Child and Volunteer Safety Policy
Calvary Christian Reformed Church
To prevent and eliminate physical, emotional, and sexual abuse within Calvary Christian Reformed Church
- To safeguard the Church’s members and staff from abuse through any form of abusive misconduct
- To seek justice by assuring the effectiveness of the church’s administrative process in determining truth, protecting the innocent, and dealing appropriately with those who victimize others
- To promote proper healing of all persons where abusive misconduct has occurred
It is a sad but real fact that abuse of both children and vulnerable adults does occur in the church. While we have no known incidence of that happening at Calvary Christian Reformed Church, we realize that the effects of such abuse are devastating to the individuals involved, their families and to the entire church body. Clearly it is important that we take appropriate steps to prevent abuse of any kind from occurring within the ministry of our church. Because we recognize that we are a reflection of God’s love to those in our care, we take seriously our responsibility to them. We view ourselves as partners with parents, seeking to provide the highest quality care and instruction in our youth and children’s ministries. The staff, leaders, teachers, and/ or volunteers contributing to the ministry of Calvary are committed to demonstrating Christ-like characteristics of leadership. These guidelines have been established to provide a safe and nurturing environment in which people can be brought to the Savior.
Code of Ethics
As part of the promise made at baptism to love, pray for, encourage, instruct and sustain the children at Calvary Christian Reformed Church, I will help fulfill that vow by being faithful in my commitment to the children/youth to whom I am responsible. Believing that God is calling me to serve children or youth in this congregation…
- My first priority in teaching/ supervising/leading children or youth will be to seek the welfare of the children/youth physically, socially, educationally, and spiritually.
- I will also try to understand and respect the child’s/youth’s cultural background.
- I will give the parents/ guardians full information about the program I am teaching/ supervising/ leading, and whit time it begins and ends.
- I will arrive on time and be prepared for the activities to which I have committed. If I am not able to be present, I will make arrangements as outlined by the specific program for which I am working.
- I have read Calvary Christian Reformed Church’s Child and Volunteer Safety Policy. I understand it, and I will live by it in my participation in Calvary CRC’s programs.
- I will not do anything that will damage a child’s / youth’s trust. I will try to protect the child/youth from all forms of abuse while he or she is in my care.
- If I suspect that a child/youth may be hurt by the abusive behaviors of another person, I will report the suspicion to the Lead Pastor or member of the Abuse Response Team so that it may be investigated properly.
- I will answer a child’s/youth’s questions openly and honestly.
- I will work with the children/ youth to set some agreed-upon guidelines for acceptable behavior within that group. I will expect the children/ youth to act on the basis of those guidelines. If a child/youth consistently breaks them, I will seek help from parents / guardians and others to assist me in responding to the child/youth.
- If a child is distressed, I will try to offer comfort and help. I will encourage them to find the appropriate help for their needs.
- I will pray for each child/youth regularly and let them know that I care about them.
General Information Providing Good Discipline
- Children are to be regularly informed of age appropriate behavioral expectations.
- The use of corporal punishment (hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking) is not permitted.
- The use of threatening, harsh or hurtful language as a form of discipline is not permitted.
- The use of discipline that is intended to humiliate a child/youth is not permitted.
- Refusing to speak to a child as a form of discipline is not permitted.
- Appropriate forms of disciplining include the following:
- Distracting the child / youth with another activity
- Helping the child / youth focus on more acceptable behavior
- Using a “time-out” strategy, the child may be placed in a time-out area or chair. (This is an age appropriate activity for younger children and the length of the time-out should not exceed their chronological age.)
- Asking the child’s parent to attend the next meeting and participate in the activities.
- Parents will be informed of repeated negative behavior and/ or when a child misbehaves beyond what minor correction can control.
- When nothing seems to be working, staff/volunteers/leaders should get help before “losing their cool.”
Definitions Sexual Abuse
Child sexual abuse is the exploitation of a child or adolescent for the sexual gratification of another person. It includes all the offenses related to child sexual abuse contained in the criminal code of Iowa. When Jesus ministered to people, he showed his love through words and touch. He touched people as he healed them. He also touched babies and children (Luke 8:15-17). Touch is important in our ministry today. However, such touch and affection must be illustrated in a positive manner that mirrors God’s love for us. In order to insure that touching is not carried out in a way that humiliates or offends another person, the following guidelines for displays of affection are given:
- Casual touching of a hand, arm, shoulder and a young child’s head are appropriate as long as it is not offensive to the other individual.
- Hugging can be a positive way of showing love and support. One-arm hugs or hand to arm hugs are to be encouraged.
- Other forms of body contact are inappropriate.
Physical Abuse is any non-accidental injury to a child by a parent or caretaker. It occurs when a parent or other person willfully or maliciously injures or causes a child to be injured.
Harassment – Emotional Abuse
Harassment is a form of emotional abuse and will not be tolerated at Calvary Christian Reformed Church. Harassment may be defined as a persistent behavior by an individual or group that is offensive to another individual or group. It is demonstrated as a chronic pattern of behaviors, such as belittling, humiliating and ridiculing another person.