SAFE SANCTUARIES - Amazon Web Services

Reducing the Risk of Abuse
in the Church for
Children and Youth
• Knowledge of Policies and
Procedures – Brief Quiz
• Church Accessibility Plan –
How is your church doing?
Let’s take a few minutes to get some
sobering facts from a video
produced by the Church Mutual
Insurance Company.
This video is available free of charge.
Information about how to order it
Resources for Churches
Also, Church Mutual Insurance Company’s free Resources:
Safety Tips on a Sensitive Subject: Child Sexual Abuse - Safety
Safety Tips on a Sensitive Subject: Child Sexual Abuse – The
Protection Series Booklets
Can order them on line at
We Have a Biblical Mandate to Protect
Matthew 18:5-6
Whoever welcomes one such child in my
name welcomes me. If any of you put a
stumbling block before one of these little
ones who believe in me, 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.
With God’s help we will so
order our lives after the
example of Christ, that this
child, surrounded by
steadfast love, may be
established in the faith and
confirmed and strengthened
in the way that leads to
eternal life.
A Church’s Statement of
Commitment acknowledges:
Children in our care need to be safe
We have a biblical command that is
Reflected in our baptismal covenant.
Peninsula Delaware Conference
Resolution 2008
To protect staff, volunteers and
churches from false abuse allegations
Guidelines, Procedures & Timeline
• Guidelines tell the congregation what will be
expected of all members
• Procedures advise just how to fulfill
• Timelines let people know that there is a
window of time for learning & coming to
agreements, but there is an expectation that
we will do this important work
The bottom line is . . . Risk
• Risk of harm:
irrevocable, difficult to heal
• Risk of reputation for:
persons or a congregation
• Risk of loss of physical assets:
building, funds, property
What does it mean to
mitigate risk?
To mitigate is to stop, impede, prevent against…
Think about your homeowner’s insurance:
• Of course you will insure your home against
fire, theft, accidents
If you lived on a flood plain, wouldn’t you insure
against flood damage or destruction?
What is due diligence &
why is it necessary?
Churches live on the flood plain of
human interaction & sin
• People are fragile & subject to temptation
• We now understand that problems in families
of origin often play out in adult hood
• Some depressed or disconnected people&
seek gratification from those more vulnerable
• Churches are filled with imperfect & often
hurting people
• Some people wander into bad behavior &
some seek easy access to vulnerable people
No congregation can afford either
financially, ethically or spiritually, to
fail to implement strategies for the
reduction and prevention of the
abuse of its children and youth
Joy Thornburg Melton
What if we still don’t agree this is
• Many insurance companies no longer insure
churches who don’t have risk reduction
• “Entitlement” mentality in today’s society results
in lawsuits for allegations – true or false.
• The church is considered negligent if an incident
should occur and no plan is in place.
• The church loses members, unity of its
membership, reputation and thousands of
Commonly Asked Questions about
Basic Procedures for Safe Ministry
Recruiting, Screening, Hiring
How can we get enough adults to help with
children & youth?
1. Does your congregation need to talk about
whether they want children & youth?
2. Maybe children’s programs should be offered
at times different from other ministries.
3. Some congregations have hired nursery
workers & then sought 1 volunteer.
What to do about people who
refuse to be screened.
• Screening is an effective way to ensure that a
person with something to hide is not serving.
• There is no compromise on this requirement
in today’s litigious society.
• A person who refuses to be screened may not
have the heart you need for youth ministry.
• Ensure that you have a confidential process
for storing the information from screenings.
Refusal do everything possible to
keep children safe is the same as:
• Teenagers thinking they are
• Putting money in the bank without
deposit insurance
• Burying your head in the sand
• Going out in the rain and hoping you
won’t get wet.
Why do we have to have two
unrelated adults?
• For the same reason we have two unrelated
people counting our money. Which is more
precious? Our money or our children?
• Have you considered hiring a 2nd adult to work
alongside one volunteer? One church hired
their cleaning lady for Sundays . Consistency
of care can be helpful to young children. One
church found a local day care Mom who could
use the stipend offered. She joined their
Windows on doors
will cost too much!
• Secret places invite secrets!
• Develop a plan to purchase one door at a
• Perhaps the Memorial Fund?
• Challenge members to buy a
door for the safety of the children!
• One pastor took the doors off
until the doors could be replaced.
Why can’t our college students
help with the high school youth?
Youth workers should be at least 5 years older
than those they supervise because . . .
• They are vulnerable to acting like one of the
teens and not a grown up
• Temptation is perhaps greater for a younger
person who has not experienced the
consequences of giving in to temptation.
What do they mean by adequate &
appropriate care?
• In today’s world it is considered irresponsible to care
for youth without some basic knowledge of first Aid or
CPR. That will be the standard for a lawsuit brought
against the church.
• Would you place your newborn child in a crib that does
not meet 2010 safety standards? This is the principle of
Appropriate Equipment. Fifty year old chairs that fold &
pinch would not be adequate. Tables that might
collapse or have pointy corners that could injure child
would not meet the standard of due diligence.
What do they mean by
adequate insurance?
• Church insurance policies should be reviewed
annually to ensure coverage is up to date. A
$50,000 award in 1960 would have been
amazing, more like $500,000 today!
• Annual orientation for ministry workers is an
addition to your insurance policy – you
mitigate risk when everyone is honoring the
What is meant by
Respect for Families?
• Advance notice to parents/guardians before outings
• Parent and family education
Developing a Policy in the Local Church
Who should be on the
Implementation Team
Roles in the Local Church
• Staff/Pastor Parish Relations – help with training and
implementation of the policy and procedures. Provide
support for pastor’s leadership role.
• Lay Leadership – help with recruiting issues; schedule
• Christian Education leaders – commitment; designate those
who can recruit for ministries with children/youth;
• Sunday School Superintendent - charged with safety of all
children/youth as well as teachers/leaders.
• Trustees – Risk managers, insurance, legal responsibilities,
facilities requirements.
What Needs to be Done?
To assess what needs to be done in your church,
suggested tools include:
The Local Church Self-Evaluation Form
The Safe Sanctuaries assessment for local
churches in the Pen-Del Conference
Your Trustees accessibility survey.
Your current insurance policy
The books & CD mentioned earlier today.
What are reasonable timelines?
Allow adequate time for a congregation to be
informed about the policy & practices.
One year is reasonable if you have just
established your policy.
One congregation targeted 10 months, extended
to 13 and then to 17 months.
Keep the team meeting to ensure timelines are
How do we create a Safe Sanctuaries
Implementation Plan?
Review Sample:
Safe Sanctuaries Implementation Plan:
One Church’s Experience
Remember that you do not need to start from
scratch, borrow, but then personalize it to your
church & engage members in that process.
Do you have ideas for sharing
information with our Congregation?
• Safe Sanctuary training sessions for church
• Newsletter articles
• Bulletin board displays
• Church announcements
• Administrative/Church council meetings
• Ministry Covenant meetings
• Other ideas?
How do we create
necessary forms?
Tools: Some of the forms reviewed here are also included in the
forms section of Safe Sanctuaries: Reducing the Risk of Abuse
in the Church for Children and Youth by Joy Thornburg Melton
Sample forms include:
– Employment Application
– Form for Reference Check
– Information about PACT’s Background Check Service
– Safe Sanctuaries Participation Covenant Statement
You do not need to reinvent the wheel!
Borrow! Review! Personalize!
Why do we need a brochure?
To Share info With Congregation & Visitors
See Brochure Handout:
This is one example of a brochure that can be
created to share information with the
congregation and visitors about the church’s
Final Questions
Closing Prayer
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.