August 2017  
SMTWTFS
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
     
Upcoming Events
AUG

17

THU
Food Pantry
9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
AUG

20

SUN
Bible Study
9:30 AM to 10:15 AM
Worship
10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Potluck Dinner
12:00 PM
Bring a covered dish; stay and enjoy a meal and fellowship together after worship
AUG

22

TUE
Choir
7:00 PM
Bible Search
Join a Mailing List
Safe Sanctuary Policy
Safe Sanctuary
 
Policy

Policy

Safety Policy of
Asbury United Methodist Church, Ada, Oklahoma
for Children, Youth and Vulnerable Adults

Introduction

Jesus said, "Whoever welcomes [a] child... welcomes me." (Matthew 18:5) He also said, "If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones ... it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matthew 18:6)

Child abuse happens every 15 seconds in America. Studies have indicated that one out of three girls is sexually abused by the age of 18 and one out of seven boys. Our Christian faith calls us to offer both hospitality and protection to those who cannot protect themselves. Further, many workers in churches find themselves unprotected from allegations of child abuse or neglect.

In response to this call, and action of the 2003 Oklahoma Annual Conference, The congregation of Asbury United Methodist Church of Ada, Oklahoma hereby commit ourselves as a community of faith to this policy of safety for children, youth, and vulnerable adults.

Purpose

Our congregation's purpose for establishing this Safety Policy and accompanying procedures is to demonstrate our absolute and unwavering commitment to create within our ministries a "safe sanctuary" that will foster healthy growth and development in spiritual and other dimensions as we have opportunity to provide ministry.

Statement of Policy

Therefore, as a Christian community of faith and an Oklahoma United Methodist congregation, we pledge to conduct the ministry of the gospel in ways that assure the safety and spiritual growth of all our children, youth, and vulnerable adults as well as all those who work with them. It is our policy to:

  1. Follow reasonable safety measures in the selection and recruitment of workers;
  2. Implement prudent operational procedures in all programs and events;
  3. Conform our facilities to meet reasonable safety standards to reduce risk of harm or injury;
  4. Provide for workers adequate training regarding the implementation of our policies, procedures, and preferred methodologies;
  5. Provide adequate supervision and support for workers as they are in ministry on our behalf;
  6. Educate parents and others in our congregation as to our policies and procedures;
  7. Have in place a clearly defined procedure for reporting instances of injury, harm or abuse that conforms to requirements of state law;
  8. Respond with compassion and integrity to needs as they present themselves following incidents of harm, injury, or abuse;
  9. Regularly review our policies and procedures to assure that they conform to current legal, health, and safety standards.

Conclusion

In all of our ministries with children, youth, and vulnerable adults, this congregation is committed to demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ so that each person is "surrounded by steadfast love,... established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal" (Baptismal Covenant II," United Methodist Hymnal, p.44).

 

 

Adopted by Asbury United Methodist Church, Ada, Oklahoma on September 30, 2007

 
Procedures

Procedures for the Implementation of
Safety Policies for Children, Youth, and Vulnerable Adults of
Asbury United Methodist Church, Ada, Oklahoma
as of September 30, 2007


(Policies below are in bold type. Procedures describe how policies will be carried out.)

A.  Follow reasonable safety measures in the selection and recruitment of workers;

  1. All lead workers with children, youth, or vulnerable adults will have been active with their peers in the life of this congregation for at least six months and at least 18 years of age prior to their taking responsibilities in our church ministries.
  2. Every person working with children, youth, or vulnerable adults will complete an application form, provide references to their character and relational skills and submit to a formal background check. This information which will be kept in a secure location and will be reviewed and updated every two years.
  3. The pastor shall submit to a background check and said results will be kept in the District Superintendent’s office.
  4. All paid workers with children, youth, or vulnerable adults will be selected and hired by the Staff Parish Relations Committee or a representative group of that committee and the Pastor.
  5. All said background checks, whether for volunteer or paid staff, are to be kept in strictest confidentiality and kept in a secured locked location as determined by the Pastor and Lay Leader for volunteer workers. If it is a paid worker it shall be the Pastor and PPRC chair. All workers shall enter into a Covenant to adhere to these policies and procedures.

