Child Safety Policy

"Because We Care"

  • The Need:
    • Jesus loved children. He must have surprised his disciples when he rebuked them over their failure to allow the children to come to him. At College Acres Baptist Church, we also love children. As a church family, we believe that we have a divine responsibility to protect our children. To whom much is given, much is always required. God had blessed College Acres with a growing number of children. Therefore, we have developed this policy to protect our children as well as our church. For the sake of this policy a juvenile is defined as any person under the age of eighteen (18) years old.
  • Safety Guidelines and Procedures:
    1. Six Month Rule
      • All volunteers who desire to work directly with children or youth must be members in good standing of College Acres Baptist Church for at least six months. They must also complete the Discovering Church Membership class in its entirety before beginning work with children or youth. If an exception to this rule appears to be in the best interest of the church, then approval of the Senior Pastor or Associate Pastor is required.
    2. Screening and Training of Staff and Volunteer Workers
      1. All volunteers or employees who will minister to juveniles (Examples are: Pre-school, children, and youth teachers, Pre-school, children, and youth Discipleship leaders, Word of Life Club leaders, extended session workers, and children's worship leaders, VBS workers) must complete the Screening Procedure (see Policy Requirements, section III. A).
      2. All volunteers and staff, within their first six months of working with children or youth, must attend a training session on the Child and Youth Protection Policy. The Education staff will track training attendance. Child Safety Policy training will be offered twice each year, and all volunteers must renew their training at least every 5 years, and when changes are made to the policy.
      3. Youth ages 14 to 17 may serve with at least one of their parents as a volunteer with preschoolers and children upon completion of the Screening Procedures (see Policy Requirements, section III. A).
    3. Two Adult and "3 Deep" Rule
      • For activities involving children from birth through 5th grade, two unrelated adults will be present at all church sponsored activities, on or off church premises. For children in grades 6 - 12, there must be at least three unrelated persons available for every church sponsored activity (e.g. one adult and two or more youth or a married couple and two or more youth.)
    4. Children of Volunteers
      • Children older than the age to which a parent is ministering and younger than 14, are not permitted in the classroom during the time of service. It is the responsibility of the parents to find someone who will accompany their children during service times.
    5. Counseling Children/Youth
      • The counseling of children/youth by any staff member or volunteer must take place in a public setting or in an office that has a window with an unobstructed view. If counseling takes place in a room without a window, the door must be left slightly open at all times.
        1. One-on-one meetings of a child/youth with a staff member should take place in a public setting (e.g. the church, a library or a restaurant).
        2. One-on-one meetings with a church volunteer may occur only with the prior consent of the child/youth's parent/guardian and should also occur in a public setting.
    6. Sign-in and Classroom Release Procedures
      1. (Infant-Kindergarten) - The church will use a "sign-in" form for all children who are infants - Kindergarten. This procedure uses a single sheet per room with separate columns for the child's name, security tag number, parent's name and location, and special instructions. The parent will also receive a tag with the child's security number which must be presented to the volunteer when the parent comes to pick-up the child. Preschool Word of Life Clubs will use a wrist band system in which the parent will receive a numbered wrist band that is to be given to the volunteer upon picking-up the child. Children will only be released to parents who turn-in security tags or wristbands. If the parent desires for another person to pick-up the child, the volunteer must be notified of this when the child is dropped-off. The designated person must be correctly identified and present the security tag or wristband in order to receive the child.
      2. (1st-5th Grade)- Elementary children in the 5th grade and under will not be released to the building-at-large. A parent or a designated and responsible party must receive the child from the volunteer. Upon dropping-off the child, the parent will receive a token or wrist band that must be presented to the volunteer when the child is picked-up. The parent must notify the volunteer if another designated person will receive the child when the child is dropped-off. The designated person must be correctly identified and present the token or wristband in order to receive the child. Elementary children in the 4th grade and above may be sent on errands in pairs to a specific area of the church (e.g. the kitchen, sanctuary or resource room).
