GHKIDS CORE VALUES
SHEPHERDING // ENGAGING // EXTRA-MILE // DEEP // SAFE
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Ensuring the safety of all of our kids starts with BEST practices. The purpose of this article to to provide a quick glance at our basic policies and procedures to keep ALL of our kids SAFE and growing in our environment. This article will focus specifically on safety regarding the prevention of physical abuse. It is a combination of purposeful practice (doing the right things) and purposeful awareness (making sure others are doing the right things)
1) Adults visiting Greenhouse Kids have limited access
Adults do not need to be in our building unless they are part of our volunteer team or they are with children who are in our ministry. Please discourage adults "just checking out" or cutting through the kids building. Be kind, be patient, but be ready to be firm.
Anyone planning to stay for a sevice to observe MUST check in at Registration.
A current driver's license is required.
They MUST wear their Red "guest" lanyard at all times.
They MAY NOT take kids to the bathroom or otherwise be with children in a private or non-visible environment. Everything they do with children must be in public, visible areas with other adult volunteers present
2) You MUST be approved to work with kids.
We allow all potential volunteers and parents limited access to visit Greenhouse Kids or Sprouts (see above), but anyone planning to serve with children long-term must complete entirely a thorough background check and interview process, including (but not limited to):
- A personal history questionnaire
- Personal and professional references
- A national background and criminal records screening
- A sit-down interview with a staff member for final approval and assignment
- Fingerprinting and further reference may be requested on a case-by-case basis.
3) NEVER Alone and Appropriate Touch
Adults and teenagers never should be alone with children. All classrooms and environments require at least 2 adults present at all times. If bathroom trips will be required (see bathroom procedures below), then you want to plan to have 3 adults in the classroom so that there will never be less than 2 adults present. If you see someone alone with a child, please address it and report it to coordinator immediately!
So far as touch goes, be wise and exercise discretion. Touch is an important tool to communicate that someone is loved, safe, and valued; but, it can also cause extreme discomfort and feeling of vulnerability. In general:
- You should not allow children to sit on your lap.
- Be wise about front hugs.
- Have discretion about picking children up
- en are not permitted to hold children of any age.
- Women should be mindful when girls are wearing skirts and with picking up older children.
4) There a certain things MEN simply cannot do.
Hate to be the harbinger of hard truths, but men working with children is treated with a certain amount of skepticism and caution. There is tighter scrutiny. Certainly, this is in large part due to a history in the church-at-large of molestation and sexual abuse from men in authority positions over children.
While we must be aware of such dangerous patterns, we are also mindful that children and youth REQUIRE healthy male influence and authority figures in their discipleship process. Therefore, we must proceed, but with caution. So, here are some things that men may not do:
- pick up a child
- change diapers or assist with bathroom issues (unbuckling pants, wiping, etc)
- enter a bathroom a child is in (this is recommended for all volunteers, not just men)
- have a child in his lap
- full-frontal hugs with a child
5) Rules for Kids’ Use of Bathrooms
- There must be at least 3 people for every bathroom trip - 1 leader + 2 kids. The principle here is visibility and accountability.
- For single-stall bathrooms (as in the kids' hall), only 1 child may be in the bathroom at a time.
- Leaders should not enter the bathrooms with kids. In the event of an emergency (i.e. a potty-training child is having issues and needs help), a FEMALE volunteer may enter to help, but only with another adult present (in the hallway) for the sake of accountability and awareness of all activity occurring in the bathroom.
- Leaders should not personally use the restrooms in the kids' hall, but should use adult bathrooms in the area.
6) PLEASE ADDRESS SUSPICIOUS OR INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR IMMEDIATELY
The way we are going to make sure all of our kids are safe at all times is if we assume it is OUR reponsibility. Don't assume someone else saw what you see or will take care of it so you do not have to. If you see someone doing something inappropriate or suspicious ADDRESS IT IMMEDIATELY and REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY. Working together, we will be able to prevent even the most malicious intentions.
This is, by no means, a conclusive statement. Things may be added and edited as appropriate. The end-game is that we work together, as a team, to keep kids safe in all of our events and environments.