 

B. Implement prudent operational procedures in all programs and events;

  1. At least two adults will be present for all activities, programs, and events for children, youth, or vulnerable adults. Leaders should never be alone, one-on-one, with a child, youth, or vulnerable adult in an isolated or closed situation. If the adult leaders should find themselves in such a situation, they should use prudence in removing themselves from the situation immediately. Ways to do this are:
  1.  If the child, youth or vulnerable adult should happen to drop by the church and the adult leader is alone working in the church, they should try to find another adult or parent. If none can be located as a last resort asks the child to leave and to come back at a later time. Make an appointment to get back with the child, so that they will know that they are important. Make sure the child has a secure way to get home.
  2. If the child, youth or vulnerable adult should wish to speak with an adult leader in a one-on-one conversation, the adult leader should make plans for another adult leader to be present in the building and observing from the door or in the room. Understanding that conversations of confidentiality may occur, the adult leaders should take every precaution to protect the child’s, youth’s, or vulnerable adult’s privacy.
  3.  As other situations present themselves, the leaders are expected to use good judgment in those situations in accordance with these policies and procedures.
  4. These suggestions will be updated on an annual basis to provide training for workers.

2. The following suggested ratios are to be observed as much as possible in all activities, programs, and events with the understanding that at least two adult workers or a monitor for more than one class may also be present:

 

Nursery and Toddlers

1 adult to 4 children

Preschoolers and Kindergarten

1 adult to 6 children

Elementary

1 adult to 8 children

Youth

1 adult to 10 youth

Vulnerable Adults

1 leader to 12

 

All off site trips must have at minimum 2 adult monitors.

 

3. Young people ages 14 to 18 are welcome to serve as assistant leaders under direct adult supervision with a coordinators’ permission providing that the young person is at least five (5) years older than the group with whom he or she will work. (i.e., if the youth is working with 8 year olds, they must be at least 13 years of age.) This applies to on site activities only.

4. If there are not two adults per classroom, a hall monitor will check with leaders and offer assistance as needed during activities, programs and events. This hall monitor will provide the same background and reference information as the other workers.

5. Parents will be informed of details and will be asked to give permission for children and youth to participate in ministry activities that take place away from the church. Parents will be informed that should their child get sick or become a discipline problem they will be called to pick up the child. Leaders will see that parents are informed of any changes made in plans otherwise published, even at the last minute.

6. Youth are required to sign a covenant of expected behavior prior to all off premises event or overnight event.

7. Volunteers providing transportation for programs, activities, or events for children, youth or vulnerable adults will:

 a. Hold a valid drivers license, (copies of the driver’s license will be kept in the pastor’s office) for the type of vehicle that is to be used.

  1. For Volunteers, any moving violations will be subject to review by the Pastor and Lay Leader. Driving records will be checked yearly.
  2. Use a vehicle in good mechanical condition. The Board of Trustees is responsible for the maintenance and care of church vehicle(s). If personal vehicles are used, they should be in good mechanical condition. Any trip over 50 miles needs to have a trip request along with a vehicle inspection report on file in the church office.  The Pastor or the Lay Leader need to approve the request. If for some reason neither can be reached the Nurture coordinator can approve the request.
  3. Carry no more people than can be secured in seat belts or appropriate restraints, in accordance with state laws. Restraints shall be used
  4. Not drive with passengers in the bed of a pickup truck, or other vehicle when they are not properly restrained.
  5. Adhere to the traffic and vehicle laws of the State of Oklahoma and to the laws of the area in which they are traveling.
  1. Nursery workers will follow sanitary procedures when changing diapers and caring for toilet needs of children. This includes proper disposal of diapers and suitable hand washing procedures.
  2. Children who pose a threat of passing an illness on to the other children need to be removed from nurseries and classes to avoid exposure to others
  3. Large mobile, computer and audio visual equipment shall be setup under an adults supervision. Movable equipment must be checked to determine if a safety hazard exists that would cause it to fall of its conveyance. Proper restraints will then be applied.
  4. Children will be under supervision anytime they are in the church building or in the outdoor play area. When official childcare is not provided, parents are expected to provide supervision at all times.
  5. At least two people should accompany children to the out door play area to provide supervision. At no time are children to be left alone in the outdoor play area.
  6. Emergency exit plans are posted in each area of the building. Also posted are instructions for tornado safety. These plans are reviewed regularly with parents, leaders, teachers, and caretakers. Procedures for tornado and fire drills will be conducted regularly.
  7. During children’s activities, children taking a rest room break will be under the discrete observation of the hall monitor to insure no one follows the child into the rest room while assuring that the child’s needs are met and the child is afforded privacy.

