Safe Sanctuaries Policy
Safe Sanctuaries Abuse Prevention Policy
The General Conference of the United Methodist Church, in April, 1996, adopted a resolution aimed at reducing the risk of child abuse in the church. The adopted resolution calls all churches to welcome the children and also to make our churches safe places for children to grow and learn. It is our responsibility to be proactive in our recruiting and training, to find people with a gift for caring for children, and also to protect those volunteers from false accusations. It is also our responsibility to oversee all programs involving children, to make sure there is a safe environment, and to have a plan of response in place should an accusation arise. The General Conference resolution affirmed that every local church shall have in place a policy for protecting children.
Woodinville Community United Methodist Church's purpose for establishing this Child Abuse Prevention Policy and accompanying procedures is to demonstrate our absolute and unwavering commitment to the physical safety and spiritual growth of all our children, youth, and vulnerable adults.
STATEMENT OF COVENANT
As a Christian community of faith committed to ministry to and with children, we pledge to conduct all our activities and ministries in such a way that assure the safety and spiritual growth of all children, youth, and vulnerable adults entrusted to us. We will follow reasonable safety measures in the selection and recruitment of workers and we will be responsible in overseeing our programs and events and in training our staff, so that they are able and equipped to minister to all of God's children in Jesus' name. We will report and respond to allsuspected incidents of abuse as is required by state law and our moral conscience and we will be prepared to minister to the families of both the abused and the perpetrator.
A HIGHER STANDARD
As ambassadors of Jesus Christ, we must strive to be worthy of a very high standard of trust. For this reason, every worker at Woodinville Community United Methodist Church must avoid even the appearance of inappropriate behavior. All workers both paid and volunteer must diligently avoid any contact that appears wrong to a reasonable observer, even if no misconduct takes place.
Identification of Team - Leaders will have name tags and are to keep them identifiable.
Identification of Children - Name tags are provided for all children with security codes.
Restroom Use - ensuite restrooms are accessible to every classroom. Children are encouraged to do everything for themselves. Those needing help to "fasten" are enabled by using the child's hands under the caregiver's to accomplish the task. Men are not allowed to take children to the restroom.
Visitors - Parents are required to complete a registration card including the allergy and medical concern section, before leaving their children in the care of our ministry team.
Dismissal - All children 2nd grade and under are to be picked up by their parents (or siblings only under special arrangements.)
Allergies and Medical Conditions - Parents must communicate in writing allergies and medical issues. This information is made available to the ministry team on a "need to know" basis. Notations are made on the registration form. It is the parent's responsibility to inform all leaders in each situation.
No Child Alone - Children are not to be left unattended or alone with one leader, please wait until both leaders are present.
Illness - To assure the safety of our church family, children and leaders should stay home when they have any of the following symptoms:
- o Temperature of 99.6 orally or 100.6 auxiliary or higher
- o Severe cold and/or sneezing, persistent cough, sore throat, swollen glands, earache, or discharge form nose, eyes or ears
- o Red or sore eyes
- o Upset stomach, nausea, and/or vomiting, or diarrhea
- o Undiagnosed skin eruptions or skin rash
- o Fainting or seizures
- o Symptoms and/or signs compatible with a communicable disease, or exposure to a communicable disease.
Classroom Evacuations Caregivers should acquaint themselves with the evacuation route for their classroom and adjoining classrooms should the primary exit be blocked. Before evacuating the room the caregiver counts the number of children in their class, and takes the attendance sheet. All children are evacuated to yard of the house next to the church on 140th Ave. (this is church property and the yard is the furthest distance from the church building and a fenced and secure area)
First aid will be brought to children if needed. Children are released only to their parents. No children are dismissed to go on their own in emergency situations.
Students are directed to "drop and cover" (climb under tables, etc.) until the earthquake stops, and are evacuated when given instruction to do so by a member of the WCUMC staff. At the first signs of an earthquake caregivers of babies and toddlers thru 4's shall quickly cover the babies/crawlers with either cribs, tables, etc, or their bodies ensuring that the children have room to breathe but are protected from any falling debris. If there is little or no damage to the room please remain in the room. If instructed to evacuate, infants are placed in emergency crib, crib with wheels, or strollers if possible and quickly evacuated.
Precautions shall be taken when handling blood, urine, feces, or other bodily fluids. Disposable gloves are to be worn when there is contact with such body fluids. In the event that an emergency precludes the use of gloves in contacts with blood or other body fluids, the leader should maintain a protective barrier between the child and other persons. Caregivers are required to wash hands after any contact with body fluids, and before food preparation. Children and adults may use the waterless soap disinfectant prior to eating in lieu of washing their hands. Disinfectants are used on all "mouthed" toys, early childhood rooms and equipment, and for wiping up spills of body fluids. Trash cans are lined with disposable plastic liners.
Campus Security - Our Children's Ministry Team members and caregivers are advised to report anyone "just wandering around". Children are not allowed to wander around the campus, and are to always be under the supervision of their parents when not checked into class.
1. Screening and recruiting
a. All workers with children and youth will have completed an application listing standard contact information, their gifts for that ministry, & 3 unrelated references.
b. All workers will be interviewed by the pastor, education chair, or children's coordinator before they begin teaching. References will be contacted.
c. All workers will demonstrate an active relationship with this church of at least 6 months before being allowed to supervise children.
d. All new workers will be asked to complete a WA request for Criminal Background Check & Child Abuse History Clearance. National background checks will also be conducted when necessary.
e. All forms and reference reports shall be kept as a part of an applicant's confidential personnel file. All forms shall be kept in a locked file on the church premise.2. Supervision
a. Two adult rule. There will be 2 unrelated adults in each classroom. If this is not possible, there will be a roving teacher who moves amid the classrooms during the program period.
b. No person shall supervise an age group unless he/she is at least 5 years older than the oldest student.
c. No person under 16 shall be considered as one of the 2 adults.
d. Each room will have a window or the door will be left open at all times.
e. Training shall occur at least once a year and teachers shall be trained to recognize the signs of abuse.
f. Registration materials for activities in which children are outside direct supervision of their parents/guardians shall require signed written permission forms that include pertinent health information in order to participate.
g. If the participants are old enough to understand, they shall sign a covenant of participation listing rules for all trips, overnights, etc.
a. Upon receiving information of abuse, a report will be given immediately to the Pastor or Children's Pastor or Chair of the Ministry Steering Team.
b. If the abuse happened on church property by church volunteers or staff, the individual(s) shall immediately be removed from contact with children, youth, or vulnerable adults until the incident reported has been resolved. This should be handled in a discreet manner & the person(s) shall not be banned from other church ministries.
a. A quick, compassionate and unified response to an alleged incident of abuse will be initiated. All allegations will be taken seriously. Nothing will be covered up.
b. All requests for statements should be directed to the Lead Pastor. The Media Director of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference or his/her designee, is the only person/s authorized to make statements to representatives of the media.
c. If the allegation is against a staff person or pastor, the District Superintendent will be contacted immediately.
d. Pastoral support will be available to all persons involved in the incident as indicated.