      3. (Youth) - Youth in grades 6-12 may be released from an activity at the close of the event unless other arrangements have been made with parent/guardian for early dismissal. Youth in grades 6-12 may pick up younger siblings when the parent/guardian has provided written notification (one note for the year) to the volunteer.
    7. Diaper Changing Procedures
      • Sanitize the changing table before and after each diaper change. Volunteers should wear gloves when changing diapers and they should also wash their hands before and after diaper changing. Only female volunteers are allowed to change diapers unless the male volunteer is the child's parent. Use information sheets provided in the classrooms to record diaper changes.
    8. Bathroom Policy
      • Children should always be accompanied by an adult when going to the bathroom. The adult who is accompanying the child should remain outside of the bathroom with the door propped open. If the child cannot be accompanied by an adult, the volunteer must notify a ministry director (Preschool or Children's Life Group Director or Preschool Connection Team Leader) or the Deacon Hall Monitor and ask that person to assist the child with going to the bathroom. If volunteers on the 1st - 5th grade hallway are unable to accompany the child to the bathroom, they can stand at the classroom door and watch the child go and return from the bathroom. If the child is using the bathroom located between rooms 117 & 119, both doors need to be left slightly opened.
    9. Off-Site Activities and Transportation
      • For any church sponsored event that a child/youth will be off church property, a parental permission form including emergency contact information, pertinent medical history and insurance information must be completed for each child and be in the hands of the staff member or volunteer chaperoning the child/youth. When children or youth are being transported to an event, the staff person or adult leader is expected to travel as a part of the group. When only one vehicle is being used to transport children, two adults must be in the vehicle. However, if more than one vehicle is used, they must travel together, and only one adult is required in each vehicle. Youth are not to drive other youth to an off-site event except when the other youth is a sibling. For all off-site overnight activities, a roster of the youth or children participating in the activity must be given to the church office prior to the event. A parental permission form for each child should be in the vehicle in which that participant is being transported. All vehicles must have a current registration and inspections, and the driver must have a current driver's license and not have been convicted of a felony driving offense in the past 5 years.
    10. Overnight Stays
      • If an activity with children or youth involves an overnight stay, two or more adult leaders must be present and if the group is mixed gender there must be four adults with at least two males and two females. At no time will an adult be permitted to sleep in the same bed or bedding with any child or youth.
    11. Classroom Discipline
      • If a child is behaving inappropriately, the volunteer will state the expected behavior and tell the child specifically what he/she is doing that is not acceptable. If the disruptive behavior continues, the child will be taken to the appropriate ministry leader or staff person and if necessary the child's parents will be asked to come and get the child. If removal from the program becomes necessary, the situation will be discussed with the child's parent/guardian as soon as possible to establish the changes that must be made for continued participation in the program. Volunteers are not permitted at any time to use corporal punishment or abusive language when disciplining a child.
  • Policy Requirements:
    1. All volunteers or employees who will minister to juveniles (Examples are: Pre-school, children, and youth teachers, Pre-school, children, and youth Discipleship leaders, Word of Life Club leaders, extended session workers, and children's worship leaders, VBS workers) must complete the Screening Procedure which includes:
      • Be a member in good standing of College Acres Baptist Church for a minimum of six (6) months .
      • Complete the Volunteer Worker Application (Appendix A).
      • Sign the Release for a Criminal Background Investigation. (Appendix B)
        1. The background check information will be submitted to a private organization to be processed. All information received from the background checks will be held in strict confidence and kept under lock and key.
        2. All information given to enable investigators to establish identity, such as one's Social Security number will be destroyed by the investigator at the completion of said investigation.
    2. Background screenings will be reaffirmed annually upon completion of the Annual Background Screening Update (Appendix C). for the first two years. A background check must be run again once the original report is 3 years old and every 3 years thereafter, as long as the volunteer continues to work with children or youth.
  • Response to Findings of Screening Procedures:
    1. All information given by the applicant and received through the screening procedures will be held as Confidential. The information will only be viewed by the Pastoral staff and key ministry leaders as necessary.
