Child Protection Policy

Table of Contents

Child and Youth Safety Takes Priority

As a church, we believe that the spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being of children is vital. Our policies ensure that church activities involving children are consistent with the teachings and example of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the Christian tradition of nurturing children.

The primary purpose of our policies is to promote the safety and well-being of children and youth by providing clear instructions about the operation of children and youth ministries at Church of the Resurrection.

A Higher Standard

As ambassadors of Jesus Christ, we must strive to be worthy of a very high standard of trust. For this reason, everyone at Church of the Resurrection must avoid even the appearance of inappropriate behavior. All adults must diligently avoid any conduct that appears wrong to a reasonable observer, even if no actual misconduct takes place. I Thessalonians 5:22- “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

Adults working directly with children in any ministry must complete the following (to be renewed every 3 years):

Application Forms

Applicants must complete and sign an application and the related waivers giving permission to check references and background information.

Criminal Background Check

This will be kept in strict confidence and will only be available to Church of the Resurrection professional ministry staff.

References

The references will be done by phone, mail, or email. The four references include: two personal- people who have known the applicant well for two or more years, and two professional- people who are a current or former supervisor of the applicant. Responses must be received from at least two references to satisfy the screening requirement.

Training Form

Online training includes studying the Child Protection Policies and completing a comprehension test.

Six-Month Rule

All applicants must have attended the Church of the Resurrection for a minimum of six months. This time of interaction between ministry leaders and the applicants allows leaders to better evaluate the suitability of an applicant for children’s work.

Confidentiality of Information

Confidentiality will be maintained. The contents of the application, references, and the results of the criminal background check will be kept confidential. Information will be marked as such and stored with limited access files afforded only to church staff.

Child Maltreatment

Child maltreatment is any type of harm to a child by a caretaker. This includes acts of commission (assault) as well as acts of omission (failure to protect). This could mean injuries to a child by unsafe driving, poor judgment on a field trip by an inexperienced leader, an understaffed nursery where a child falls from a changing table as well as sexual abuse or molestation.

As defined by the state of Illinois, child abuse is “the mistreatment of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caretaker, someone living in their home or someone who works with or around children. The mistreatment must cause injury or must put the child at risk of physical injury. Child abuse can be physical (such as burns or broken bones), sexual (such as fondling or incest) or emotional (such as verbal aggression)” (www.state.il.us/dcfs).

Sexual abuse is any form of sexual contact or exploitation in which a minor is being used for the sexual stimulation of a perpetrator. According to the National Resource Center on Sexual Abuse, it is “any sexual activity with a child whether in the home by a caretaker, in a day care situation, a foster/residential setting, or in any other setting, including on the street by a person unknown to the child. The abuser may be an adult, an adolescent, or another child, provided the child is four years older than the victim.” Sexual abuse does not have to involve physical contact, or be violent. It is any behavior that involves children in sexual behaviors for which they are not personally, socially and developmentally ready.

Examples of sexual abuse involving touching: fondling, rape

Examples of sexual abuse not involving touching: inappropriate sexual comments, obscene phone calls, inappropriate pictures

Child molesters cannot be identified by appearance, intelligence, dress or even membership in a church.

There are two types of child molesters.

Situational— an individual who gives in to temptation and acts on impulse. The tendency for abuse may never exist until the opportunity arises. This person is deterred by minimizing situations that are ripe for abuse by training, strong supervision and emphasis on guidelines.

Preferential— an individual who abuses children repeatedly and will work to gain access to vulnerable children. Many are adept at living a “hidden life” and appear completely normal to others. Be aware of “grooming behaviors”: a pattern of behavior by a child molester that makes a child more vulnerable to molestation. This person is deterred by a six month rule, criminal background checks and protection policies.

“Grooming Behaviors” may include providing gifts, trips or money. Be aware of excessive attention given to selected children and fostering reliance on or an emotional attachment to an adult. Take note of anyone creating a “guru” syndrome- a ministry focused on the personality of the ministry worker. Be alert should a ministry worker initiate “secret activities”. There are no secret activities or meetings closed to parents.

Our main priority is the welfare of our children and youth. Our children and youth ministry programs are to serve, uplift, instruct and protect those who have been entrusted to our care. Working with children and youth is a privilege and it is the responsibility of the church leadership to select the best qualified people.

