(FBCSAFESANCTUARYPOLICY2012)

 

  1. PURPOSE OF THIS POLICY

 

As members of an American Baptist Church, we affirm the Biblical witness that children are a blessing from God and that all people, whether children or adults, deserve the same compassionate regard we afford ourselves.  As followers of Jesus Christ we remember how Jesus rebuked those who would hinder or exclude children from His presence, and welcomed children as the hope and expression of the reign of God. We further acknowledge Christ’s compassionate and gentle treatment of all vulnerable persons who sought his blessing.

 

As a matter of faith and conviction, therefore, the First Baptist Church of Laramie, Wyoming, (hereafter FBC) undertakes to safeguard the right and freedom of children, youth, and any other vulnerable persons to come into the presence of the Lord through the ministries of this organization without fear and with confidence in the promise of Christ-like care.

 

First Baptist Church supports all efforts to curb and eliminate any form of abuse against any human being, as well as any living part of God’s creation.  Because FBC is especially concerned about the emotional, physical and sexual well-being of children, youth, and other vulnerable populations we desire to provide a safe environment free from all forms of abuse.  FBC therefore adopts the following guidelines for all FBC programs.

 

II.POLICY APPLICABILITY AND DEFINITIONS

 

This policy shall apply to those, whether paid or volunteer, who work or provide services for any activity or ministry for children, youth, or vulnerable adult of FBC.  This policy shall apply to all activities held on the premises of FBC and to activities sponsored or organized by FBC regardless of where such activities take place.  When the Church building is made available to other organizations or groups, this policy shall apply if the activity is intended for children, youth, or other vulnerable populations, and they will be participating in separate activities intended only for them.  Use of the Church building and facilities by such organizations and groups on a recurring or regular basis shall be made conditional on agreement to abide by this policy.

 

For purposes of this policy:

  • A Child or Youth is any person under age 18.

 

  • A Vulnerable Adult is any person over age 18 unable to function within the normal range of adults due to mental, physical, emotional, or any handicapping condition.

 

  • An Adult Leader is any person who is age 18 or older, who works with children in a classroom setting, event, or program sponsored by FBC and for which FBC has responsibility for, or oversight of, leadership  staffing and meets the qualifications set forth in Section IV. below.

 

  • A Youth Helper is someone who meets all the criteria to be Leader, but is between the ages of 12 and 17.  Parental permission is required before any person can be accepted as a Youth Helper.

 

  • A Volunteer is an available church member who is age 18 or older who is providing support for the activity.

 

  • Child or Youth Activity includes but is not limited to

 

  • Any activity for or attended by children or youth on the premises of FBC, and

  • Any such activity sponsored or organized by FBC, wherever it may occur.

 

For example, this policy shall apply to all Church school classes and activities, any Church nursery session, all youth groups and activities, as well as field or mission trip involving youth off Church premises.

 

  • A Driver means any person who will transport children or youth as a part of a church sponsored activity.  Drivers will comply with Section VIII below.  (See Driver Form at the end of this document.)

 

III.CONFIDENTIALITY

 

It is the intent of this Policy that all personal sensitive information shall be held in confidence, shall be reviewed only by those persons having a need to know.  Thus, all information obtained in connection with the application or enforcement of this Policy shall be kept confidential and in a secure location and used for the sole purpose of determining the application and enforcement of this Policy and for no other purpose.  All information gathered about Leader applicants, including applications, reference and interview reports, background checks, and all related notes and information, shall be managed solely by the Ministry Council.  All information relating to a report of an incident and the response to that report shall be managed solely by the Pastor and the Ministry Council.  (See Application for Child/Youth Worker Application Form #2)

 

IV.LEADER SELECTION

 

No person may become a Leader, whether adult or youth, and whether on a paid or volunteer basis, until the person has completed an application form and consented to a background check (Laramie Police Department), been screened and accepted by FBC.  For all leaders, background checks will be redone every five (5) years.  (See Background Check Form at the end of this document).

 

No person shall be accepted as a Leader until:

  • The person has been a member of FBC,  or an active and regular participant in the life and ministry of FBC for at least six months,

  • FBC has received and studied the person’s application, the results of the background check, checked the person’s references, and otherwise agreed to accept the applicant as a Leader.

 

If the person meets the criteria for working with children or youth but has not been a member or active participant for less than six months, the person may work with children or youth if the person is at all times accompanied by another trained Leader.

