fairview bible church
PROTECTING OUR CHURCH
POLICIES FOR DEALING WITH SEXUAL
MISCONDUCT AT FAIRVIEW BIBLE CHURCH
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. The Principles of Protecting our Church
2. Code of Conduct for working with Minor Children and Youth
3. Types of Abuse and Misconduct
4. Screening and Selection of Church Personnel and Volunteers
5. Conduct of Those Working With Minor Children and Youth
6. Misconduct Reporting Policy
7. Receipt of Policy
8. Permission for Background Check
9. APPENDIX A: Guidelines for Appropriate Affections.
THE PRINCIPLES OF PROTECTING OUR CHURCH
Ministry to minors and youth is a sacred responsibility. Keeping minor children and youth safe becomes a high priority , not only of the leadership, but of all persons who enter into the halls of the church.
Fairview Bible Church must avoid even the appearance of misconduct. Personnel who demonstrate questionable conduct may plant seeds of doubt and loss of faith in others. Good judgement is a job requirement; poor judgement is a valid reason to remove or reassign a worker.
Fairview Bible Church personnel are accountable to one another to be sure the policies are followed. Workers must discuss questionable behavior by a co-worker with the church board.
This policy shall apply to all church personnel, whether paid or volunteer, who have official duties or responsibilities for working or interacting with minor children and youth as part of the churchs on-going programs and ministries.
CODE OF CONDUCT FOR WORKING WITH MINOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH
Relationships among people are the foundation of Christian Ministry and are central to the life of our church. Defining healthy and safe relationships is not meant, in any way, to undermine the strength and importance of personal interaction in our ministries. Rather, it is to assist all who fill the many roles in our church through which they can more fully demonstrate their love and compassion for children and adults in sincere and genuine relationships.
It is with the intention that relationships be experienced as charitable and without intention to do harm or allow harm to occur that the following code of conduct has been adopted by Fairview Bible Church.
General Definitions as applied to the following policies:
A child is defined as anyone under the age of 12 years.
A youth is defined as anyone who is at least 12 years old, but not yet 18 tears old.(A youth may also be an individual who is 18 years old or older, but still in high school.)
1. Church personnel will conduct themselves in a manner that is consistant with the discipline and teaching of the church within the course of their duties.
2. The church personnel and volunteers will do their utmost to prevent abuse and neglect among minor children and youth involved in church activities and services.
3. Church personnel will not physically, sexually, or emotionally abuse or neglect a minor child or youth.
4. Church personnel will report concerns about inappropriate behavior or policy violations to the church board. (NOTE: Reporting to any person other than a church officer is merely GOSSIP and is not an acceptable action.)
5. Church personnel will report any suspected abuse or neglect of a minor child or vulnerable adult whether on or off church property, whether perpetrated by church personnel or others, to governmental authorities.
6. Church personel will accept their personal responsibility to protect minor children and youth from all forms of abuse.
TYPES OF ABUSE AND MISCONDUCT
1. Physical Abuse: A non-accidental injury, which is intentionally inflicted upon a minor child or youth.
2. Sexual Abuse: A contact of sexual nature that occurs between a minor child and an adult or a non-consensual contact between minors, between youth, between an adult and youth, or between adults. This includes any activity that is meant to arouse or gratify the sexual desires of the either of the participants.
3. Emotional Abuse: A mental or emotional injury to a minor child or youth that results in an observable and material impairment in the minor child/s or youth/s growth, development, or psychological functioning.
4. Neglect: The failure to provide for a minor childs or youths basic needs or failure to protect them from harm.
5. Economic exploitation: The deliberate misplacement, exploitation, or wrongful temporary or permanent use of a minor childs or youths belongings, including money, without consent of the parent or legal gaurdian of the minor child or youth.
SCREENING AND SELECTION OF CHURCH PERSONNEL AND VOLUNTEERS
A. New Personnel:
The following are required for all applicants for paid and/or voluntary positions regularly working with or around minor children or youth.
