Maineville United Methodist Church
Safe Sanctuary Policy
In accordance with United Methodist policies and procedures of the United Methodist Church, the Maineville United Methodist Church adopts the policies and procedures listed below. These procedures are intended to provide a safe environment for children and youth, as well as protect adults from unfounded allegations of misconduct. Our church is to be a safe place for all ages. This policy is designed to assist in providing a safe sanctuary. This policy is designed for persons aged 0-18 (collectively “children” or singly, “child”). Adults are defined as persons aged 19 and older.
1. All church staff and volunteers who work with children must be trained on the church's Safe Sanctuary policy. All documentation must be kept on file.
2. The church will order a criminal background check on any and all staff in any position. All documentation related to that background check must be kept on file.
3. The church has the right to do criminal background and reference checks on any volunteer. All volunteers must give permission to allow the church to conduct these checks before their service begins. All documentation must be kept on file. All volunteers will be checked initially and randomly thereafter.
4. Training for staff and volunteers on recognizing and reporting potential cases of abuse will occur on a regular basis.
5. If abuse is suspected, it is to be immediately reported to the staff member in charge, and the Senior Pastor is to be informed by the staff member immediately. In an event of suspected abuse the Senior Pastor or his/her designee, along with a small leadership team, is to be the church's media spokesperson (prepared statements drafted by this team could be utilized). The Senior Pastor will report all suspected cases to the appropriate authorities.
6. The church will operate on a two deep/two-adult rule. A minimum of two adults should be assigned to all activities involving children. The two adults should be unrelated when possible.
7. If any group of children is meeting in a room without windows, the door must remain ajar to at least half open at all times. A roving volunteer is also recommended.
8. There will be a "five year" rule observed. This states that children are not to have primary supervision of other children. An adult will always have primary supervision, but may be assisted by an older child provided the assistant is at least 5 years older than those they are helping. Example: The oldest child that a 16 year old can supervise is 11 years old. No one under 18 may have primary supervision without an assigned responsible adult on site.
9. All staff will be required to have CPR and first aid training. It is highly recommended that all volunteers receive this same training.
10. The general guidelines for leaders to child ratios are as follows:
11. Children and youth programs are to operate on a buddy system. The buddy system will consist of a minimum of two (2) "buddies" with a preferred minimum of 4+ during all activities away from the church property.
12. If behavior becomes an issue, the leaders will have the right to contact a parent and have the child picked up immediately.
13. No leader is to discipline a child verbally or otherwise without the presence of another adult. No form of physical discipline is permitted.
14. Once on church property, children will not be permitted to leave the property, even with parental consent, until the event is concluded unless escorted by parents or by an adult Activity Leader. Example: Children may not leave to go to Wendy's, Wal-Mart, etc. during an event. This places staff and volunteers in a perilous situation because they cannot be expected to supervise under these conditions.
15. Permission forms must be completed for a child to have prescription medications. An adult will serve as the custodian of prescribed medications with the exception of inhalers.
16. Parents will be provided with detailed information on procedures and policies for all activities. The information will include all relevant event location address, location phone number, adult leader phone numbers, start and end times, and expectation of parental pick up times for children and youth.
17. It is encouraged that a parent or guardian accompanies any child needing assistance in the restroom. When this is not possible, an adult must check the bathroom before the child is permitted to enter to ensure their safety. The door to the restroom should be kept open or ajar and monitored by the adult leader with as much privacy as possible for the child.
18. Only leaders or other qualified individuals may drive for off-property events. All drivers must have a valid driver's license and proof of insurance. No one under age 24 will be permitted transport children who are not siblings on church activities. The number of occupants per vehicle must not exceed the recommended number of passengers, the number of seat belts, and seatbelts must be operational and worn by all occupants.
19. At least one adult leader must have access to and be accessible by cell phone during all church activities.
20. Written permission and medical treatment consent forms must be completed by a child's parent or legal guardian for any overnight trips. The two-adult leadership rule and ratio to students must be followed throughout the trip along with the established "buddy system".
21. All Safe Sanctuary Policies and Procedures must be agreed to and signed by any Boy Scout, Girl Scout, Cub Pack, family, or any other organization that comes under sponsorship or uses the Maineville United Methodist Church or is present on its properties.
Note: The above policies were taken from policies and procedures of Williamson's Chapel United Methodist Church located at 575 Brawley School Road, Mooresville, NC and St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Memphis, TN.
The above policies and procedures have been reviewed, edited, and adopted by the current Administrative Board (09/09/13) and the Board of Trustees (11/25/13).
All policies are subject to review at any time by all governing committees.
All members will be invited to suggest changes that will enhance the safety of our children, volunteers, and staff.