Child and Volunteer Safety Policy

Calvary Christian Reformed Church

Pella, Iowa

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…

  1. 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.
  2. I will also try to understand and respect the child’s/youth’s cultural background.
  3. I will give the parents/ guardians full information about the program I am teaching/ supervising/ leading, and what time it begins and ends.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. I will answer a child’s/youth’s questions openly and honestly.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. I will pray for each child/youth regularly and let them know that I care about them.

General Information Providing Good Discipline

  1. Children are to be regularly informed of age appropriate behavioral expectations.
  2. The use of corporal punishment (hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking) is not permitted.
  3. The use of threatening, harsh or hurtful language as a form of discipline is not permitted.
  4. The use of discipline that is intended to humiliate a child/youth is not permitted.
  5. Refusing to speak to a child as a form of discipline is not permitted.
  6. 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.
  1. Parents will be informed of repeated negative behavior and/ or when a child misbehaves beyond what minor correction can control.
  2. When nothing seems to be working, staff/volunteers/leaders should get help before “losing their cool.”

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…

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:


  1. 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.
  2. Hugging can be a positive way of showing love and support. One-arm hugs or hand to arm hugs are to be encouraged.
  3. Other forms of body contact are inappropriate.

Physical Abuse
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.

Supervision is a necessary component because it provides for on-going prevention of abuse. Some of the specific ways that supervision of those ministering with children and youth occurs is through the following:

  1. As much as possible, there should be two teachers or leaders with each group of children. In the event there is not a second adult present, the classroom door must be left ajar, unless the door has a window in it.
  2. Leaders should wait until all children/ youth are picked up before leaving the premises.

Bathroom Use
No child over 5 years of age shall be assisted in the restroom unless he/ she/ is physically, mentally or emotionally disabled.

  1. Leaders and assistants must stay outside the bathroom door unless the child requests assistance.
  2. If a child requests assistance, the bathroom door must be left ajar.
  3. Door wedges should be located in all bathrooms and used to prop the door open when assisting children.
  4. Children must request permission from an adult teacher to leave the classroom.

One-on-One Contact/Small Groups
One-on-one encounters between teachers or youth sponsors and students are an important part of ministry. The following guidelines should be observed for one-on-one encounters.\


  1. When the encounter takes place on church property, if at all possible, another adult should be present on the premises. Counseling sessions should remain as open as is comfortable for the one being counseled (i.e. door ajar, curtains or blinds open)
  2. One-on-one encounters between a youth group leader and a youth/ child should be reported to parents if confidentiality is not an issue. In cases of confidentiality a log noting date, time, name, and topic should be kept of the meeting. This log will be reviewed with other ministerial staff on a regular basis.
  3. One-on-one encounters off the premises should be at a public place.
  4. It is recommended that small groups should meet in groups of 3 or more, no less.
  5. Calvary Christian Reformed Church accepts no responsibility for one-on-one activities not sponsored by the church among children, youth and staff / leaders such as baby-sitting, dating, recreation or social situations.

Release Forms

  1. A general release form must be obtained by teacher / leaders before children / youth participate in events that are held off church property. (It is suggested this be obtained at the beginning of each year’s education season) Visitors and non-church youth are encouraged to participate, but in the interest of their protection a general release form is required prior to participation in events.
  2. Medical information forms should be obtained each year for each child I youth involved in programs that may have off-site activities. These forms should be taken along by the leader on each trip. It is the responsibility of the parent(s) to notify the leader of any changes in the medical information.


  1. When a worker is driving with youths, he or she should avoid being alone with them without the parent’s / guardians knowledge.
  2. Transportation of children/ youth to and from the church property to a church sponsored event at another location (for example, the nursing home) must be done in groups.
  3. Whenever there is a possibility that a worker will be transporting children/youth without a second (or additional) adult present at all times, the leader must call a parent of each youth to obtain their permission and to make specific arrangements for the transportation. The leader must let the parents know when he or she and the child will be leaving, how they will be traveling, when they expect to arrive at their destination and when they will return.
  4. All children/youth must be secured in safety restraints as required by law.
  5. No one should ever be transported in the back of a pick-up truck.
  6. All drivers must be 18 years of age and have a valid driver’s license and current automobile insurance.

Off-Site and/or Overnight Planned Events
A “Calvary Christian Reformed sponsored event” is an event that has been planned by the leadership of Calvary CRC youth programs. In addition to other applicable requirements of the Child and Volunteer Safety Policy, all Calvary CRC sponsored events which are off-site or overnight must satisfy the following requirements:


  1. The presence of at least two unrelated, approved workers is required.
  2. Parents will be given the agenda of the event, the address and telephone number / cell phone number of the place where the group will be going, and the anticipated departure and return times.
  3. Separate sleeping areas should be maintained. When that is impossible, leaders will properly chaperone.
  4. Leaders will be present in all sleeping areas for supervision.
  5. No leader / chaperone will share sleeping accommodations (bedding) with a child/youth.
  6. All transportation guidelines apply for off-site/ overnight activities.

Reporting and Response Procedures

Who is Required to Report?
All church workers are required to report any alleged sexual, physical or emotional abuse situation as defined in this policy and similar manuals. Church workers include those who are paid and those who volunteer.

How Should the Report be Made?
Any report should be made immediately to the Lead Pastor and/ or a member of the Abuse Response Team. It is the responsibility of ART to immediately investigate to discern whether there is any substance to charges. If ART determines that there is any substance to the charges they will immediately report the situation to the proper state authorities.

Thank you for thoughtfully considering this document.

Abuse Response Team: Pastor Brad Bierma, President of Council: Paul Hofman, Marsha Wetter and Brenda Van Hal.

In order to certify that you read and understood this document please fill out the following items and submit: