SAFE SANCTUARIES® MISSION STATEMENT AND POLICIES
“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of
my family, you did it to me.” -Matthew 25:40
Grounded in the covenant of baptism, we as members of Christ’s church affirm our commitment to nurture and support one another spiritually, emotionally and physically. Therefore, we as a church adopt these Safe Sanctuaries® Policies for all ministries of Pine Valley United Methodist Church. These Policies call for the promotion and maintenance of a physically and an emotionally safe church. While we recognize that ultimately God is our protector, we as a church are called to make this place a “safe sanctuary”. We desire Pine Valley to be a church where people of all ages can worship and serve God without fear of abuse or harm.
To be a safe sanctuary, we as a church will strive to:
- be proactive about safety
- use designated recruiting, screening, and hiring procedures in the selection of workers
- include planning for safety in programs and events
- educate our workers with regard to appropriate policies and methods
- promote congregation awareness of issues with regard to abuse
- follow the procedure for reports of injury
- follow the procedure for reporting suspected incidences of abuse in conformity with state law requirements
- follow the procedure for response to media inquiries if an abuse incident occurs
- routinely evaluate Safe Sanctuary policies; make modifications as new circumstances and situations occur
Jesus teaches us that all are loved and valued in the community of faith. We as a church seek to faithfully live as he taught.
General Safe Sanctuaries® definitions
Child – newborn through fifth grade
Youth – grades six through twelve
Vulnerable adult – Anyone over the age of 18 (or an emancipated minor) who is impaired due to brain damage, infirmities of aging, or a physical, mental, or developmental disability
General Safe Sanctuaries® policies
A background check is required for workers, both paid and volunteer, who work with children, youth, and vulnerable adults. Applications and results will be screened by the Senior Pastor and results are kept confidential. There should be two non-related workers present with children and youth whenever possible. In the event only one adult, or two related adults are present, an open door policy will be followed with a roaming hall monitor. Adult workers should avoid putting themselves in a situation where they are alone with a child or youth.
No one under the age of 18 is allowed to be a worker in the nursery without being accompanied by their parent or guardian.
The environment in which children/youth participate will be checked on a regular basis for reasonable safety and cleanliness by the ministry director or designee.
Annual training will be offered church wide and is required for workers with children, youth, and vulnerable adults.
Those working with children and youth should be at least 5 years older than the oldest youth participant for whom they are responsible.
If a child needs help using the toilet, the adult leaves the door open while with the child.
Parents should be notified prior to children/youth being taken away from the location in which they are dropped off.
A permission slip must be signed by the parent or guardian prior to taking the child/youth from the drop off location.
No child will be released to anyone other than the person who brought them unless otherwise informed by the parent or guardian.
Accident reports will be completed, signed by the parent or guardian, the worker, and Children’s or Youth Ministries Director, and kept in the director’s file.
Children/Youth should not be left without adult supervision. The youth ministry is not responsible for youth at times when no youth ministry programs are scheduled.
Emergency information will be available and accompany groups to off-site events. A participant list will remain at the church office.
These General Policies are applicable to all ministries of Pine Valley United Methodist Church. Special situations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine the best ways to accomplish the intent of the Safe Sanctuaries® Policies.