 

All those who assist on a volunteer or paid basis on the premises of FBC with children or youth shall be required to attend training.  Any person who is unable or unwilling to attend training may be temporarily or permanently barred from being a Leader.

 

Exclusion Criteria.  No individual who has been charged with child abuse or neglect or who has been convicted of any felony or serious misdemeanor shall be permitted to become or continue as a Leader.  Any person who has been charged with a felony or serious misdemeanor may also be barred from being a Leader in the sole discretion of FBC.  In addition, any individual who abuses any drugs or controlled substances or abuses alcohol shall not become or continue as a Leader.  The Church reserves unto itself the sole power to exclude any individual from service as a Leader, in its unfettered discretion, for any reason the Church deems sufficient to exclude such person.

 

V.LEADER TRAINING

 

All those who seek to become a Leader, whether adult or youth, in activities with children or youth or vulnerable adults, which are sponsored or organized by the Church shall attend at least one training session on the prevention and reporting of child or elder abuse within the first year of service and at least once each calendar year thereafter.  All those who work with children or youth on the premises of FBC in programs not funded or sponsored by the Church shall be encouraged to attend at least one training session on the prevention and reporting of child abuse at least once each calendar year.  All paid staff of FBC shall attend at least one training session on the prevention and reporting of child abuse at least once each calendar year.

 

VI.STAFFING

 

A.   General Standards

At least two non-related Adult Leaders, whether paid or volunteer, shall be present at all activities where children, or youth or vulnerable adults are present.  A parent attending a child or youth activity shall be in addition to, and not in place of, an Adult Leader unless the parent is also a trained Adult Leader.  The following are the only exceptions to this two-Adult Leader rule:

  • A Pastor providing confidential counseling services may meet in private with a child or youth or vulnerable adult., with consent of parent or guardian.   If any such counseling extends beyond a single session, the Pastor shall obtain written permission from the parent or guardian of the child or youth, or the guardian of any vulnerable person.

  • A regularly scheduled Church school class or nursery session on Sunday mornings or for similar regularly scheduled recurring events may be conducted by one Adult Leader, provided:

    • The room where the class or nursery is held has an unobstructed window or other opening, permitting those outside the room to see inside, or

    • The door to the room remains open during the class, lesson, or session.

    • A Volunteer or Youth Helper may be substituted for one of two required Adult Leaders so long as at least one trained Adult Leader is also present.

 

B. Youth Group Meeting at FBC

A group comprised mostly of grades 6-12 school-aged youth and meeting at FBC may be led by one Leader, if an Adult Leader, or a Volunteer is present in the building, visits the meeting area periodically, and is generally available to assist the group as needed.

 

C.Driving Youth Home

Transportation provided in connection with an FBC-sponsored outing shall comply with Transportation Guidelines of this policy and shall begin and end at the church building.  In general, parents should be responsible for arranging transportation to and from church.  However, when it would be substantially inconvenient or impossible for a parent to transport a child home, the parent may ask the driver to drive his or her child home.  In this case, the driver must leave directly from the program or event with the purpose and intent to take the youth directly to their homes.

 

  1. Nursery

Nursery helpers shall be governed by the Nursery Rules (in the form attached to this Policy,(adopted July 10, 2012), a copy of which is mounted outside our nursery room doorway.  (See copy of  Nursery Rules at end of this document.)

 

  1. Babysitting for Church Functions

For occasional events that are limited in time, such as congregational meetings, congregational dinners, and similar events, teams of two Youth Helpers may be used as babysitters, provided at least two adults are present in the building, and are immediately available to assist the babysitters as needed.

 

  1. Exceptions

Exceptions to this Policy may be made on a case-by-case basis by FBC’s Pastor after consultation with the leader of the affected program or activity after all reasonable attempts to comply fully with this Policy are made.  Cancellation of a program or activity for non-compliance with this Policy is a last resort.

 

  1. REGISTRATION

 

Each child who will participate in FBC’s Christian Education programs must be registered by her or his parents annually.  FBC will provide a registration form for that purpose, in the form attached to this Policy.  (See Sunday School registration form at the end of this document.)

 

  1. GENERAL GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS

 

  1. Transportation Guidelines:

  • Each driver who drives children or youth  in connection with an outing shall have a valid driver’s license and current automobile insurance providing acceptable limits.  A copy of each driver’s current insurance card must be on file in the church office.  The driver must be between 21 and 70 years of age.  If the vehicle has a capacity of 12 or greater, the driver must be between 25 and 70 years.