1. a) Complete and sign a standard application that includes a release of information to conduct background checks. And b) Applicants will be required to read and sign the Code of Conduct.
(Both are included in this document)
2. A criminal records check will be conducted by InteliCorp Records, Inc. (This is a mandatory requirement of Mutual of Enumclaw, our current insurance underwriters).
3. A minimum of three months regular attendance at FBC is required before new volunteers are allowed to interact with minor children or youth.
4. If a background check reveals a prior sexual misconduct- related conviction, that person will be deemed ineligible to ever be involved in the care, supervision, or teaching of minor children or youth. This includes nursery care, day care, weekday and overnight activities, Preschool, MOPetts, and other FBC sponsored or managed activities. Tenants, such as Home Connections and Olympic Christian School, are not covered under our insurance policies sexual misconduct clause.
B. Existing personnel:
1. For church personnel who have been employed or worked in a volunteer position at the church for longer than 6 months need only complete the screening paperwork for their personnel file.
2. For church personnel who have volunteered or been employed by the church for less than 6 months, a face to face interview with the responsible church board (Committee), or school board, in addition to the screening paperwork, is required.
3. The Criminal Records check will be conducted every three(3) years for active employees and volunteers involved with minor children and youth. We will attempt to do this one third of the group at a time each year to keep costs manageable from a budget standpoint.
CONDUCT OF THOSE WORKINGWITH MINOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH.
1. Church personnel are responsible for releasing children in a custodial care relationship only to parents, legal guardians, or other persons designated by parent or guardian.
2. Church personnel will report unmanageable or unusual behavior of minors to parents or guardians as soon as possible.
3. Church personnel may occasionally be in position to provide transportation for minors.
The following guidelines must be observed when this becomes necessary.
a. Minor children and youth should not be transported without permission of parents or guardian.
b. Minor children and youth must be transported directly to their destination. No unauthorized stops are to be made.
c. Church personnel will avoid unnecessary and/or inappropriate physical contact with minors while in the vehicle.
d. Whenever possible, two adults should be used to transport minor children and youth.
4. Church Personnel will respond to minor children and youth with respect and consideration and treat them equally, irrespective of sex, race, religon, culture or socio-economic status. They must present themselves as a positive role model, consisting of respect, loyalty, patience, courtesy, tact and maturity.
5. Minor children and youth should not be left alone or with just a single adult anywhere on the church premesis (Includes buildings and grounds).
6. Church personnel should not initiate any sexually oriented conversations with minor children or youth. Refer any such questions from a minor child or youth to the parent or guardian.
7. Any contact with a minor child or youth outside of the context of scheduled activities must be acceptable to, and coordinated with, the parent or guardian.
(At times, a Preschool teacher is left with a single student when a parent is late. Weather permitting, they should wait outdoors.)
Included at the end of this manual as Appendix A. is a list of appropriate and inappropriate forms of affection to be used as a guideline for church workers.
MISCONDUCT REPORTING POLICY
The importance of following this policy is critical for the protection of the people of any age left in our charge. Repercussions may occur with all who are involved. A child who has been abused will be emotionally scarred for life. Teachers, Youth Leaders, other volunteers, and witnesses can be held liable under state law for not reporting events of impropriety. The integrity of the body will be suspect, and the church insurance underwriter is left without the necessary information to deal adequately with the situation.
A. When an event that could be construed as an impropriety, or if continued, could become an impropriety, is observed, the observer is required to take certain actions. It the observer is a church officer, he/she can go the the offender and confront them. The confrontation should include a re-reading of this document, and agreement to conform. If the observer is not an officer, they need to locate an officer, including the pastor, and together confront the offender.
B. The following procedures will be adhered to when an event or evidence of an event of impropriety is encountered.
1. The details of the reported event will be documented fully.
2. Any allegation of impropriety must be immediately reported to the Pastor.
This includes direct knowledge of an incident, or believable anecdotal information concerning a specific incident.
