Why Child Safeguarding Policy?
Emmanuel Baptist Church (EBC) is committed to providing a safe, secure and nurturing environment for children participating in the, activities of the church.
We understand children are vulnerable to abuse by young and adult persons. EBC, during regular church services, undertakes activities with children on the same premises as their parents/guardians, EBC employees and volunteers and other adult persons. Therefore, the parents/guardians remain responsible for their children’s welfare throughout regular church service times. However, there are activities such as Sunday school carried out during the Adult Education Hour (AEH) and regular church service times or when a child may attend an activity outside the regular service times of EBC where a volunteer or member of church staff from EBC will be in sole charge.
The purpose of the policy is to make sure that at all times the actions of any young or adult person involved in the life and ministry of EBC are transparent and safeguard and promote the welfare of all children. Child safeguard measures lessen the likelihood of harm to children in our care as well as the likelihood of groundless or untruthful or malicious litigation against the church, church staff and volunteers.
● No employee or volunteer at EBC will inflict or allow anyone to inflict physical or mental harm on any child. This prohibition includes touching or interaction with a child – or between children — for the purpose of sexual stimulation.
This document gives policy and helpful guidelines for Emmanuel Baptist Church (EBC), which will be followed by all members of the church when interacting in activities involving children.
To insure that this policy is carried out:
All employees and volunteers are required to receive a copy of the policy regarding children and to acknowledge in writing that he or she has received and understands it.
Volunteers must receive Elder Board approval for work with children. A volunteer must have been a member of EBC for at least six months, must complete a simple background statement, and must consent to due diligence check. In addition, all employees will be subject to the must consent to due diligence check.
For volunteers between the ages of 16 and 18, due diligence check may be required although it is not mandatory, but the young person’s statement must be signed by a parent or guardian affirming that the young person has not been involved in a juvenile offense involving force or sexual abuse, and has permission to work with children at EBC.
All children’s activities will be supervised by two approved persons — employees and/or volunteers. A married couple does not meet the two adult rule. This “two- adult rule” can be waived, however, when
1) The parents or guardians of the children have signed a special consent form,
2) The activity is taking place in a public location, or
3) There is a genuine emergency.
If the two-adult rule is not being followed and consent forms have not been received for all the children present, then activities involving children must be conducted in open areas, rooms with open doors or with doors that have transparent upper panels.
Groups using EBC facilities for children’s programs will indemnify EBC in the event of a claim stemming from any allegations of child abuse in their programs.
● The Elder Board will appoint Designated Reporting Members – at least one of whom is an Elder – who will receive all reports of alleged child abuse and report credible allegations, to the Elder Board and the child’s parents.
● The church will protect the privacy of all records regarding child protection, and records will be stored separately in the church administrator’s office. The Elder Board will review this policy regularly to ensure that the guidelines safeguard and promote the welfare of all children.
This summary is provided as an aid in reading and understanding the policy statement set out below. Any variation between the summary and the full policy statement is unintentional and the actual policy statement takes precedence over the summary.
Adult – Any person 18 years of age or older.
Appropriate government authority in Kenya– Allegations of child abuse in Kenya are investigated both by the Kenya Police Service and the Director of Children’s Services and Children’s Officers.
Approved person, or approved adult – Employee or volunteer approved by Elder Board to lead or assist with activities with children.
Child means any human being under the age of eighteen years; Child abuse includes physical, sexual, psychological and mental injury; Examples include:
● Deliberately inflicting, threatening to inflict, or permitting another to inflict or threaten a child with physical or mental injury;
● Creating a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or physical or mental injury;
● Refusal to provide care necessary to the health of the child or abandonment of a child left in one’s care;
● Touching or non-touching interaction between a child and another child, or between a child and an adult, for the purpose of sexual stimulation – always considered forced when the interaction involves a child and an adult, regardless of whether the child consented.
Designated Reporting Member (DRM) – any one of EBC members who has been designated by the Elder Board as a person to review the information generated in the due diligence check of volunteers and to whom all suspicions of child abuse are to be reported; and who, after prompt consultation with other Designated Reporting Members, is responsible for reporting the abuse as provided in this policy statement.
Due Diligence Check – A review of, and report on, public criminal records which may include a police certificate of good conduct related to a particular individual to reveal any adult felony convictions whether adjudged in Kenya or any other country.
Elder – any one of individual men commissioned by EBC to the office of elder and which term refers to Pastor.
Elder Board – the collective membership comprised of the elders EBC.
Employee – Any person who works for EBC for salary or wages, whether full time or part time employees. The term does not include an employee of a firm contracting with EBC to perform specified works on the buildings and equipment.
Excepted person – Any person who has the consent of the parent or guardian of a child to do any of the actions the doing of which a parent or guardian is responsible for in this policy. The term includes a sibling, relative or adult member of EBC with parental consent.
Volunteer – An adult who has agreed to engage in an activity under the auspices of EBC, without compensation, that involves regular interaction with children, including, but not limited to, interns, church school teachers, unpaid child-care providers, and youth group leaders, trip supervisors and drivers.
CHILD SAFEGUARD PROCEDURES AND POLICIES
A. General Provisions.
1. Public policy. The EBC Child Safeguarding Policy (CSP) will be posted and maintained accessible to EBC members and visitors in ways including but not limited to the following:
1) Posting on EBC web site;
2) A statement in EBC newsletter that the Policy may be requested from the EBC Elder or Designated Reporting Member (DRM);
3) Copies of the policy available in the EBC office.
4) The names of the current DRMs will be listed on all printed and web-posted copies of the Policy.
2. Confidentiality. All information about persons that is generated in the application of the procedures described below will be retained only as provided in section B.5 below. Only the Elder Board, DRMs, and persons with a lawful right to child safeguard information will have access to this material. Orders or requests from government agencies for Child Safeguard information shall be brought to the Elder Board meeting called for the purpose of responding to the order or request. Only the Elder Board may authorize release of Child Safeguard information.
B. Selection of Persons for Activities with Children
1. Copy of Policy and Procedures. The Elders, Employees and Volunteers, shall be given a copy of this Child Safeguarding Policy and shall acknowledge receipt of it in writing.
2. Appointment of Volunteers – All volunteers for roles in which they interact regularly with children or play other roles included in the definition of “Volunteer” above shall be approved for their roles by the Elder Board.
● To be approved, a Volunteer must have been a member EBC for at least six months; complete a simple Background Statement, (Appendix 1); and sign the consent for due diligence check.
● The Elder Board will request a DRM to arrange for the due diligence check to be done. The DRM’s will review the Background Statement (Appendix 1) and the due diligence check report and certify on (Appendix 1) that they have “no reason to believe that placing children in her/his care would put them at risk of ‘child abuse’ as defined by this Policy.”
● Should the information yield a reason for concern, the DRM will follow procedures described below in 6. If the applicant is found acceptable, a copy of the certified (Appendix 1) shall be given to the Elder Board for approval for the Volunteer as an approved adult or person. A list of approved adult or person will be maintained at the church office. The Deacon-Children ministry/team leader responsible for the children’s activity shall ensure that Volunteers (as defined above) are approved Adults or persons.
3. Appointment of Young Volunteers – Young EBC members between the ages of 16 and 18 may be approved for interaction with children only on a defined time basis, for particular activities, and will work with an adult. The young Volunteer does not receive due diligence check, but his or her Background Statement (Appendix 2) must be signed by a parent or guardian affirming that the young person has not been involved in a juvenile offense involving force, threat of force, or sexual abuse, and has permission to work with children at EBC.
4. Due diligence check of Employees – An applicant for employment at EBC must complete an Employment Questionnaire, (Appendix 3). The Senior Pastor that recommends an employee will ensure that references shown on the application are verified and a due diligence check is obtained. Regardless of whether an employee’s position involves regular interaction with children, the procedures in this policy statement must be followed.
Within ninety days of the adoption of this policy by the Elder Board, current employees will sign the certification and the release on the Employment Questionnaire, after which a due diligence check on each current employee will be completed.
5. Management of due diligence Records – Once the report of the due diligence Check has been reviewed by the DRMs or (in the case of an employee, by the Senior Pastor), the volunteer’s Background Statement or Employee Questionnaire and the report of the due diligence check will be stored in the church office.
The filed documents for Employee applicants who are hired and for Volunteers shall be retained permanently in the file. Once the Volunteer is no longer a Volunteer or the Volunteer or Employee leaves EBC, these documents and any other material generated in the screening shall be placed in a sealed envelope in the file.
6. Adverse findings – If the results of screening a proposed volunteer are assessed by the DRMs inconsistent with certifying that the they have “no reason to believe that placing children in her/his care would put them at risk of ‘child abuse’ as defined by this Policy,” the Elder Board shall pursue a “pastoral” approach that ensures:
● The proposed volunteer is not named to a EBC volunteer role with children;
● He or she is informed of the decision and treated with love and concern;
● The information is treated confidentially except insofar as the Elder Board may consider it necessary to share to prevent victimization of children.
If the results of screening a job applicant are assessed by the Senior Pastor to be adverse, the applicant shall not be selected for employment at EBC. The Elder Board shall determine how to treat this information with the applicant and/or other parties.
C. Circumstances for Children’s Activities
1. Two Adult Rule – At least two approved Volunteers and/or Employees will be present at activities involving children. Two adults who are married to each other do not satisfy the Two Adult Rule. For activities involving children of mixed gender, there should be atleast one female and one male volunteer to satisfy the two adult rule. For activities involving girl’s only children, atleast one volunteer should be female to satisfy the two-adult rule. There are two exceptions to this rule:
● When the child’s parent or guardian has signed a Waiver of Two-Adult Rule, Attachment 4; and
● The relevant activity is conducted wholly in a place where other adults are present or pass through, which is visible to other adults through an open or transparent door, or in an open space; or
● A bona fide emergency.
