General Purpose StatementBethany Baptist Church seeks to provide a safe and secure environment for the children who participate in our programs and activities. By implementing the below practices, our goal is to protect the children of Bethany from incidents of misconduct or inappropriate behavior while also protecting our staff and volunteers (workers) from false accusations.
DefinitionsFor purposes of this policy, the terms “child” or “children” include all persons under the age of eighteen (18) years. The term “worker” includes both paid and volunteer persons who work with children.
Selection of WorkersAll persons who desire to work with the children participating in our programs and activities will be screened. This screening includes the following:
- Six-Month Rule
- Written Application
- Personal Interview
- Reference Checks
- Criminal Background Check
- Those who will be involved in our school/preschool/daycare center;
- Those who will be in involved in overnight activities with children;
- Those counseling children;
- Those involved in one-on-one mentorship of children; and
- Those having occasional one-on-one contact with children (such as church/temple sponsored athletic team coaches and vehicle drivers).
What constitutes a disqualifying offense that will keep an individual from working with children will be determined by the Senior Pastor and Deacon Board on a case-by-case basis in light of all the surrounding circumstances. Generally, convictions for an offense involving children and/or for offenses involving violence, dishonesty, illegal substances, indecency and any conduct contrary to our mission will preclude someone from being permitted to work with children. Failure to disclose a criminal conviction on the application form will also be a disqualifying event.
The background check authorization form and results will be maintained in confidence on file at the Bethany Baptist Church.
Two Adult RuleIt is our goal that a minimum of two unrelated adult workers will be in attendance at all times when children are being supervised during our programs and activities. Some youth classes may have only one adult teacher in attendance during the class session; in these instances, doors to the classroom should remain open and there should be no fewer than three students with the adult teacher. We do not allow minors to be alone with one adult on our premises or in any sponsored activity unless in a counseling situation.
Responding to Allegations of Child AbuseFor purposes of this policy, “child abuse” is any action (or lack of action) that endangers or harms a child’s physical, psychological or emotional health and development. Child abuse occurs in different ways and includes the following:
- Physical abuse – any physical injury to a child that is not accidental, such as beating, shaking, burns, and biting.
- Emotional abuse – emotional injury when the child is not nurtured or provided with love and security, such as an environment of constant criticism, belittling, and persistent teasing.
- Sexual abuse – any sexual activity between a child and an adult or between a child and another child at least four years older than the victim, including activities such as fondling, exhibitionism, intercourse, incest, and pornography.
- Neglect – depriving a child of his or her essential needs, such as adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care.
In the event that an incident of abuse or neglect is alleged to have occurred at this church or during our sponsored programs or activities, the following procedure shall be followed:
- The parent or guardian of the child will be notified.
- The worker alleged to be the perpetrator of the abuse or misconduct will immediately be placed on leave from working with children pending an investigation and instructed to remain away from the premises during the investigation.
- Civil authorities will be notified, and the Bethany Baptist Church will comply with the state’s requirements regarding mandatory reporting of abuse as the law then exists. The Bethany Baptist Church will fully cooperate with the investigation of the incident by civil authorities.
- Our insurance company will be notified, and we will complete an incident report. Any documents received relating to the incident and/or allegations will immediately be forwarded to the insurance company.
- The Senior Pastor will be our spokesperson to the media concerning incidents of abuse or neglect unless he or she is alleged to be involved. We will seek the advice of legal counsel before responding to media inquiries or releasing information to the congregation. All other representatives of the church should refrain from speaking to the media.
- A pastoral visit will be arranged for those who desire it.
- Any person who is not found innocent of the alleged abuse or misconduct will be removed from their position working with children or youth.
We may consider the following provisions regarding Child Protection
Open Door PolicyClassroom doors should remain open unless there is a window in the door or a side window beside it. Doors should never be locked while persons are inside the room.
Teenage WorkersWe recognize that there may be times when it is necessary or desirable for babysitters (paid or volunteer) who are themselves under age 18 to assist in caring for children during programs or activities. The following guidelines apply to teenage workers:
- Must be at least age 14
- Must be screened as specified above.
- Must be under the supervision of an adult and must never be left alone with children.
Check-in/Check-out ProcedureFor children below third grade, a security check-in/check-out procedure will be followed. The child will be signed in by a parent or guardian, who will receive a “child check” for the child similar to a claim check. The parent or guardian must present the “child check” in order to sign out the child from our care. In the event that a parent or guardian is unable to present the “child check,” the senior child care worker will be contacted. The ministry leader will be responsible for releasing the child to the care of a parent or guardian after discussing the surrounding circumstances with the parent or guardian.
Sick Child PolicyIt is our desire to provide a healthy and safe environment for all of the children at Bethany Baptist Church. Parents are encouraged to be considerate of other children when deciding whether to place a child under our care. In general, children with the following symptoms should NOT be dropped off:
- Fever, diarrhea, or vomiting within the last 48 hours
- Green or yellow runny nose
- Eye or skin infections
- Other symptoms of communicable or infectious disease
Medications PolicyIt is the policy of Bethany Baptist Church not to administer either prescription or non-prescription medications to the children under our care. Medications should be administered by a parent at home. Parents are reminded of our sick child policy.
Exceptions to the medications policy may be granted to parents of children with potentially life-threatening conditions (such as asthma or severe allergic reactions). Parents of such children should address their situation with The ministry leader of child care to develop a plan of action.
Discipline PolicyIt is the policy of Bethany Baptist Church not to administer corporal punishment, even if parents have suggested or given permission for it. There should be no spanking, grabbing, hitting, or other physical disciplines of children. Workers should consult with the direct ministry leader/president if assistance is needed with disciplinary issues.
Restroom GuidelinesChildren five years of age and younger should use a classroom bathroom if one is available. If a classroom bathroom is not available, workers should escort a group of children to the hallway bathroom. They should always go in a group, never taking a child to the bathroom alone. The workers should check the bathroom first to make sure that it is empty, and then allow the children inside. The workers should then remain outside the bathroom door and escort the children back to the classroom. If a child is taking longer than seems necessary, the worker should open the bathroom door and call the child's name. If a child requires assistance, the workers should prop open the bathroom door, and leave the stall door open as they assist the child.
For children over the age of five, at least one adult male should take boys to the restroom and at least one adult female should take girls. The worker should check the bathroom first to make sure that the bathroom is empty, and then allow the children inside. The worker should then remain outside the bathroom door and escort the children back to the classroom.
For the protection of all, workers should never be alone with a child in a bathroom with the door closed and never be in a closed bathroom stall with a child. Parents are strongly encouraged to have their children visit the bathroom prior to each class.
Accidental Injuries to ChildrenIn the event that a child or youth is injured while under our care, the following steps should be followed:
- For minor injuries, scrapes, and bruises, workers will provide First Aid (Band-Aids, etc.) as appropriate and will notify the child’s parent or guardian of the injury at the time the child is picked up from our care.
- For injuries requiring medical treatment beyond simple First Aid, the parent and/or guardian will immediately be summoned in addition to the worker’s supervisor. If warranted by circumstances, an ambulance will be called.
- Once the child has received appropriate medical attention, an incident report will be completed in the case of injuries requiring treatment by a medical professional.