In the spirit of giving thanks this holiday season, we’ve decided to list a few safety practices we’re especially thankful for. While most churches have basic safety standards in place, we’ve highlighted a few features that make us extra grateful.
- Photo ID Badges—Once used primarily in the health care field, photo ID badges are now common practice in education and even retail. Every worker in your children’s and youth ministry needs to wear a badge with their name and photo to validate they are an approved and qualified volunteer in your program.
- Criminal Background Checks—Background screening needs to include information from a national database rather than only a state-wide check. And if you’re not doing a background check on those you trust to work with children and youth—you’re not meeting basic standards. You’ll have a hard time proving “due diligence” if you skip this step.
- Photo Release Permission—Be cautious of uploading photos of minors to your church or ministry website, Facebook page, or any other online platform. While social media is a great tool for marketing ministry, there are protocols that you need to be aware of. Simply stated, you cannot post pictures or videos of minors without parental permission. Whether you are a small church or a very large ministry, this applies to everyone!
- Training—A safe volunteer is a trained volunteer! Those who provide care to children, youth, and the elderly need to be trained in discipline practices, CPR, and emergency responses, in addition to abuse recognition and prevention.
- Secured Space—If just anyone can walk in off the street and visit the rooms where your children’s ministry is happening, you’ve got a serious problem. No unauthorized person should have access to the space that houses the activity of minors: this includes parents. A point of check-in and release needs to be designated and closely monitored.
This Thanksgiving we’re thankful for you and your commitment to safe ministry!
– – Taken from a recent Shepherd’s Watch newsletter. Sign up today for Shepherd’s Watch Background Checks and receive your free monthly newsletter filled with advice and tips on keeping your church safe.
(We love to provide tips to keep your ministry safe. You may also want to consult your local legal advisors to get their perspective on this topic!)