Reduce the Risk for Vulnerable Sector


Table of Contents

1.   PURPOSE 5


2.1 Child Abuse 7

2.1.1 Physical Abuse 7

2.1.2 Emotional Abuse 7

2.1.3 Sexual Abuse 7

2.1.4 Neglect 8

2.1.5 Harassment 8

2.1.6 Improper Touching 8

2.1.7 Improper/Proper Discipline 8

2.1.8 Exposure to Domestic Violence 8

2.2   Understanding and Reducing the Risk 9

2.3   Symptoms of Abuse and Molestation 9

2.4   The Effects of Child Sexual Abuse 10

2.5   The Profile of a Child Molester 11


3.1   Why Churches are Susceptible 12

3.2   The Civil and Legal Liability of the Church 12


4.1 Screening Committee 13

4.2 Qualification for Ministry 14

4.3 Screening Workers Already Serving 14


5.1 Recruitment of Ministry Persons 15

5.2 Reference Check 15

5.3 Interview 16

5.4 Criminal Record Check 16

5.5 Records 17

5.6 Training 18


6.1 Nursery/Toddler 20

6.2 Staffing and Supervision Guidelines 20

6.2.1 Sign in/out Sheets 21

6.2.2 Ratios/Age Expectations 21

6.2.3 Parental Permission 21

6.2.4 Unobstructed Windows 22

6.2.5   Supervisory Staff 22

       6.2.6 Family Protection ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 22

6.3   Proper Display of Affection 22

6.3.1 Appropriate Touch 22

6.3.2 Inappropriate Touch 23

6.4 Discipline and Classroom Management 23

6.4.1 General Guidelines 24

6.4.2 Preventative Discipline 24

6.4.3 Remedial Discipline 25

6.4.4 Classroom Rule Suggestions 25

6.4.5 Appropriate Discipline 25

6.4.6 Inappropriate Discipline 26

6.4.7 Sunday School Discipline Procedure 26

6.5   Washroom Guidelines 26

6.5.1 Nursery Children 26

6.5.2 Toddler Children 27

6.5.3 Kindergarten Age and Up 27

6.6 Facility 28

6.6.1 Cleanliness 28

6.6.2 Nursery Facilities 28

6.7   Field Trips, Overnight Events and Transportation 28

6.8   Suspicious Behaviour 29


7.1 Youth Ministry Person Standards 30

7.1.1 Lifestyle 30

7.1.2 Contacting Opportunities 30

7.1.3 Open Door Policy 30

7.1.4 Physical Contact 30

7.1.5 Dating 31

7.2   Youth Ministry Programming 31

7.2.1 Ministry Person/Youth Ratio 31

7.2.2 Supervision of Ministry Persons 32

7.2.3 Youth Ministry Authorization and Consent 32

7.2.4 Planning for Safety 32

7.2.5 Billeting and Hosting 33

7.3   Off-Site Activities/Overnight Events/Transportation 33

7.3.1 Off-Site Activities 33

7.3.2 Overnight Events (conferences, camps, retreats, trips, hotels) 34

7.3.3 Shower and Locker Guidelines 34

7.3.4 Transportation 35

7.4 Dealing with Injuries 35


8.1 Reporting and Training 37

8.2 Illness 37

8.3 Medications 37

8.4 Procedures for Dealing with Cuts or Injuries Involving Blood 37

8.5 Emergencies 38


9.1   Hearing of an Allegation or Suspicion of Abuse 39

9.2   When a Legitimate Allegation Occurs 40

9.3    Response to the Child 41

9.4   The Child Welfare Report 41

9.5   Contents of the Report 41

9.6   Church Follow-up and Discipline 43

9.7 Public Relations 43


10.1 Presenting this Policy 45

10.2 Monitoring of Policy 45

10.3 Educate Workers 46

10.4 Amendments to Policy 46









APPENDIX H:  Letter for Criminal Record Check 66









The Church has a spiritual, moral and legal obligation to provide a secure environment for children and youth participating in Church programs, which are under the auspices and authority of the Church.

The Church must also protect those who volunteer (Ministry Persons) in serving our children and youth. The Ministry Persons need the security of knowing that they are working in a setting where processes and procedures are in place to minimize any possibility of an erroneous accusation.

Child Abuse is a violation of God’s moral law within the context of trusted relationships. It is criminal behaviour that causes emotional, physical and spiritual trauma to victims and has destructive consequences for abusers. Devastating effects on the credibility of the Church’s ministry and the name of Christ make it essential that the Church takes all appropriate steps to prevent abusive incidents from occurring. 

“Reduce The Risk” Policy establishes the criteria for the provision of a safe environment for children, youth and Ministry Persons.

The bible outlines our spiritual responsibility to our children and youth:

Mark 10:13 – 16 

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. 16 And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. 

1 Thessalonians 5:22

Avoid every kind of evil. 

Ephesians 5:3  

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.  

Matthew 18:6

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 

All Ministry Persons serving our children and youth must be growing in the knowledge of Philippians 3:10 “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death”.


2.1 Child Abuse

It is critical to have a clear understanding of abuse, and to be familiar with the definitions used when referring to it. Child abuse refers to an act committed by a parent, caregiver or person in a position of trust which is not accidental and which harms or threatens to harm a child’s physical or mental health, or a child’s welfare. Abuse is categorized as being Physical, Emotional, Sexual, Neglect, Harassment, Improper Touching, Improper/Proper Discipline and Exposure to Domestic Violence. Abusers could be family members, friends, staff, or individuals in positions of trust and authority. 

2.1.1 Physical Abuse

Physical Abuse is using any deliberate physical force or action that results, or     could result, in injury to a child or youth. It is different than what is considered reasonable discipline. Sometimes injury is caused by over-discipline. It can include punching, slapping, beating, shaking, burning, biting or throwing a child. It is more than reasonable discipline. Injuring a child or youth is not acceptable, regardless of differing cultural standards on discipline. 

2.1.2 Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse is a pattern of hurting a child’s feelings to the point of damaging their self-respect. It can include verbal attacks, humiliation, rejection, constantly criticizing, teasing, belittling, insulting, ignoring, or isolating the child. It also includes failure by a parent or caregiver to provide their child with love, emotional support and guidance. A child or youth who is emotionally harmed may demonstrate severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, and self-destructive or aggressive behaviour.

2.1.3 Sexual Abuse 

Sexual Abuse occurs when somebody else, for sexual stimulation or gratification, uses a child or youth.  Sexual activity between children or youth may also be sexual abuse if older or more powerful children or youth take sexual advantage of those who are younger or less powerful. It can include sexual intercourse, exposing a child’s private areas, obscene phone calls, fondling for sexual purposes, watching a child undress for sexual pleasure, allowing a child to look at or perform in pornographic pictures/videos, forcible rape, or engaging in prostitution.

