Frequently Asked Questions about Central's Child Protection Policy
1. Who oversees complaints/ disciplinary processes which may occur?
The Child Protection Team works with the pastoral staff and Moderator to oversee complaints/disciplinary procedures and maintain appropriate records.
2. Is there a formal background check for volunteers working with our kids?
Volunteers and employees agree to a background check paid by Central. Since the background check may take a few days, volunteers/ employees may begin work with children only if another employee or volunteer is in the room. Background checks are done through GuideOne, Central Christian Church’s insurance company. All volunteers and employees fill out a form granting permission for the background check.
3. Do our volunteers have to be active, long time church members?
Volunteers need to have been active participants at Central for at least six months The request for others to be in such positions will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the Child Protection Team.
4. Do our volunteers who work with children and youth receive training?
Training is usually offered at least twice a year. A clear presentation of the meaning(s) of the policy is given and discussed, and role-playing activities are used to explore how our child protection policy works in action.
5. Where can I find general guidelines for how children (and adults) are to be treated?
Part V (pages 3-4) of the policy lists the guidelines for our children's/youth ministries. They include such principles as the dignity of all children, appropriate physical contact, respect for all backgrounds, provisions for overnight and off-site trips, what records are to be kept and how, and more.
6. Can someone under the age of eighteen ever be in a leadership position with children and youth?
Volunteers and employees must be at least 18 years old to be in a leadership position with children and youth, unless the “Minor Screening Process” approves the participation of a minor as an employee or volunteer. Volunteers and employees must be four or more years older than the youth or children under their care.
7. How would older youth become qualified to work with younger youth and children? What is this "minor screening process?"
The "minor screening process" consists of
- a written parental/guardian statement which states that the parent/guardian knows no reason why the minor should not be permitted to serve as an employee or volunteer in a ministry to children or youth.
- In addition, references should be obtained from two of the following sources: a school teacher, the parent of a child the minor has cared for on a regular basis, a youth worker within Central, or a youth worker outside Central.
Statements and references should be shared with the Personnel Committee for potential hires and the Child Protection Team for those wishing to volunteer. These will determine whether or not to approve the volunteer service or hiring of the minor.
8. What safeguards are in place for children and youth?
V, 3 It's the intention of Central Christian Church to practice a two adult rule. By this we mean that each ministry with children and youth will have two adults in leadership. Exceptions can be made to this rule when reasonable: appropriate adult/child ratio (especially in nursery setting), proximity of other adults (example: splitting a large group of children into two smaller groups or an activity where one adult supervises each group in adjacent/open rooms). If there is a question regarding appropriateness, two adults should be required.
9. Speaking of safeguards, what is the "open door policy?"
Ministries with children and youth should practice an open door policy whenever reasonably feasible. This may mean:
- The door is physically left open
- Doors in spaces where children and youth meet contain windows so at there is a clear view in and out.
- Parents and other interested adults are welcomed to participate in and witness the ministries within which their children participate.
10. It is unlikely, but what if a child has a behavior problem?
At no time is any employee or volunteer to administer or threaten corporal punishment to any child. Discipline will be handled on an individual basis depending on the verbal ability and age of the child. A child who is disobedient, disruptive, or disrespectful will be verbally corrected. Employees and volunteers will attempt to resolve conflict through negotiation and discussion of possible solutions.
Any child who is found to be uncooperative or disruptive may be removed to an area of quiet reflection. In some circumstances it may be necessary to ask a parent or guardian to remove the child from the classroom.
While corporal punishment is never acceptable, we recognize that at times physical involvement in discipline is necessary (example: picking up and removing a child who is hurting another child). Any physical involvement in discipline should be done with consideration for what is age appropriate and in a calm manner.