will be called. EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS ARE LOCATED THROUGHOUT THE BUILDINGS.
- 3. Once the child has received appropriate medical attention, an incident report will be completed by the rector in the case of injuries requiring treatment by a medical professional.
The Safe Church Minister will provide oversight of this policy, administer Background and Criminal Records checks, and report to the rector and senior warden for periodic evaluation of this policy.