2.1.4 Neglect

Neglect is the failure to meet a child’s basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, sleep, medical attention, education and protection from harm to an extent that the child’s health, development or safety is endangered.

2.1.5 Harassment 

Harassment is repeated subtle or overt action, particularly by a person in a position of trust, which causes the recipient to feel attacked, demeaned, intimidated or manipulated.

2.1.6 Improper Touching

Improper Touching creates feelings of violation, confusion or isolation. It may include kissing a child, coxing a child to give a kiss, extended hugging or tickling, touching a child in any area that would be covered by a swimsuit, carrying older children or having them sit on an adult’s lap.

2.1.7 Improper/Proper Discipline

Improper Discipline involves inappropriate and harmful attempts to control a child. It includes yelling or screaming at children, threatening them or physically hurting them. By contrast, Proper Discipline involves establishing clear boundaries of acceptable behaviour and maintaining such behavioural expectations with firm, loving and kind expressions of authority.

2.1.8 Exposure to Domestic Violence

Children who live in homes where there is Domestic Violence are referred to as “child witnesses” or “children who are witnessing” domestic violence. Children’s exposure to domestic violence typically falls into three primary categories:

• hearing a violent event, being directly involved as an eyewitness, intervening

• being used as a part of a violent event (e.g. being used as a shield against   abusive actions)

• experience the aftermath of a violent event

2.2   Understanding and Reducing the Risk

The Church has a mandate to minister to individuals, families, adults, youth and children. In that context, the Church stresses the sanctity of human life and the importance and worth of each individual as a child of God. The disturbing and traumatic rise of physical and sexual abuse of children has claimed the attention of our nation and society. Unfortunately, Church’s that have children’s programs are not insulated from this alarming trend. In response to this trend, it is our commitment to provide reasonable protective care to all preschoolers, children and youth attending any programs sponsored by the Church. We feel compelled to establish guidelines for the prevention of child abuse. We recognize that formal guidelines and procedures will help prevent the opportunity for abuse to arise. We believe that childhood innocence is a gift given by God. Children readily place their faith in adults who care for them. It is our task as a Church to safeguard that trust. Incidents of molestation can occur in any Church. Churches have traditionally accepted the services of anyone expressing an interest in working with children or youth. Churches can be trusting and unsuspecting institutions. Church leaders can see asking sensitive questions of those who are giving their time and talent as distasteful.  No one wants to offend potential workers, especially long time Church members with a history of good service. These qualities can make a Church susceptible to incidents of child molestation. A single incident of child molestation can devastate a Church and divide the congregation. Members become outraged and bewildered. Parents question whether their own children have been victimized. The Church’s children and youth programs are jeopardized. Church leaders face blame for allowing the incident to happen. Such incidents often result in massive media attention, sometimes on a national scale. Television stations conduct live interviews from Church property on the evening news. Front-page stories hit the local paper. Community residents begin to associate the Church with the incident of molestation. But far more tragic is the emotional trauma to the victim and the victim’s family, and the enormous potential legal liability the Church faces. If a trial ensues, the issue stays alive in the media for months, sometimes even years.

2.3   Symptoms of Abuse and Molestation

Ministry Persons should be alert to the physical signs of abuse and molestation, as well as to behavioural and verbal signs that a victim may exhibit. A one-time  event would not necessarily constitute a potential abuse case; sudden unexplained changes, however, would warrant investigation. Some of the more common signs are summarized below:

• Physical signs may include lacerations/bruises, nightmares, irritation, pain/injury to the genital area, difficulty with urination, discomfort when sitting, torn/bloody underclothing or venereal disease.

• Behavioural signs may include anxiety when approaching Church or Nursery area, nervous/hostile behaviour toward adults, sexual self-consciousness or “acting out” sexual behaviour withdrawal from Church activities and friends.

• Verbal signs may include “I don’t like” (particular person) or (particular person) “does things to me when we’re alone” or “I don’t like to be alone with” (particular person) or (particular person) “fooled around with me”.

2.4   The Effects of Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse robs children of their childhood and can potentially scar the young victims for life. Too often in the past, the effects of abuse were minimized or dismissed. Children were viewed as being resilient. Recent research has shown that children can suffer significant pain from even a single abusive incident.  Church members must be aware of the pain and long term suffering that can accompany such abuse. Abused children can display a wide range of negative symptoms in the aftermath of abuse. Abuse can result in abnormal fears, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), aggressive behaviour, sexual “acting out”, depression, diffused sexual identity, and poor self-esteem. The incidence of sexually transmitted disease is also a possible outcome. The degree of damage depends upon several factors including the intensity, duration and frequency of the abuse. In addition, the relationship of the perpetrator to the child matters. If the abuser is a known and trusted authority figure in the child’s life, the degree of impact increases dramatically. Consequences of child sexual abuse can plague victims into adulthood. Outcome studies of adult survivors of child sexual abuse suggest the following effects: sexual dysfunction, eating disorders, substance abuse, promiscuity, disassociation from emotions, and possible perpetration of sexual abuse on others. When Church leaders, Pastors, and respected congregational workers perpetrate the abuse, lifelong religious confusion and deep feelings of enmity toward God and the Church can occur.

2.5   The Profile of a Child Molester

Who is the typical child molester?  Some Church leaders assume that molesters are “strangers wearing trench coats” or “dirty old men.”  These stereotypes not only are inaccurate, but they dangerously contribute to a false sense of security.  Researchers in the field of child sexual abuse currently indicate that no one profile fits the various perpetrators of abuse. Church leaders can become preoccupied screening stereotypes, while not suspecting the real molester could be an active adult or teen in the Church.  


3.1   Why Churches are Susceptible

Churches have unique features that can make them susceptible to incidents of child molestation. This risk increases dramatically for overnight activities. Child molesters are attracted to an institution in which they have immediate access to potential victims in an atmosphere of complete trust. Most Church’s struggle to get adequate help for children and youth programs. Recruiting Nursery workers, for example, can become an unending effort. Turnover among volunteer workers is also high. A willing volunteer worker provides welcome relief. Churches need to understand the extent of their liability. Churches are not “guarantors” of the safety and well being of children. They are not absolutely liable for every injury that occurs on their premises or in the course of their activities.  Generally, they are responsible only for those injuries that result from their negligence. Victims of molestation who have sued a Church often allege that the Church was negligent in not adequately screening applicants or for not providing adequate supervision.

3.2   The Civil and Legal Liability of the Church

Increasingly and often more dramatically, the Church and its personnel (i.e. staff, directors, officers and ministers) are being held accountable for the acts of individual abusers within the Church even though neither the Church, nor its leaders were aware of the abuse or condoned it. Churches are being sued in Civil Courts for damages sustained by victims and their families. Those victims and their families are attempting to hold Church’s accountable by alleging that:

• the Church is vicariously liable for the acts of its personnel, be they paid staff or   volunteer staff, regardless of whether the Church was itself negligent or even knew of the abuse.

• the Church was negligent in its hiring or accepting personnel, whether paid or volunteers.

• the Church was negligent in the supervising or monitoring of its personnel or membership.


4.1 Screening Committee

A Screening Committee will comprise of a minimum of three (3) persons, with at least one serving on the Church Board and one serving in children and/or youth ministry. The Church Board will approve the Screening Committee personnel. This committee is to be responsible for screening all Ministry Persons recruited to work with children and youth and to include:

  1. Coordinating annual policy awareness and training sessions.
  2. Conducting interviews, reference checks and having the associated paperwork completed for all Ministry Persons working with children and youth.


    1. Ministry Person Application Form (Appendix A).
    2. Ministry Person Reference Check Form (Appendix B).
    3. Ministry Person Interview Form (Appendix C).
    4. Initial Clearance Checklist (Appendix D).
    5. Letter (with Church letterhead) requesting potential Ministry Person to have a Criminal Record Check completed (Appendix H).
    6. Soliciting Criminal Record Check searches.” Vulnerable Sector Check/Criminal Information Request” forms available from Police Authority. Original copy of completed record form from the Police Authority to be submitted to Screening Committee.
  1. Maintaining a master list of individuals (Ministry Persons) accepted for children/youth ministry (Appendix J)
  2. Ensuring completed Ministry Person Application Form (Appendix A), records of training undertaken by those working with children and youth, and related documents are stored securely and permanently in a central registry file. 
  3. Maintaining the confidentiality of Ministry Person records.
  4. Handling incidents of abuse as they are reported, including communications with the police and media.

4.2 Qualification for Ministry 

Individuals wanting to work with children or youth ideally should be members of the Church or have regularly attended the Church for at least six (6) months. An exception to this would be special short-term events (such as Day Camp; Vacation Bible School) where Ministry Persons may be required to run and/or assist in running the program(s). Screening of the Ministry Persons (including obtaining police checks, obtaining references, interviews), are essential prior to any involvement with children/youth. Individuals who have been accused, convicted of, or are under the suspicion of crimes against children/youth, or who have been convicted of violent crimes or other relevant crimes will not have any involvement in ministries or programs where children/youth participate.

4.3 Screening Workers Already Serving

Those who are serving in our children/youth ministry prior to May 21, 2015 and who have served in children/youth ministry at Fair Havens Community Church in the past for a minimum of one (ministry) year will not be routinely interviewed or references checked. A Ministry Person Application must be on file for every worker.


5.1 Recruitment of Ministry Persons

  1. To protect children/youth in our care and to be protected from liability, the Church must take reasonable action in screening and supervising the Ministry Person involved in any children/youth work. (A court can find the Church legally liable if it is less than systematic and therefore negligent in screening volunteers). By having everyone fill out a Ministry Person Application Form (Appendix A) and keeping it on file, the Church greatly reduces the potential for child abuse and the resultant liability. Our staffing and child protection policy and guidelines also serve to protect workers from accusation.
  2. Ministry Coordinator should submit names of potential recruits to the Screening Committee.
  3. The Ministry Person Application Form (Appendix A) should be completed and submitted by the pending Ministry Person before interim approval is considered as it is critical in protecting the Church from legal action if a case of child abuse occurs in which a Ministry Person is involved. 
  4. The Ministry Coordinator should ensure the pending Ministry Person has received interim approval from the Screening Committee prior to scheduling the individual to serve.
  5. Each ministry should keep a list of Ministry Persons approved to serve in their ministry.

5.2 Reference Check

Three (3) personal references are requested for each prospective Ministry Person. The Ministry Person Reference Check Form (Appendix B) should be completed. Do not use relatives or employers as references (minors may use parents as one (1) reference, or teachers).  Other suggested references could be:

  • Former Pastor
  • Other individuals who have served with the individual in children/youth work and who have sufficient strength of relationship to comment on the individual’s personal habits and character
  • Try to include one reference from inside the Church

At least two (2) of these references will be contacted and asked to affirm the appointment of the prospective Ministry Person. The person making the contact will use a suggested ‘script’, and the name of this individual, the date, and a summary of the reference’s comments will all be recorded. 

5.3 Interview

An interview provides the Screening Committee with the opportunity to review the important items from the application form in a personal setting. This allows them to ask follow-up questions and to enhance their knowledge of the applicant. The interview will also allow the prospective Ministry Person the opportunity of asking questions about various children’s ministries and the reasons behind our child protection procedures.  A minimum of one Screening Committee member and the Ministry Coordinator will conduct the interview. 

5.4 Criminal Record Check

  1. Each approved Ministry Person will be provided with a signed letter (Appendix H) requesting volunteer to have a Criminal Record Check completed.
  2. The approved Ministry Person will then be responsible for completing “Vulnerable   Sector Check/Criminal Information Request” form available from Police Authority. Original copy of completed record form from the Police Authority to be submitted to the Screening Committee. It is preferable to keep originals on file, however, if the prospective Ministry Person provides a photocopy of the Criminal Record Check, the Screening Committee can view the original to verify that the photocopy is a true copy of the original. The photocopy is to be signed and dated by the Screening Committee. 
  3. Any individual who will not submit to this procedure will be ineligible to be    involved with children/youth on behalf of the Church. 
  4. Criminal Record Check for a Ministry Person is required minimally every two (2) years.
  5. The Screening Committee will notify the Ministry Person when an update is   required.
  6. If the Ministry Person has no criminal record of any sort, he/she may be considered for ongoing ministry in the Church. If there is a criminal record or information that raises some concern, a member of the Screening Committee and Ministry Coordinator will meet to discuss the matter.
  7. If the offence is other than child or sexual abuse, the Ministry Person may proceed with ministry in the Church provided both the member of the Screening Committee and the Ministry Coordinator involved agree. The following are criteria to consider when evaluating the information:
    1. The number and type of convictions and the age and circumstances of the offender at the time of the offence.
    2. The length of time between past criminal activity and the present.
    3. The conduct and circumstances of the individual since the offence.
    4. The likelihood of the individual repeating the offence.
  8. If the offence is related to abuse of minors or of a sexual nature, the candidate may not be involved in ministry with minors on behalf of Fair Havens Community Church.

5.5 Records

All screening records, including the initial Criminal Record Check, will be sealed in   an envelope on completion of the screening process and placed in the individual’s confidential screening file.  

Information pertinent to the supervision or involvement with age groups other than that initially screened for should be recorded on a separate file memo and made privy only to those with a need to know (i.e. Screening Committee, Ministry Coordinator, or other appropriate senior staff - Pastor).

Screening records will be maintained in a locked cupboard or cabinet at the Church.  

Two (2) people should be present each time a record is accessed. A file access log must be completed.  Screening files are to be kept permanently.

5.6 Training

All children/youth Ministry Persons will be equipped with training regarding child safety and child abuse prevention. Each Ministry Person must sign a record indicating they have been trained or have read through “Reduce the Risk” Policy (If training has not been scheduled). That record will be kept in the Ministry Persons file. 

All Ministry Persons involved in ongoing children/youth ministry are required to attend training sessions annually.

Attendance and date must be taken at training courses/meetings and be kept in each Ministry Persons file permanently.                                                                                               ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What kinds of criminal convictions disqualify a person from serving in Children/Youth Ministries at Fair Havens Community Church?

A criminal conviction for a sexual offence involving a minor would certainly disqualify an applicant. In the case of paedophilic behaviour (molestation of a pre-adolescent child) such a conviction should disqualify an individual no matter how long ago it occurred. Other automatic disqualifiers would include incest, rape, assaults involving minors, murder, kidnapping, child pornography, sodomy, and the physical abuse of a minor.  

Some crimes would not be automatic disqualifiers, because they would not necessarily suggest a risk of child abuse or molestation.  Some property offences would not be included in this list, particularly if the offence occurred long ago and the individual has a long history of impeccable behaviour.

Should religious conversion make a difference for a worker who has been guilty of child molestation in the past?

Occasionally, such persons freely admit to a prior incident, but insist that they have since had a conversion experience and that they now present no risk whatever. The safest course would be to encourage such an individual to work in the Church, but in a position not involving access to children or youth.  This is a reasonable accommodation of the individual’s desire to serve in the Church. Any Church that permits such an individual to work with children or youth, on the basis of the professed religious conversion, will have a virtually indefensible position should another incident of molestation occur. A defence, that the molester claimed to have been converted, would likely be viewed with derision by a civil court. Putting a known child molester in a position involving access to children is taking a huge risk.



6.1 Nursery/Toddler

  1. All Ministry Persons serving in the Nursery and Toddler rooms must wear name badges or wear approved clothing that identifies them with the ministry program.
  2. Programs for Nursery and Toddler aged children must use the sign-in/out sheet (Appendix K and Appendix L) and maintain an accurate sign-in procedure including child’s name, parent’s (or alternate’s) name and location in church during that period of time and any special needs. The Nursery and Toddler rooms are clearly identified and have split entry doors.
  3. Parents of Nursery-aged children will be provided with a Tag # at the time the child is brought to the Nursery. Tag # will be identified on sign-in sheet.
  4. A child will be released to a parent or approved alternate only on the basis of personal identification, a signature, or in the case of a Nursery child the bearer of the Tag. #.
  5. Children are never to be dropped off in the Nursery or Toddler rooms without a Ministry Person present.
  6. Doors are to be supervised so that children are not able to exit alone and/or a parent cannot take them from the room without Ministry Person awareness.
  7. Parents are not to enter the Nursery or Toddler rooms when picking up their child unless requested to do so. This better enables the Ministry Person to maintain order and provide the level of security that parents would expect.
  8. The sign-in/out sheets (Appendix K and Appendix L) must be dated and include the names of all Ministry Persons in each room. 

6.2 Staffing and Supervision Guidelines

Programs that involve children must always include adequate number of Ministry Persons. Ministry Persons should also be maintained before and after the event until all children are in the custody of their parents or legal guardians. 

6.2.1 Sign in/out Sheets

  • Appendix K is to be used for Nursery sign-in/out.
  • Appendix L is to be used for Toddler sign-in/out.
  • Appendix M is to be used for AWANA child sign-in/out.
  • Appendix N is to be used for AWANA Ministry Person sign-in.
  • Appendix O is to be used for Day Camp sign-in/ out.
  • Appendix O is to be used for Vacation Bible School sign-in/out.

6.2.2 Ratios/Age Expectations

  1. As a general rule there is to be a minimum of two (2) Ministry Persons (who are not from the same family) in any room with Nursery, Toddler and Elementary children, except in the event of an emergency situation. This rule reduces the risk of child molestation, and also reduces the risk of false accusations of molestation by individuals. 
  2. In addition to 1) above there will be: 
    1. One Ministry Person for every 3 infants in Nursery.
    2. One Ministry Person for every 4-5 toddlers in Toddler Room.
    3. One Ministry Person for every 7-10 Elementary age children (Junior Kindergarten to Grade 5)
  3. All Preschool rooms are to be staffed with at least one (1) female Ministry Person to better facilitate observance of the washroom guidelines.
  4. Children, Grade 9 and up, who have been cleared by the Screening Committee, may serve as a second Ministry Person in the Nursery, up to a maximum of six (6) children.  If there are more than six (6) children, additional Ministry Persons must be brought in. Non-walking infants should not be accepted into the Nursery unless sufficient Ministry Persons are available to have a 1:2 ratio.

6.2.3 Parental Permission

Church staff or Ministry Persons must obtain the consent of the child’s parent or guardian before spending one-on-one time with that child. Ministry Persons must also notify an appropriate Church Leader of such meetings in advance and the meeting should occur in a public place with parents dropping the child off and picking the child up.

Children must also have parental permission for involvement in Church      sponsored field trips or overnight events.

6.2.4 Unobstructed Windows  

Classroom windows are to remain unobstructed at all times to allow Ministry Coordinators to look in occasionally without interrupting the teaching process and to provide for Ministry Person security when there is only one Ministry Person in the classroom.

6.2.5   Supervisory Staff  

The Ministry Coordinator should make regular visits to the classroom to make sure the class is properly staffed and supervised.

6.2.6   Family Protection

Family Ministry Person teams work well together and should be encouraged as a method of staffing. However, for the protection of this family unit, family related Ministry Persons can only serve together if there is an additional Ministry Person present.

6.3   Proper Display of Affection

Touch is an essential responsibility in nurturing lives.  Ministry Persons need to be aware of, and sensitive to, differences in sexual development, cultural differences, family backgrounds, individual personalities, and special needs.  Physical contact with children should be age and developmentally appropriate. The following guidelines are recommended as pure, genuine and positive displays of God’s love:

6.3.1 Appropriate Touch

Love and caring can be expressed in the following appropriate ways, by:

  • Bending down to the child’s eye level and speaking kindly; listening to him/her carefully.
  • Taking a child’s hand and leading him/her to an activity.
  • Putting an arm around the shoulder of a child who needs quieting or comforting.
  • Taking both of the child’s hands as you say, “You did such a good job!” or “I’m so glad to see you; we’ve missed you!” etc.
  • Patting a child on the head, hand, and shoulder or back to affirm him/her.
  • Holding a child by the shoulders or hand to keep his/her attention while you redirect the child’s behaviour.
  • Gently holding a child’s chin to help him/her focus on what you are saying (important for children with attention deficit disorder).
  • Holding a preschool child who is crying.

6.3.2 Inappropriate Touch

You must avoid:

  • Kissing a child, coaxing a child to kiss you, extended hugging and tickling.
  • Touching a child in any area that would be covered by a bathing suit (except when assisting a child with toileting).
  • Carrying older children or having them sit on your lap.
  • Being alone with a child.
  • Prolonged physical contact.
  • Opposite sex piggyback rides.
  • Seductiveness or suggestive contact.
  • Any physical contact of any kind that is done for the pleasure or satisfaction of care-providers.
  • Any touching used to express power or control over a child.

6.4 Discipline and Classroom Management

God’s definition of discipline is outlined in Hebrews 12:7-11. Discipline is not    something you do to a child; it is something you do for a child. The word discipline does not mean punishment; it comes from the root word “disciple”, which means, “training that moulds character, behaviour and values”. Rather than seeking to merely maintain control or keep children quiet, our goal in managing children’s behaviour should be to shape their character in such a way that they will become disciples.

6.4.1 General Guidelines

  1. Every Ministry Person with children or youth should have clearly defined   rules and discipline procedure. Children may help establish some rules; teenagers should be involved in setting rules for their classes.
  2. Children and parents should be made aware of established rules and discipline procedures.
  3. Ongoing problems in discipline are to be brought to the attention of the Ministry Coordinator.
  4. All classrooms have doors with windows, allowing for easy viewing from hallway. Sight lines through these windows are to remain unobstructed at all times.
  5. Ministry Persons are to avoid one-on-one situations with children, except in parentally pre-approved counselling situations where the Ministry Person has a legitimate reason to be alone with a child. In a counselling situation, a second Ministry Person should be in the immediate area with the door open to the counselling room.

6.4.2 Preventative Discipline

  1. Create a loving, caring atmosphere.
  2. Arrange your environment for children and for learning.
  3. To gain respect you must grant respect.
  4. Establish and communicate realistic expectations for the children.
  5. Be sure the activities that you provide are meaningful and age-appropriate.
  6. Be fair and consistent with all children.
  7. Be sure your focus is on positive actions.
  8. Be aware of children with special needs.


6.4.3 Remedial Discipline

  1. Try to deal with the problems individually.
  2. Explain to the child why the behaviour is unacceptable.
  3. Redirect the child to positive action.
  4. Explain the consequences of unacceptable behaviour by defining the correct way to behave as well as the result of the wrong behaviour.
  5. Offer choices that are acceptable to both you and the child.

6.4.4 Classroom Rule Suggestions

  1. One voice talking at a time.
  2. Quiet hands get answered.
  3. Use “indoor” voices.
  4. Obey directions the first time.
  5. Use good manners.
  6. Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
  7. Respect each other.
  8. Be friendly.
  9. Visit the washroom before class begins.

6.4.5 Appropriate Discipline

Some examples of appropriate discipline within the ministry setting are:

  1. Praising the specific behaviours you want to see in your group (i.e. good listening, “thank you for waiting”).
  2. A firm gentle voice addressing and redirecting the behaviour (e.g. “you are running; walk please”).
  3. Confidential parental discussion when necessary.
  4. Age appropriate “time outs” or withdrawal from activity.

6.4.6 Inappropriate Discipline

Some examples of inappropriate discipline within a ministry setting are:

  1. Corporal punishment of any kind.
  2. Any words or tone that would cause a child to think he/she is the “problem” rather than a specific behaviour being addressed (e.g. screaming at a child).
  3. Any words that could cause feelings of condemnation or shame in a child about any aspect of their person—including derisive references to anything physical, emotional, mental, or position (or station) in life, such as saying, “are you a strong boy? Strong boys don’t cry” or “shame on you.”

6.4.7 Sunday School Discipline Procedure 

Sunday School discipline (written from child’s perspective) - suitable for posting.

  1. If I forget and break the rules “My teacher will remind me ONCE”. 
  2. If I don’t listen “I will have a time-out to think about what I have done and how I will make it right (e.g. telling the person I hurt, I am sorry and not doing it again)”.

6.5   Washroom Guidelines

Parents are to be encouraged to take their children to visit the washroom prior to each class or service.  This recommendation is to be communicated to parents at the beginning of each new school year, and throughout the year to newcomers.

6.5.1 Nursery Children

As a general rule, parents will be called in to change diapers. Ministry Persons will not be expected to change diapers.  However in the event that this becomes necessary the following rules will apply:

  1. Diaper changing must always take place in such a way that another Ministry Person can easily see the child that is being changed, as well as the other children and Ministry Persons in the room.  
  2. Children under the age of 14 who are assisting in the Nursery should not change diapers.

6.5.2 Toddler Children

  1. Toddlers are not to go to the washroom alone.
  2. For toddlers, two (2) Ministry Persons will escort a group of children to the washroom. Where we do not have two Ministry Persons available to take children to the washroom, hallway or safety monitors (preferably female) will be appointed to assist with washroom and monitoring duties.
  3. If just one child must go to the washroom, the Ministry Person should escort the child to the washroom and prop the washroom entrance door open. The Ministry Person should then remain outside the washroom entrance door and wait for the child before escorting him/her back to the classroom. The Ministry Person should call the child’s name if he/she is taking longer than seems necessary.
  4. Never be alone with a child in an unsupervised washroom and never go into a washroom cubicle with a child and shut the door.
  5. When toddlers need assistance in the washroom, a Ministry Person may enter the washroom cubicle to assist only when a second Ministry Person is within visual contact. If this is not possible, inform another Ministry Person when taking a child to the washroom and when returning.
  6. In light of the fact that most abusers are male, and for the protection of our male workers, it would be wise for males to avoid assisting boys or girls of any age in the washrooms. We suggest that only female Ministry Persons assist children in the washrooms.

6.5.3 Kindergarten Age and Up 

  1. If washrooms are isolated from the area(s) of activity, children under 7 years should not be sent to the washroom alone and procedure 6.5.2 for toddlers utilized. 
  2. If an older child seems to be gone longer than necessary, a Ministry Person   should check on him/her following the procedure outlined in 6.5.2.
  3. The washroom entrance door should be propped open.

6.6 Facility

6.6.1 Cleanliness    

  1. Sanitize the childcare areas weekly.  
  2. Regularly clean all surfaces, toys, tables, trays, bedding, bibs and doors.  
  3. Clean toys used by children (with colds) with special solution provided by your Ministry Coordinator.    
  4. Area carpets in Nursery and pre-school classrooms will be cleaned quarterly or as required.

