For churches large and small, providing safety and security for their children’s ministry participants is a major area of concern these days.
Martin Sinderman · April 13, 2017
An important element of these policies is “The Two-Adult Rule.” Designed for the safety of both adults and minors, the rule states that there must always (with a few well-defined exceptions) be two non-related adults both present and within sight of each other when they are supervising one or more children or students; in cases where two related childcare providers are working together, a third childcare provider must also be in attendance.
Both the children’s and youth sets of policies contain age-appropriate provisions regarding things like discipline; appropriate vs. inappropriate types of physical contact; and dealing with emergencies and injuries.
Sunnyvale has had its Safe Church Program in place since 2009, according to Heath. “This program was a huge undertaking by a committee who worked on all of the pieces to get it up and running,” she notes, adding “We cannot imagine doing ministry without this program in place!”
In addition to other churches that have already done so, there are a number of resources available for those churches that want to get good information on addressing safety considerations in running their children’s ministries. Some of the outside sources would be the same as those you would consult regarding elements of safety for your worship facility as a whole, such as your insurance company, your legal counsel, or law enforcement agencies, various consultants.
Resources abound on the web. A couple of good ones are:
—Essential Children’s Ministry Safety Best Practices – Another resource from Vanderbloemen Search Group, this report provides tips and advice on keeping kids safe.
Tips include installing Dutch doors at entranceways; “Once you do, always keep the bottom door latched and pass small children (walkers up to 1st grade) over the door to their guardians – this prevents general anarchy as children trample each other to get to their parents, and it also keeps children from running free and getting lost or hurt.”
—Sunday School Safety and Security – found on the “Ministry-To-Children – free help for your children’s ministry” website by children’s pastor Tony Kummer, this is an expansive listing of issues, tips and advice that churches need to consider in maintaining safe and secure places for children.
Categories covered include basic physical plant characteristics; safety for Sunday School activities, snacks and crafts; selecting the right volunteers and teachers; and policies and guidelines that promote security and safety. This page also contains numerous links to other sources of help for churches.