Safe Church General Policy
Adopted by Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church Session October 2008 - PDF VERSION
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14
The purpose of Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church’s Safe Church Policies is to help the church implement and maintain a safe environment for children, youth, and adults that will help them participate freely in the church’s ministries and programs. Our goal is for all of God’s children to feel the welcome and love of Jesus Christ and to develop a lifelong relationship with Christ.
The objectives of this policy are to:
- Protect children and youth. Our intent is to provide a safe environment for children to learn, grow, and experience God’s love. We believe that effective ministry for children and youth requires relationships with caring, loving, and mature adults and youth leaders who can demonstrate God’s love to them. The safety policies are intended to keep these relationships and all aspects of ministries with minors safe.
- Protect Adults and Leaders. When adults and leaders are interacting with children and youth, they need to be in a safe place as well. Our intent is to create an environment that sets appropriate guidelines and boundaries and to provide the support that staff and volunteers need to be effective in their roles with children and youth.
By implementing Safe Church policies and procedures, we are communicating the importance of Safe Church for children, youth, adults, and the church.
Safe Church Components
All staff and volunteers (including elders and deacons) are expected to do everything reasonably possible to provide a safe environment for children. These actions fall into five basic categories:
All persons who may have direct contact with children or youth must comply with screening requirements before being in a supervisory position. Screening will include a criminal background check (fingerprinting) and reference checks.
Staff and volunteers working with or who may have direct contact with children or youth are required to participate in the general Safe Church training within the first 90 days of serving. Each person will receive a copy of the Safe Church Policies and Guidelines for the Ministry Area in which they are serving and agree to read and follow these guidelines. In addition, volunteers will participate in a Ministry Area training to learn about the specific policies, rules and guidelines for supervision.
Staff and volunteers who are responsible for the supervision of children or youth during ministry activities and are expected to do everything possible to provide a safe environment. This supervision will be guided by the Two-Adult Rule, which states that there must be two non-related adults present when supervising one or more children or youth. Detailed procedures for implementing this rule, as well as Safe Church guidelines for exceptions to this rule, are completely explained in the Safe Church Policies and Guidelines for each Ministry Area.
All church staff and volunteers have a responsibility to report actual or suspected abuse of children under the age of 18 whether or not it may have occurred in church ministry activities. Staff and volunteers will respond compassionately, seriously, supportively, without minimizing or explaining the behavior of others. The church will respond immediately to and take seriously all cases of actual or suspected abuse of children.
Everyone involved with children and youth are responsible for making sure that the church’s Safe Church Policies and Guidelines are understood and followed. Ministry Staff is responsible for evaluating how well these policies and guidelines are being followed and providing the ongoing training and support necessary to make sure they are implemented consistently.
For questions contact: