CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

General Purpose Statement
First Baptist Church of Rayville (“FBC”) seeks to provide a safe and secure environment for the children who participate in our programs and activities. By implementing the practices described below, we commit to our goal of protecting the children under FBC’s care from incidents of misconduct or inappropriate behavior, while also for taking our staff and volunteers (workers) from false accusations.

Definitions
For purposes of this policy, the terms “child” and/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 Workers
All persons who desire to work with the children participating in our programs and activities and have not previously been actively participating in such activities will be screened. This screening may include the following:

  • Six Month rule
    No volunteer will be considered for any position involving contact with minors unless she/he has been actively involved with FBC or recommended by another minister of the Gospel and approved by FBC’s youth minister and/or children’s minister.
  • Written Application
    All persons seeking to work with children must complete and sign a written application in a form to be supplied by us. The application will:
    request basic information about the applicant
    inquire into previous experience with children
    inquire into FBC affiliation
    require disclosure of any previous criminal convictions.

The application form will be maintained in a confidential file at FBC.

  • Reference Checks
    Before an applicant is permitted to work with children, at least two of the applicant’s references will be checked. These references should be of an institutional nature as opposed to personal or family references, preferably from organizations where the applicant has worked with children in the past. In the event an applicant is well known by the church and/or by church leadership, reference checks may be waived.
    Documentation of the reference checks will be maintained in a confidential file at FBC.
  • Personal Interview
    Upon completion of the application, a face-to-face interview may be scheduled with the applicant to discuss his/her suitability for the position.
  • Criminal Background Check
    A criminal background check is required for all employees (regardless of position) and for the following categories of volunteers:

    • Those who will be involved in our nursery or preschool area
    • Those who will be involved in overnight activities with children
    • Those counseling children
    • Those involved in one-on-one mentorship of children
    • Those having occasional one-on-one contact with children (such as FBC sponsored athletic team coaches and vehicle drivers).

Before a background check is run, prospective workers will be asked to sign an authorization form allowing FBC to run the check. If an individual declines to sign the authorization form, he/she will not be permitted to work with children.

What constitutes a disqualifying offense that will keep an individual from working with children will be determined by FBC’s professional ministerial staff on a case-by-case basis in light of all the surrounding circumstances. In every case of possible disqualification, the pastor will be engaged in the decision. 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 will also be a disqualifying event.

The background check authorization form and results will be maintained in confidence on file at FBC.

Two Adult Rule
It is our goal that a minimum of two 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 unlocked. Minors shall not be alone with one adult on our premises, or in any sponsored activity unless in a counseling situation.

Responding to Allegations of Child Abuse
For 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, burning or biting.
  • Sexual abuse – any sexual activity between a child and an adult or between a child and another child 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.

Childcare workers may have the opportunity to become aware of abuse or neglect of the children under our care. In the event that an individual involved in the care of children at FBC becomes aware of suspected abuse or neglect of a child under his/her care, this should be reported immediately to the pastor and to chairman of the deacons for further action, including reporting to authorities as may be mandated by state law.

In the event that an incident of abuse or neglect is alleged to have occurred at FBC 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 will be instructed to remain away from the premises during the investigation.

Civil authorities will be notified. FBC will comply with the state’s requirements regarding mandatory reporting of abuse as the law then exists. FBC 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 pastor or FBC’s legal counsel 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.

Teenage Workers
We 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. These workers must be under the supervision of an adult and should never be left alone with children.

Sick Child Policy
It is our desire to provide a healthy and safe environment for all of the children at FBC. 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

Children who are observed by our workers to be ill will be separated from other children and the parent or guardian will be contacted to request that the child be picked up for the day.

Medications Policy
It is the policy of FBC 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 in writing with the nursery director to develop a plan of action.

Discipline Policy
It is the policy of FBC not to administer corporal punishment even if parents have suggested or given permission for it. There should be no spanking, hitting, or other physical discipline of children. Workers should consult with the youth minister or children’s minister if assistance is needed with disciplinary issues. If worker is not satisfied with the resolution of the situation, this should be reported to the pastor.

Accidental Injuries to Children
In 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 circumstance, and 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.

Training
FBC will provide training on this child protection policy to all new childcare workers and will strive to provide opportunities for additional training classes or events on an annual basis. All workers are strongly encouraged to attend these training events.