C. Conform our facilities to meet reasonable safety standards to reduce risk of harm or injury

  1. Every classroom and office door will have a window providing a view of the interior.
  2. Board of Trustees will semiannually check facilities for safety hazards. The report shall be submitted to the Pastor and Church Council and kept on file.
  3. Toxic materials, including cleaning and other supplies, will be stored in locked facilities well out of the reach of children, youth, and vulnerable adults.
  4. Electrical outlets in all areas accessible by children will be covered when not in use.
  5. Outdoor play areas will be checked regularly for dangers. (see number 2 above)

D. Provide for workers adequate training regarding the implementation of our policies, procedures, and preferred methodologies;

  1. Before taking responsibility for children, youth or vulnerable adults, workers will receive an orientation where policies, procedures, and preferred methodologies will be reviewed.
  2. Training of the policies, procedures and preferred methodologies is to be reviewed annually.
  3. It is the responsibility of the paid or volunteer workers to strictly comply with these policies and procedures.
  4. A worker should be present which has First Aid/CPR/ training during any activity when children, youth or vulnerable adults are present..
  5. Annually there will be opportunities to update and improve knowledge and skills useful in our ministries. Volunteers and paid workers are expected to take advantage of these opportunities. Such opportunities will include:
  1. Annual Local Church Leaders Workshop
  2. Conference sponsored training events
  3. First Aid and Safety Training
  4. Safe Driving Courses
  5. Other training as is pertinent to the position to which the worker is engaged.

E. Provide adequate supervision and support for workers as they are in ministry;

  1. Leaders and teachers should work in pairs whenever possible. When this is not possible, a designated person will be responsible for occasionally observing an individual at work, checking with them about needs, offering affirmation and suggestions for improvement.
  2. Leaders and teachers will know to whom they can go for assistance whenever it is needed. This will be done during the Safe Sanctuary orientation session.
  3. Leaders and teachers will be recognized and affirmed by the congregation on an annual basis.

F. Educate parents and others in our congregation as to our policies and procedures;

1. Policies and procedures pertinent to a specific area will be posted in an easily accessible location (for example, nursery policies will be posted outside the nursery door).

  1. All policies and procedures will be accessible to any church member. Copies will be kept in a notebook in the Church office, the kitchen, and the nursery.
  2. From time to time throughout the year, portions of our policies and procedures will be published in our newsletter or distributed in our worship services.
  3. Parents will receive an orientation of our policies and procedures.

G. Have in place a clearly defined procedure for reporting instances of injury harm or abuse that conforms to requirements of state law;

  1. Any instance of major injury which may require medical evaluation and/or treatment will require filling out an injury report which will be kept on file in the pastor’s office.
  2. Any instance of abuse, harm, or major injury that occurs in the context of any of our ministries with children, youth, or vulnerable adults will be reported immediately to the Pastor. Any such instances involving clergy will also be reported to the District Superintendent by the PPRC Chair.
  3. In the event of suspected sexual and or physical abuse, notify the authorities (law enforcement, Pastor, District Superintendent.) REMEMBER: The child victim is NEVER RESPONSIBLE for causing the abuse, and is NEVER TO BE BLAMED. The child victim is NEVER CAPABLE OF CONSENT TO ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR. Child sexual abuse is ALWAYS wrong and is solely the responsibility of the abuser.
  4. At no time will the alleged abuser be confronted or treated with anger or hostility – treat them with respect but immediately remove them from further involvement. Notify the Pastor.
  5. Suspected abuse of any kind is to be reported immediately to the Department of Human Services hotline, (See Appendix), as required by state law. A brochure entitled Child Abuse and Neglect: Reporting Information for Oklahomans will be given to all workers.
  6. Other helpful numbers and information concerning abuse are included in the Appendix.

H. Respond with compassion and integrity to needs as they present themselves following incidents of harm, injury, or abuse;

  1. When instances of injury, harm, or abuse occur, the Pastor, and District Superintendent will determine any involvement of other congregational leaders as seem appropriate for the situation, will take the lead in determining the need for ministry and will coordinate its implementation.
  2. The pastor and Lay Leader, working in concert, will act as official spokespersons for our congregation with the community and the media.

I. Regularly review our policies and procedures to assure that they conform to current legal, health, and safety standards.

  1. There shall be a local church Safety Task Force whose purpose shall be the enforcement and to regularly review these policies and procedures. The Safety Task Force is charged with making sure this congregation is doing everything in its power to keep Children, Youth and Vulnerable Adults safe.
  2. Annually we will conduct a "Safety Audit" to access adherence to our safety policies and procedures in accordance to the “Resolution for the Safety of Children, Youth, and Vulnerable Adults in the Local Churches of the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church” and the “A Covenant for the Protection of Children, Youth, and Vulnerable Adults in Local Churches of the Oklahoma Annual Conference, The United Methodist Church May 2003 ” which were adopted at the Charge Conference held on October 12, 2003.
  3. At a minimum of every other year, we will convene a Safety Task Force to bring our policies and procedures up to date. This task force should include, but not be limited to  representation from the Board of Board of Trustees, the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, the Leadership Development Committee (formerly known as the Nominations Committee), Church Council Chair, other standing committees as determined by the Church Council, parents of children and youth, workers with children, youth, and vulnerable adults, and others with knowledge, skills, or expertise that will assist the task force in doing its job effectively.
  4. Annually the Board of Trustees will assess our insurance coverage to assure adequate coverage.