6.6.2 Nursery Facilities

  1. Nursery change tables should be in full view.
  2. Nursery doors should be secured from the inside to prevent anyone from entering unnoticed. 
  3. There should be no baseboard heaters.
  4. Electrical outlets must be covered or out of reach of children.
  5. Cribs and toys must meet safety standards.
  6. Washroom facility in the Nursery is for the sole use of the Nursery children.

6.7   Field Trips, Overnight Events and Transportation

  1. Special precautions need to be taken with these activities and Ministry Persons should consider how they can achieve the desired benefit to the children while ensuring both the children and themselves are not at risk.   
  2. Activities conducted away from the Church are to be pre-approved by the Church Board member (responsible for Education) and the Ministry Coordinator, to ensure that potential risks have been addressed.
  3. Parents are to be notified of pending outing and proper written consent/medical release form (Appendix E) will be required for each child participating in the event.
  4. Each Ministry Person should have an assigned group of children for whom he/she will be responsible for while in the community and/or during an overnight event. All events must be supervised by a minimum of two (2) Ministry Persons.
  5. A 1:8 ideal, or 1:10 maximum, Ministry Person to child ratio should be maintained while in the community. A 1:5 ratio is required for overnight events.
  6. Special attention should be given to ensure that the group stays together and no Ministry Person or child is in an unsupervised one-on-one situation.
  7. Transportation to and from programs should normally be provided by the parent(s). In the event that a Church worker must provide transportation for a child, one-on-one child to adult ratios are to be avoided. 
  8. All drivers transporting the children must be at least 18 years of age, have a valid driver’s license and current automobile insurance.
  9. The number of persons per transporting vehicle must never exceed the number of seat belts in the vehicle.

6.8   Suspicious Behaviour

Some conduct just deserves counsel and advice from a supervisor while other conduct requires reporting. See Incident Reporting Procedures (Section 9) should a legitimateallegation occurs.

  • Any inappropriate conduct or relationships between Ministry Persons and a child must be confronted immediately and investigated.
  • Ministry Persons should note when a child appears aloof or withdrawn, or exhibits a marked personality change.  This may indicate a problem that deserves attention. See Symptoms of Abuse and Molestation (Section 2.3) in this document.


7.1 Youth Ministry Person Standards

7.1.1 Lifestyle

For the protection of our youth, Ministry Persons are to be committed to growing in every area of their lives through engaging in various practices and experience that keep them connected to God and becoming more like Christ. 

Ministry Persons are to be role models of integrity at all times. They are to refrain from activities that are illegal or could be considered morally and biblically questionable.

7.1.2 Contacting Opportunities

  1. Ministry Persons are encouraged to meet with youth in small group settings and in teams.
  2. The Ministry Coordinator must pre-approve the conducting of any one-on-one mentoring with information being documented and filed.
  3. One-on-one mentoring must be in public settings and only under the following conditions:
    1. The Ministry Coordinator is informed of the time and place of the meeting prior to the meeting.
    2. Parental permission is granted.
    3. When separate transportation is arranged.

7.1.3 Open Door Policy

Ministry Persons working with youth must not have one-on-one or small group meetings behind closed doors. It is required that the door remains open or that the meeting takes place in a room with an unobstructed window in the door.

7.1.4 Physical Contact

  1. Ministry Persons must be aware of what constitutes appropriate touch, such as:
    1. One arm hug
    2. Shoulder to shoulder hugs.
    3. Touch on the back of shoulder.
  2. Ministry Persons must refrain from inappropriate touch at all times, such as: 
    1. Chest to chest hugging.
    2. Extended hugging.
    3. Over exuberant affection. 
    4. Lap sitting. 
    5. Kissing.
    6. Touching of thighs, knees, back rubs or inappropriate spots on the body.
  3. Ministry Persons must be cognizant of conduct that could be misinterpreted, such as:
    1. Horseplay.
    2. Tickling.

7.1.5 Dating

Ministry Persons working with youth may not pursue dating relationships with a youth.

7.2   Youth Ministry Programming

7.2.1 Ministry Person/Youth Ratio

Programs for youth must comply with established staffing ratios as follows:

  1. Grade 6 to 8 – one (1) Ministry Person for every seven (7) youth.
  2. Grade 9 to 12 – one (1) Ministry Person for every seven (7) youth.
  3. Overnight and off-site events – one (1) Ministry Person for every seven (7) youth.

Both male and female Ministry Persons must supervise events with mixed genders.

It is recommended that there be at least a 5-year age difference between Ministry Person and youth.

7.2.2 Supervision of Ministry Persons

The supervision of Ministry Persons will be intentional and will take place through formal and informal visits to rooms and programs by Ministry Coordinator.

7.2.3 Youth Ministry Authorization and Consent

At the beginning of every ministry year, all youth are to submit completed Consent and Medical Release Form (Appendix E), signed by their parent. A statement will be included on the form, which stipulates the purpose and extent for collecting personnel information of youth.

Completed forms are to be copied and taken on all off-site events in case of emergency medical assistance and the parent(s) cannot be notified. Original forms are to be filed and kept permanently in a secure location.

The Youth Ministry Authorization and Consent Form will not replace specific consent and authorization form for activities that involve an elevated level of risk or for overnight trips. It is the responsibility of the Ministry Coordinator and his/her team to ensure that the required forms are completed and submitted for all participants. Reasonable effort is to be made to keep registration information updated and current.

7.2.4 Planning for Safety

All Ministry Persons must ensure a safe environment in their planning and   evaluating of all activities.

Ministry Persons are to avoid any activities that could easily lead to allegations of abuse or harassment, such as private photography of an individual youth. This must be done in full view of other people. This also applies to unsupervised internet access and vehicle transportation by Ministry Person alone with unrelated youth. 

Youth Ministry Persons are to avoid the youth playing risky games.

Make every effort possible to have two (2) Ministry Persons present when interacting with one or more youth. In the event that this is not possible, or when sensitive counselling needs to happen, this must be held where there is a clear line of vision through a window in the door. There must be others around.

7.2.5 Billeting and Hosting

For the protection of our youth, it is required that all adults residing in the home where billets are staying must complete the following screening process prior to hosting:

  1. Recommendation from a Pastor.
  2. Police checked.
  3. Information guidelines are to be distributed to the host home no less than one (1) week in advance of the youth arriving at their home.
  4. Any allergies and medications for youth should be communicated to the host prior to arrival, with clear directions on how to manage allergies and/or medication.
  5. Youth must always be billeted in teams or small groups of the same gender.
  6. Youth should have distinctly separate sleeping arrangements from the other household members and should not be left alone.
  7. Curfew at 11:00 pm should be enforced when youth are being billeted.
  8. All youth staying in host homes should be informed of proper etiquette and curfew guidelines.