  • The number of persons in a car shall never exceed the number of functioning seat belts in that car.  Seat belts must be worn at all times.  The use of infant car seat, booster seat, or child safety seat is required by State law.

 

 

  1. Supervision for Overnight Activities and Outings:

  • Overnight activities, or outings outside the church, conducted by FBC,  shall be supervised by at least two unrelated Leaders and sufficient additional adult chaperones.  The optimal student-to-adult ratio is 6 to 1, and a diligent effort should be made to achieve that ratio for every event.  If that ratio cannot be achieved, then a higher ratio is acceptable provided that the ratio shall never exceed 10 students to 1 adult.

 

  • Overnight outings shall be supervised by at least two unrelated Leaders and sufficient additional adult chaperones so the student-to-adult ratio is not more than 6 to 1.

 

  • Each youth who participates in an overnight activity or outing shall deliver to a Leader, before the start of the event, a copy of the Youth Covenant signed by the youth and by a parent or guardian.  (See Youth Covenant Form at the end of this document.)

 

  1. First Aid and Emergency Response Guidelines

  • A first aid kit shall be available in all classrooms and carried on every outing.  Ice for ice packs shall be available in the church kitchen.

  • Each significant injury or accident involving a child that requires first aid must be reported by the Leader to the Pastor and to the child’s parent as soon as practical.

  • If the circumstances warrant, the Leader should contact 911 immediately and then inform the parents/guardian as soon as possible.

  • The Leader involved in the incident will enter the incident in a log maintained in the church office, identifying the persons involved, the time and nature of the injury or accident, the person or persons who administered first aid, and the person who reported the matter.  (Sample form at end of this policy.)

  • Pastor or Leader shall endeavor to make a follow-up telephone call to a parent of an injured children within 24 hours after the injury.

 

D. View of Classrooms

  • Each classroom door must have a window or panel affording a clear view into the classroom.

 

        E. Bathroom Visits

  • It is recommended that an adult escort children aged 4 years or younger to the bathroom.  Adults may choose to remain outside of the bathroom after first checking the safety of the room.

  • When a pre-school child or a child who needs assistance uses the bathroom, an adult may enter to assist.  In that circumstance, the door for the bathroom must be left open while the adult is assisting.

 

F.  Discipline

 

  • Physical or verbal punishment of all kinds is strictly prohibited.  In general, discipline must be administered carefully and sparingly, with careful consideration of a person’s dignity and psychological and social development.  Gentleness, respect, and understanding must guide all acts and words of discipline.  Discipline will be carried out through instruction, training, and verbal corrections.

 

 

 G. Changes to this Policy and Forms

 

  • The Ministry Council may amend this Policy from time to time. An amendment will be effective immediately upon its approval. 

 

  1. PARENTAL PARTICIPATION AND PERMISSION

 

Parents of children and youth who are attending an activity at or sponsored or organized by

FBC are always welcome to attend with their children.  Parental attendance shall be in addition to—and not in place of—trained volunteer Leaders or paid Church employees.  Parental permission may be required before children or youth may participate in certain activities of FBC (including but not limited to those taking place off Church premises), and the Church reserves the right to exclude any child or youth where the required written parental permission has not been received.  Any parent or other person who attends activities at or sponsored or organized by FBC is encouraged to participate in the training described elsewhere in this policy.

 

  1. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES

 

No person shall touch, interact with, or communicate with any child or youth or vulnerable adult for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification.  No child or youth or vulnerable adult can consent to any sexual activity with an adult.  No person shall engage in conduct or activity that harms or threatens the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual health or well-being of any child or youth or vulnerable adult.

 

  1. REPORTING AND REPONDING TO SUSPECTED ABUSE

 

Any person who reasonably suspects that a child or youth or vulnerable adult has been or is the victim of abuse or neglect shall be required to report this to the proper authorities.  This would include reporting behavior that “might” lead to abuse; this might help forestall an incident of actual abuse.  The individual receiving the report shall report it to the Department of Family Services.  The parent or guardian of any child or youth or vulnerable adult involved shall be promptly notified.

 

No accused person shall be presumed to be guilty until found guilty by a court of law, but reasonable steps shall be taken to protect those who are potentially vulnerable from contact with the accused until the matter is resolved.  Under no circumstances shall any person who is believed to be the victim of abuse or neglect be questioned about the incident by any Leader.

  FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF LARAMIE, WYOMING

SAFE SANCTUARY POLICY

March 2013

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