It is in the best interest of all members of Aldersgate United Methodist Church, especially children and youth (persons under the age of 18), to proactively protect the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of children and youth who participate in church-sponsored activities. The policy also protects staff and volunteers in these ministries.
The purpose of establishing and implementing policies and procedures for adults who work with children and youth in the church is to protect the children and youth from abuse and adults from being unfairly accused of any form of child abuse.
Churches have been held liable for incidents and injuries resulting from negligence; that is, the failure to exercise reasonable care in the supervision of church workers and activities. Adhering to wise policies reduces risk. Policies and procedures also apply to clergy, recognizing special situations involving confidentiality in performing their duties. Aldersgate United Methodist Church policies and procedures as of September, 2007, include the following:
1. Adults who have been convicted of either child sexual or physical abuse will not be accepted for volunteer or paid service in any church-sponsored activity or program for youth or children.
2. Volunteers must be members/constituents of Aldersgate UMC for six months before working with children/youth and provide references indicating their good standing.
3. At least two unrelated adults will be assigned to all settings working with children and youth, if possible. When youth are working with children, a responsible adult 18 years or older must be present.
4. Helpers or teachers under the age of 18 must present written permission from their parents to be authorized to work with children. Youth who will be sitting are strongly encouraged to take a Red Cross Safe Sitter or other course approved by Safe Sanctuary Task Force.
5. Staff/volunteers working with youth/children will complete requirements and appropriate screening with regard to criminal background or abuse history. The right to conduct background checks of volunteers/staff is reserved.
6. Safe Sanctuary Task Force will provide training for all workers with children and youth to assure that they understand these policies and procedures.
Our full policy and forms are available from the church office.