7.3   Off-Site Activities/Overnight Events/Transportation

7.3.1 Off-Site Activities

  1. Proper written Consent and Medical Release forms (Appendix E) are required for each youth participating in off-site events. Forms must be kept in the Ministry Coordinators possession during off-site activities with a copy of the completed forms filed in the Church. The originals are to be kept on file permanently.
  2. All off-site activities are to be supervised by a minimum of two (2) Ministry Persons.  

7.3.2 Overnight Events (conferences, camps, retreats, trips, hotels)

  1. Proper written Consent and Medical Release forms (Appendix E) are required for each youth participating in overnight events. Forms must be kept in the Ministry Coordinators possession during these events with a copy of the completed forms filed in the Church. The originals are to be kept on file permanently.
  2. All overnight events with mixed genders must be supervised by at least two (2) Ministry Persons of opposite gender. There must be a minimum ratio of two (2) for every seven (7) youth. Ministry Persons are to be assigned a specific group of youth for whom they are responsible to supervise. Female Ministry Persons will be assigned responsibility for female youth and male Ministry Persons will be assigned responsibility for male youth.
  3. Youth attending overnight events will not be allowed to leave the event. Any exceptions must have explicit consent by the parent/guardian.
  4. Female and male youth are not allowed in each other’s rooms/tents for any reason during the event and they are not permitted to sleep in mixed company.
  5. If additional supervisory individuals who are not screened travel with the youth, they need to have separate sleeping arrangements.
  6. Ministry Persons are never to be alone in a room/tent with a single youth.
  7. Youth should not be left alone in a hotel.
  8. Ministry Persons are not to share a bed with youth.
  9. Curfew for youth is to be established and enforced.

7.3.3 Shower and Locker Guidelines

  1. Two (2) screened Ministry Persons must be present in the dressing or locker room with youth while they are showering or changing. Ministry Persons must not be alone with youth in this setting.
  2. Ministry Persons are not permitted to shower or change at the same time as youth.
  3. Separate facilities should be designated for both genders but if not available, they should have separate times for each gender arranged.
  4. The use of photographic or video recording devices (including cell phones) is prohibited in the dressing or locker room.

7.3.4 Transportation

When planning off-site events. Parents are encouraged to drop off and pick up their youth at the event location. For out of town events, it is preferred that priority will be given to making use of a commercial carrier.

Our first concern in transportation is the safety of our youth. Drivers must obey all the rules of the road including speed limits. Reckless or unsafe driving will not be tolerated.

All Ministry Persons transporting youth during Church activities must complete the following prior to the event:

    1. Be approved by the Ministry Coordinator.
    2. Provide a copy of their valid driver’s licence.
    3. Provide a copy of their current vehicle insurance policy.
    4. Have a minimum of five (5) years driving experience.

The number of occupants in vehicles transporting youth must not exceed the number of seat belts. Seat belts must be worn by everyone and remain fastened at all times the vehicle is in motion.

A minimum of two (2) Ministry Persons OR one (1) Ministry Person plus two (2) other minors must be in the vehicle at all times.

Youth must never be left alone in the vehicle.

7.4 Dealing with Injuries

In the case of an injury at a Youth event, the following steps must be followed:

  1. The Youth must not be moved, unless they are in a dangerous location or can stand up and walk on their own. If they can stand up and walk on their own, they can be lead out of the activity area. 
  2. One (1) or two (2) Ministry Persons must remain with the injured Youth for assistance, comfort and to confirm information for the Accident Report.
  3. If the injury is judged to be severe and time is of the essence:
    1. Immediately call 911 and request an ambulance.
    2. Call the injured Youth’s Parent/Guardian and make them aware of the situation.
    3. If the decision is made to transport the injured Youth to the hospital, the Ministry Person should accompany the injured Youth to the hospital. 
  4. When the Parent/Guardian arrive at the hospital, the Ministry Person accompanying the injured Youth, should:
    1. Introduce himself/herself.
    2. Explain the situation and the injury, being careful not to admit fault on any part.
    3. Return to the Youth event unless there is a need to be at the hospital.
    4. Complete an Accident Report form (Appendix I).


8.1 Reporting and Training

Accident Report forms (Appendix I) must be completed for all cases of injury 

Ministry Persons are encouraged to become certified and trained in First Aid/CPR.

8.2 Illness 

A child who is ill and could therefore expose other children and Ministry Persons to illness should not be received into the Nursery. Some signs of illness are unusual fatigue or irritability, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and eyes, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, inflamed mouth and throat. Any child with a known communicable disease should not be received into the Nursery or a classroom.

8.3 Medications

  1. Ministry Persons are not to give or apply medications. Parents are to be contacted and should administer all medications.
  2. Medication is not to be left in a classroom. When a child brings medication, the medication is to be kept in the possession of the Ministry Coordinator or delegate.
  3. In cases where Epi-pens and/or puffers are needed for allergies or asthma, or other medications are necessary, written instructions are to be provided by the parent or guardian to the Ministry Coordinator authorizing Ministry Persons to give or apply noted medications. Requests should be written, signed, dated and filed permanently. In extreme and unexpected circumstances permission by text/email would be acceptable.

8.4 Procedures for Dealing with Cuts or Injuries Involving Blood

  1. Separate the injured child from the other children. 
  2. Isolate the area where any blood may have dropped on carpet, toys, etc.  
  3. Apply First Aid measures and send someone to locate the parents.
  4. If other children have had contact with any of the blood from the cut or injury, their parents should be informed.
  5. Put on latex gloves (available in the first-aid kit) and bandage the injury, avoiding contact with mouth, ears and eyes.
  6. Carefully wipe up all blood and bloody bandages and remove to a secure, inaccessible waste removal receptacle.
  7. Any blood on the floor or toys must be washed away using a solution of one part bleach to ten parts water.
  8. Remove and properly dispose of latex gloves. Wash carefully with sterilizing soap (available in the first-aid kit).

8.5 Emergencies

Procedures will be reviewed annually for fire/evacuation emergencies. These procedures are posted in each classroom/area and state the planned route of escape.  Weather permitting, a fire drill will be held each fall.

A First Aid box is located in the kitchen (above the fridge). Ministry Coordinator is to be notified when supplies are low so that they may be restocked. Contents are to be reviewed annually by the Screening Committee.

Parents will be contacted when an injury, accident or medical emergency occurs. Accident Report form (Appendix I) is to be completed for any and all accidents. Injuries are to be reported to Ministry Coordinator.  


9.1   Hearing of an Allegation or Suspicion of Abuse

For the protection of our children and youth, all allegations and/or suspicions of abuse against children and youth will be taken seriously.

The following policies outline the procedure and sequence for reporting suspected abuse cases:

  1. Immediately upon hearing of potential abuse or allegations of abuse to a child or youth, it should be reported immediately to the Ministry Coordinator.



