Sample local church program for safe sanctuaries


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NameSample local church program for safe sanctuaries
A typeDocumentation
SAMPLE LOCAL CHURCH PROGRAM FOR SAFE SANCTUARIES
INCLUDING
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND RECORDS CHECKS

The enclosed 11 documents (computer files) are samples for a local church to consult in establishing a program to implement a safe sanctuaries program for preventing child abuse. Hopefully you have opened this file first [file name 1READ ME.FIRST] for an overview of the entire package. The package consists of the following [the computer file names are in brackets]:


  1. “Screening For Safe Sanctuaries: Model Report to the ___________ Committee”

[Local Church.RPT]
This is a draft report that would be presented to the appropriate local church committees that will review and adopt the safe sanctuaries program. The actual program documents are attachments to this Committee Report. One approach might be to have one or a small group appointed to produce the report and the program documents which are then presented to one or more committees and finally adopted by the Administrative Council. Each church must determine its appropriate procedures for adoption.


  1. “Screening List”

[Screening.List and ScreenNow.Price]
This is a concise list of who, in the first instance, must have a completed criminal background records check. The “ScreenNow.Price” flyer presents one reputable source of background checks (which is made available at a discount by Guide One to churches in the New York Annual Conference insurance program).


  1. “Policies and Procedures For the Prevention of Child Abuse”

[Policy.LocalChu]
The Policies and Procedures are the full manual for the church’s safe sanctuaries program. It is what is formally adopted by the Administrative Council. It involves many decisions about how the local church safe sanctuaries program will be administered. Once adopted, while it need not be given to every worker with children and youth, it is required reading for all leadership staff of the church’s children and youth programs and should be made available to any who ask.


  1. “Volunteer Application and Screening Form”

[APPLICATION]
This is the package that each church employee and volunteer will be completing. It contains important attachments all of which form a part of the complete application.


    1. “Code of Ethics” is the church’s behavioral standards to be agreed to and signed by each applicant

    2. “Basic Procedures for Safe Ministry with Children and Youth” are the “rules” that the program for children and youth will follow in administering the program. These rules must be tailored to your local church’s situation.

    3. “Application Form” is the basic application to be completed by all adult participants.

    4. “Confidential Screening Form” is the form that asks confidential and pointed questions about an applicant’s background. It must be reviewed only by the Confidential Screening Committee according to the procedures described in the manual entitled “Policies and Procedures For the Prevention of Child Abuse.”

    5. “Background Investigation Consent” is an applicant’s consent to a national criminal background records check. Every adult must sign a consent whether or not a background check is mandatory for them. The Confidential Screening Committee may in its discretion at any time determine that it is prudent to conduct a background check.

    6. “Worker’s Authorization and Release of References” authorizes the reference check of employers and other organizations with which the applicant has worked and provides a release of liability of them.

    7. “Church Privacy Statement” is a brief statement of the church’s confidentiality policy. It must be signed by a church representative. The full confidentiality policy is contained in the policies and procedures manual.

    8. “Volunteer Photograph” is taken and attached when applicant is approved.

    9. “Child Abuse Prevention Reporting” [REPORTING.CT and REPORTING.NY] is an information sheet about the state law regarding reporting of incidents of child abuse to the state child abuse hotline. Note that there are separate information sheets for both New York and Connecticut, and the appropriate one must be attached to the Application when provided to an applicant. This sheet also contains a legal definition of child abuse in footnote 1 on the first page.



  1. “Screening Form for Teens Working with Minors”

[TEEN.SCREEN]
This form is the application for teenagers who desire to assist with the children and youth programs. Teenagers are not subject to criminal background checks. However, they must agree to sign and follow the Code of Ethics and the Basic Procedures for Safe Ministry with Children and Youth.
Note that this program has certain budgetary and records obligations that may be new to the local church. Criminal background checks costs at least $20 per person (with an additional $5 per person whose driving records are to be checked). Each person must have a “supervisory file” made up which must be kept in a secure (locked) location accessible only to the Confidential Screening Committee.


Prepared by: Lawrence H McGaughey, New York Annual Conference Chancellor
1READ ME.FIRST

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