Recognizing Sexual Abuse

Physical signs of abuse may include:

  • Lacerations and bruises
  • Nightmares
  • Irritation, pain, or injury to the genital area

  • Difficulty with urination

  • Discomfort when sitting

  • Torn or bloody underclothing

  • Venereal disease

Behavioral signs may include:

  • Severe anxiety inappropriate for age
  • Nervous or hostile behavior toward adults
  • Sexual self-consciousness
  • Withdrawal from activities and friends

Verbal signs may include the following statements:

  • “I don’t like [a particular ministry/volunteer worker]”
  • “[A ministry/volunteer worker] does things to me when we’re alone”

Recognizing Neglect:

  • A child appears to be undernourished
  • A child is dressed inappropriately for the weather
  • A young child has been left alone

REPORTING CHILD ABUSE

Under Illinois law, childcare workers (including church volunteers) are mandated reporters and should report suspected abuse to DCFS and a Rez staff member. If you ever see anything that appears suspicious or see any inappropriate behavior by another adult, please report it immediately to the Children’s Pastor, Youth Pastor, or Executive Pastor of Staff.

Three controllable factors that affect the risk level of child abuse are:

Isolation:

  • Risk increases as isolation increases.

  • Most cases of sexual abuse occur in isolated settings.

  • Four factors affect isolations:
    (1) the number of people present, (2) the time of the activity, (3) the location of the activity, and (4) the physical arrangements.

Accountability:

  • Risk increases as accountability decreases.

  • Child sexual abuse always occurs in settings where proper accountability or checks are not in place, especially without the accountability of another adult in the room.

Power:

  •  Risk increases when there is an imbalance of power, authority, influence and control between a potential abuser and a potential victim.
  • Children are vulnerable to sexual predators because of the imbalance of power related to age, size, strength and control.

  • Most child victims know and trust their abuser. Once abuse occurs, perpetrators will use their power, authority and influence to promote silence.

VOLUNTEER GUIDELINES

  • All adults working directly with children must have attended Church of the Resurrection for at least six months.

  • A room which requires multiple volunteers cannot have only volunteers from the same family.

  • No volunteer should be alone with a child. When one-on-one interaction is required, it must take place in a public setting.

  • Anyone over 14 must complete the Child Protection Program.

  • Older children who want to serve must have completed 5th Grade and must attend the appropriate RezKids training.

  • Any group providing childcare on church property or at a church- sponsored function are responsible to see that the childcare workers have completed Church of the Resurrection’s Child Protection Program.

Adult to Child Ratios

Church of the Resurrection has a goal of maintaining the following ratios of ministry workers to children whenever feasible. These ratios are goals. The church recognizes that in some circumstances achieving these ratios may not be feasible, such as when an unexpected number of children showing up for an event.

Program Adults Children
Nursery 1 3 - 5
Preschool 1 6 - 8
Elementary 1 10 - 12
Middle/High School 1 15

Touching Policy

Children want and need physical affection, but for the safety of all, touching should:

  • Always be done in the presence of other adults. It should be in public.

  • Initiated by the child for the benefit of the child.

  • Be non-demanding. Gentle touch of shoulders, hands, arms, back is OK.

  • Touching behavior should not give even the appearance of wrong doing; it should be above reproach.

  • A child’s preference not to be touched should be respected. Do not force affection upon a reluctant child.

Bathroom Policy

Nursery:

● Diaper changes are only done by the child’s parent or guardian.

Preschool:

  • When a child is going to the bathroom in the room bathroom, stand outside the door, facing away from the bathroom.
  • If a child needs help using the bathroom, an adult can help while another adult waits outside the partially open door.
 

Elementary:

  • Elementary children should use the bathroom located in the classroom.

  •  If the bathroom is occupied, a leader may escort the child to a single- stall bathroom in another classroom where adults are present.

Check-In/Check-Out

  • All children entering a room must have been checked in by a parent/guardian at an electronic check-in station and must be wearing a nametag.

  • When someone comes to pick up a child, they will be asked to show a claim tag that corresponds to the child’s name tag.

 

Gun Safety

  • Leaders and volunteers who work with RezKids and RezYouth may not carry a weapon while serving with our children & youth.

Copyright 

2022 

// Church of the Resurrection