2. Exception to Open or Transparent Doors – This rule will not apply to bathrooms or to sleeping areas in the nursery as long as supervising adults are in the adjoining common areas in the nursery.
3. Parental Presence – All parents or guardians of children involved in activities at EBC have a right to participate in those activities and to enter the premises in which the activities are conducted at any time. Parents will not qualify as one of the adults for purposes of the Two Adult Rule unless the parent is a Volunteer appointed by the Elder Board (B-2, above) and the other adult is not his or her spouse.
4. Sign in and sign-off – The Deacon-childrens’ ministry, team or activity leader, approved adult, EBC employee, volunteer will maintain a sign in and sign out attendance record of each activity in which a child will participate otherwise than in the care of the parent/guardian or excepted person.
● A parent/guardian or excepted person will sign a child in the attendance record and be issued with a counterpart copy of the number tag for the child by the adult responsible. The child will be issued with a name tag/badge to wear at all times during the activity.
● No child shall be allowed to enter into and remain part of an activity before the parent/guardian or excepted person has signed in the child in the sign in record.
● A parent/guardian or excepted person shall present the counterpart copy of number tag for a child to the adult responsible at the end of the activity or as need arises. The adult responsible will retain the tags and release the child to the parent/guardian or excepted person who resumes primary responsibility and care of the child.
● No child shall be allowed to leave an activity before the parent/guardian or excepted person has presented the counterpart copy of number tag to the adult responsible.
● Loss, misplacement or destruction of a tag will be reported to the adult responsible. The adult responsible will make an entry of the report and the parent/guardian or excepted person sign out the child on the attendance record.
5. Nursery Area. Neither young (16-18 years) nor adult, male person is ordinarily allowed to be involved in activities in the nursery area (0-6 months’ children). Exceptions include;
● When the presence is required for purposes of sign-in or sign-off for the child to the adult responsible for the nursery care.
● When the presence is required for purposes of attending to the child at the request of the adult responsible for the nursery care.
● A bonafide emergency.
D. Responding and Reporting
1. The Elder board will appoint Designated Reporting Members (DRM) – at least one of whom is an Elder to receive all complaints of alleged child abuse and follow the procedures described in this section.
2. Any person dealing with children at EBC (volunteer, Employee, parent, or other young or adult member of EBC) shall report any and all incidents of child abuse to a DRM regardless of whether the incident is obvious, alleged, or merely suspected.
● The DRM will complete a Child Incident Report Form, (Appendix 5), for every incident reported and will furnish the incident report along with percipient witnesses’ names, addresses and telephone numbers to the Elder Board.
● Unless the Elder Board decides that the reported incident is plainly frivolous or clearly without merit, they shall deal with the complaint including where appropriate filing a report with the relevant government agency. Regardless of whether the incident is reported to authorities, the documentation will be filed in the Child Protection files. The Elders, if not the subject of the incident, will offer pastoral counseling for all persons involved.
● Otherwise, where an elder is the subject of the incident, the Elders who are not subject of the incident, will arrange for pastoral counseling to be provided to the alleged victim and the child’s parents or guardian.
● In addition, the Elders, who are not subject of the incident, will contact the subject and advise him that the complaint has been made, that where applicable a report has been made to where appropriate to the relevant government agency. The Elders will make clear to the subject that statements made in the course of counseling may not be privileged under civil evidentiary rules.
● A DRM shall report the incident to the Elder Board with promptitude. If the subject of the complaint or report is an Elder, the elders not subject of the incident will convene a meeting for the purpose. At that meeting, the Elders will decide who will, and how to, respond to inquiries or how to coordinate announcements related to the alleged abuse.
● Any employee who is the subject of an allegation shall be segregated from any contact with children. If segregation is not feasible, the employee will be suspended, in accordance with the terms of employment. The separation from children or the suspension will continue until the complaint or allegation is resolved. If the allegation is sustained, the employee will be dismissed.
● A Volunteer who is the subject of an allegation shall be suspended from activities that involve interaction with children. The Elder board will determine what further action, if any, shall be taken in addition to any action taken by the relevant government authorities.
E. Application of Policy to Other Building Users.
For all groups who use the EBC building on a regular or ad hoc basis and whose activities involve children, the contract for use of building space will contain a representation by the organization using the space that children will be kept safe and secure at all times while using EBC premises, and will also contain an indemnity provision to protect EBC. Signing the contract also shall constitute a representation that any adult who accompanies the group can be trusted with children and is aware of the responsibility that goes with supervision and care of children.
The Elder Board will review the Child safeguard policies and procedures at regularly and will update the current copy with any amendment(s) that may be made and complete the EBC Child Safeguard Statement.