3. In the event a Preschool Teacher, Sunday School Teacher, MOP-etts leader, or any person(s) directly involved with minor children or youth, becomes aware of severe bruises on legs or buttocks on a young child, in addition to the report to the Pastor, she/he must also advise the county office of Child Protective Services. That should be done with the assistance of the Pastor or Elder.
The following defines those positions listed as Mandatory Reporters.
STATE OF WASHINGTON
Statutes: RCW 26.44.030(1),(2); RCW 26.44.060(3)
Professionals That Must Report:
1. Health Care professionals
2. Mental Health professionals
3. Social work professionals
4. Law enforcement professionals
• Any adult with whom a child resides
• Responsible living skills program staff
• Have reasonable cause to believe
• Not granted in statutes reviewed
RECEIPT OF POLICY FOR WORKING WITH MINOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH: I understand and do hereby state that I have revieved a copy of FBC policy Protecting Our Church and have read the policies and procedures.
I understand that this document clearly defines what the church expects from me while working or volunteering with or around minor children or youth, and I am to use this as a guideline for interaction with minor children and youth.
I understand through reading this policy that I am mandated by both Washington State Law and our church standards to report any suspicious signs of abuse or misconduct to the authorities as directed by this policy document.
PERMISSION FOR BACKGROUND CHECK
(EMPLOYEE OR VOLUNTEER AUTHORIZATION)
I, ___________________________, do hereby give permission for the church board to conduct a background check to see if I have any possible criminal background that would prohibit my working with minor children and/or youth in any capacity.
I understand that any information that results from this investigative report will be handled in confidence, and remain under lock and key.
Date of Birth:_________________________________________________
Place of Birth:_________________________________________________
Social Security Number:_________________________________________
APPENDIX A. Guidelines for Appropriate Affections with Children and Youth
Fairview Bible Church of Port Angeles, Wa. is commted to creating and promoting a positive, nurturing environment for our children�s and youth ministries that will protect the children from abuse and church personnel from misunderstandings. When creating safe boundaries for children and youth, it is important to establish what types of affection are appropriate and inappropriate; otherwise, that decision is left to each individual. Stating which behaviors are appropriate and inappropriate allows church personnel to comfortably show positive affection in ministry, and yet identify individuals who are not maintaining safe boundaries with children and youth. The guidelines are based, in large part, on avoiding behaviors known to be used by molesters to groom children, youth, and parents for future abuse. The following guidelines are to be carefully followed by all church personnel working with children or youth.
1. The following list defines some appropriate forms of affection
• Brief hugs
• Pats on the back or shoulder
• *High-fives* and hand slapping
• Verbal praise
• Touching hands, faces, shoulders and arms of children or youth
• Arms around shoulders
• Holding hands while walking with small children
• Sitting beside small children
• Kneeling or bending down for hugs with small children
• Holdings hands during prayer
• Pats on the head (when culturally appropriate).
2. The following forms of affection are considered inappropriate. These are considered *grooming* activities by sexual predators and must be avoided.
• Full body hugs or embracing a child or youth for an inordinate amount of time
• Kisses on the mouth
• Holding children over three years old on the lap
• Touching bottoms, chests or genital areas other than for appropriate diapering, toileting or dressing of infants or toddlers
• Showing affection in isolated areas or locked areas such as bedrooms, closets, or offices
• Occupying a bed with a child or youth
• Caressing knees or legs of children or youth
• Wrestling with children or youth
• Tickling children or youth
• Piggyback rides
• Any type of message given by a child or youth to an adult
• Any type of message given by an adult to a child or youth
• Any form of unwanted affection
• Comments or compliments (spoken, written, or electronic) that relates to physique or body development. Examples would be, You sure are developing, or You look really hot in those jeans.
• Snapping bras or giving wedgies� or similar touch of underwear whether of not it is covered by other clothing
• Privately giving gifts or money to individual children or youth
• Private meals in non-public venues with children or youth
• Frequent association with individual children or youth outside of church related activities