    2. The focus of the investigation is on sexual misconduct, other criminal violations will be reviewed on a case by case basis to determine whether or not the applicant may minister to juveniles.
    3. Volunteers with Criminal Abuse Violations will not be accepted. There is no time limit on such violations.
    4. Sex Offender Registry: If it is discovered through the screening process or by other means that there is a registered sex offender in the congregation of College Acres Baptist Church, the following procedures will be enacted and enforced. Failure to comply with the following procedures will be cause to immediately remove the offender from the church property and legal measures will be taken to ensure the offender may not return to the property or any activity of College Acres Baptist Church.
      • The registered offender must meet with the Senior Pastor and other appropriate leadership. The purpose of this meeting is so that the leadership can clearly explain to the registered offender the child safety policy and the procedures he/she must follow while on the property of College Acres Baptist Church.
      • The registered offender will be assigned a deacon sponsor who will accompany the registered offender at all times while he/she is on the property of College Acres Baptist Church.
      • The registered offender shall not enter the pre-school, children, youth or college age areas of the buildings and property. This includes the hallways of said areas.
      • The registered offender shall not attend any activity that is specifically designed for pre-school, children, youth or college age students.
    • Let it be known, the desire of College Acres Baptist Church is not to humiliate, embarrass or degrade anyone. All situations involving a registered sex offender will be handled with the utmost scrutiny. It is the desire of College Acres Baptist Church to minister to all members of our community. However, the protection of our minors is of the utmost importance and therefore these procedures will be absolutely followed.
  • Abuse Reporting Procedures:
    1. Applicability: These procedures are to be followed in the event:
      • An employee or volunteer suspects, or has the knowledge that a juvenile has been abused by anyone.
      • A ministry worker suspects, or has the knowledge that this policy has been violated in any way.
      • There has been an express intent to violate this policy.
    2. Reporting and Response:
      • A ministry worker who suspects that abuse has occurred will report the incident or suspicions in writing to the Minister of Education. This written statement must be signed by the person reporting the incident or suspicions.
      • Any questionable behavior seemingly out of accord, is to be reported in writing to the Minister of Education. This written statement must be signed by the person reporting the incident or suspicions.
      • When a report has been received it will be investigated by the Minister of Education and the appropriate Ministry Leaders promptly. Such investigation will be documented and summarized in written form. The Minister of Education and the investigating Ministry leaders will then arrange for the appropriate reporting to the Department of Social Services or to local state law enforcement agencies.
      • All reporting will be done in compliance with all applicable laws.
      • The ministry worker who reported the incident or suspicions and the investigating Ministry leaders will keep all information pertaining to the abuse incident confidential; communicating about the incident with no one except those as provided in the policy.
      • Should abuse allegations occur, workers will:
        1. Take each allegation seriously.
        2. Treat each allegation with confidentiality and respect for the privacy of all involved.
        3. Cooperate fully with civil authorities.
        4. Take immediate action to protect and safeguard all juveniles.
      • The Senior Pastor will be kept apprised of the situation at all times.
      • The Minister of Education will make certain that all efforts at handling the incident are documented in writing; including dates and times.
      • The church will immediately report the incident to the church's insurance company and attorney.
      • The Minister of Education will notify the parents of the juvenile.
      • No one associated with the alleged incident should confront the accused until the safety of the juvenile is secured. If the accused is a church member, the person will be relieved of his/her ministry duties at least temporarily until the investigation is finished, for the protection of all parties.
      • The only person who will communicate with the media is the Minister of Education.
  • Scope of this Policy:
    • Though the pre-school, children, and youth ministries are the primary focus of this policy, this policy applies to all College Acres Baptist Church ministries.
  • Attachments:
 

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College Acres Baptist Church

  • 702 Eastwood Road
  • Wilmington, NC  28403
  • Tel: (910) 799-3773
  • Email: office@collegeacres.org