Session V. Prevention Strategies

Screening people who have contact with the children and youth is one of the primary ways to prevent child abuse. Everyone who works with children and youth must have on file a:

  •  Screening Form
  • Record of contact Secondary Screening Form
  • Covenant for Sexual Responsibility

In addition, the Diocese recommends the following:

Team Approach  Whenever possible, teachers or child care attendants should be encouraged to work in teams of two or more. Concerted effort will be made to recruit a sufficient number of volunteers to permit such teams.

Use a “two-adult” rule. Such a rule says that two adult supervisors should be present during any church activity. Preferably one of these adults would be a parent of one of the participating children or youth, or at a minimum, someone over 21 years of age. This rule reduces the risk of sexual molestation and also reduces the risk of false accusations of molestation by individuals seeking a quick legal settlement.

Provide Adequate Personnel  Programs that involve children and youth should always include adequate supervisory personnel. Supervision should also be maintained before and after the event until all children are in the custody of their parents or legal guardians.

Use a Church Nursery Identification Procedure  Procedures should exist for the church nursery that clearly identify the child and the child’s parent or guardian. Children should only be released to a properly identified and preauthorized adult.

 A further protection for the church and children is to have an open door policy. This policy should state that the parents of the children served, the clergy, or administrative and professional staff of the church or institution have the right to visit and observe the program at any time unannounced.

Install Windows On Classroom Doors

If feasible, consider installing windows on the doors to all classrooms or other areas used by minors. The windows should be made out of shatterproof glass. Alternatively, the doors to such classrooms should be left open during use so that persons passing by can observe inside. Sunday School superintendents or other church leaders also should make random visits to all classrooms and frequently visit or inspect areas of church buildings that are isolated from view.

 Discipline  No physical punishment or verbal abuse, such as ridicule, is to be used at any time. If isolating the child or removal of the young person from the group becomes necessary, the situation must be discussed with the parents or guardian as soon as possible.

One-on-one interactions are sometimes necessary and appropriate, but care should be taken that they be conducted in an environment that provides visibility by other adults.

No one should make secret deals with children or young people.

Gifts All persons working with children, either paid or volunteer, are not to give gifts to individual children or young people. Because gift giving can be a form of buying loyalty or silence, gift giving should be done only on a group basis.

Education and Training  Persons working with children need to be re-trained every 5 years.

 

*You should use the two adult rule when working with children.

 

Click on Forms and Diocesan Policy

 

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