In these matters it is important to keep the information restricted to those who need to be advised. Suspicions of abuse should therefore only be reported to the designated Ministry Coordinator. It becomes that person’s responsibility to contact the local Police Authorities, who are best equipped to handle such issues.

The only claim of confidentiality, which overrides the legal duty to report, is solicitor-client privilege. Thus Physicians, Pastors and others who consider their professional relationships confidential for certain purposes are not exempt from the duty to report child abuse or neglect.   


  1. The Ministry Coordinator will work with the informant to document the concern, noting all efforts at handling the incident on Suspected Child Abuse Report Form (Appendix F). This report will be forwarded to the chairman of the Screening Committee immediately (i.e. preferably within the hour).   
  2. The Ministry Coordinator and Screening Committee will assess the incident to determine if it requires reporting. A Suspected Child Abuse Follow-Up Report Form (Appendix G) will be completed.  Both this and the initial report will be required if the incident is reportable. Both are to be kept on the individual’s screening file. (Note: Some conduct just deserves counsel and advice from a supervisor while other conduct requires reporting. Err on the side of caution.)
  3. Where a Pastor is involved in the suspicious behaviour or allegation, the Church Board Chairman is to be immediately advised.

9.2   When a Legitimate Allegation Occurs    

  1. The Screening Committee Chairman (or designate) will communicate the incident immediately to those who need to be informed within the Church (i.e. the Pastor and Church Board Chairman).
  2. The Screening Committee Chairman (or designate) is also responsible to contact and report the incident to the local Police Authority office and the Church’s Insurance Broker and to contact the Church’s Lawyer - such an incident is not to be handled without outside professional assistance.  
  3. If the incident involves a Church worker, either paid or volunteer, a team of three members to include two Elders/Pastor and the person with “reasonable grounds” shall interview the person suspected of child abuse. Immediate suspension of duties shall result when a Church worker is suspected of child abuse and reasonable evidence exists as to his/her alleged involvement until a complete investigation and decision has been     made. The Church Board will make a decision to maintain or suspend his or her income until the allegations are cleared or substantiated. Do not attempt an in-depth investigation. This should be left to professionals who are familiar with these cases.

Do not prejudge the situation, but take the allegations seriously and reach out to the victim and the victim’s family. Showing care and support help to prevent further hurt. Extend whatever pastoral resources are needed.  Remember that the care and safety of the victim is the first priority. In some situations, Church’s have responded in a negative or non-supportive manner to the alleged victim. This can increase the anger and pain of the victim and the victim’s family. Future reconciliation will be more difficult. The possibility of damaging litigation increases. Treat the accused with dignity and support. 

9.3    Response to the Child

  1. When the child (or parent) first comes, be sure to take his/her word seriously. Do not deny the problem, but stay calm and listen to the child. 
  2. Give emotional support, reminding the child that he/she is not at fault. Tell the child that he/she was right in disclosing the problem.
  3. Do not promise the child that no one will be told.
  4. Ministry Persons should never interview the child in detail or suggest to the child that they have been abused.

9.4   The Child Welfare Report

The Chairman of the Screening Committee is required to immediately report to the local Police Services Authority any suspected case of child abuse. It is not a breach of confidence between Church personnel and the child involved. No person is personally liable for anything done or omitted in good faith in the exercise of this responsibility.  Church leaders, aware of their accountability to God, acknowledge their responsibility to defend and protect God’s little ones. It is also the desire of the Church to protect the parents as much as legally possible from undue interference by outside authorities into their family. We want to follow the principles of submitting to governing authorities (Romans 13:1) while at the same time helping parents to exercise child discipline that is consistent with Scripture, and in the best interest of the children.

9.5   Contents of the Report

  1. As part of a child protection investigation, social workers are required under the Child Welfare Act to assess:
    1. The child’s current state of health.
    2. Their sense of safety and their views of abuse.
    3. Previous abuse, neglect or harm.
    4. The ability of the parent(s) to care for and protect the child.
  2. The social worker will talk to people who have contact with the child and family. They may request records or other types of information.  They are entitled to whatever information is needed to complete an investigation. If denied access to a record, they can seek a court order.
  3. Within the Church, all requests for information regarding a child are to be referred to the Screening Committee Chairman.  The following process should be followed at all times to assure the health and safety of the child:
    1. Contact the local Police Services Authority office to report that an incident has occurred. A worker will then contact the Church.   
    2. Any request from a child protection social worker should be in person and the protection worker should carry and show photo ID.
    3. If the request is urgent, and the child protection social worker is unable to visit the facility and show photo ID, the protection social worker may telephone from his/her office.  The social worker is to identify himself/herself. He/she is to explain the information they are requesting and the process to be followed. They WILL NOT ask for information at this time. DO NOT give information at this time. Verify the social worker’s identification by calling the agency, checking with the telephone directory for the agency office number, etc. Once identification has been established, provide whatever information is requested. Ask to be kept informed of future developments in the case.
    4. If identification of the social worker cannot be confirmed, the caregiver is NOT to give out any information.  Request a personal meeting, and have the worker bring photo ID. Be extra careful with calls by cell phone and do not respond to calls from a pay phone.

Social workers designated to receive reports are trained to investigate and assess the need for intervention. Other professionals must not assume this function. A professional who does so and fails to report commits an offence. The Act protects an individual when a report is made. No action would be taken against a person making a report unless it is made maliciously or without grounds for the belief.

9.6   Church Follow-up and Discipline

  1. If it is found that child abuse by a member of the Church has taken place, the Church will practice discipline according to Matthew 18:15-17.
  2. The Church should protect parents as much as legally possible from undue interference by outside authorities into their family life.  
  3. The Church should ask the Police Services Authority if it could assist in helping the hurting family.
  4. The Church should maintain frequent communication and supportive relationships with those suspected or guilty of child abuse as long as these persons exhibit a willingness to listen, change and look to Christ for help. 
  5. This does not exclude the need for hurting individuals to receive professional counselling.

9.7 Public Relations

  1. The Chairman of the Screening Committee (or designate) should serve as the ONLY spokesperson for any allegation.
  2. Everyone involved in any part of the ministry of the Church should be made aware of who this person is, and make no comment but refer all inquiries to the Chairman of the Screening Committee. He will speak to the media and the congregation regarding the matter, if required, in a discreet, informed, truthful and diplomatic way.
  3. The following statement will be used and any further comments will be decided with legal counsel:

“It is always tragic when children are abused or exploited. Fair Havens Community Church is aware of the ever-growing nature of child abuse. We have taken careful precautions to protect the children entrusted to our care. We are distressed by any accusations of child abuse. We will do everything in our power to address any needs in this situation. For the welfare of those involved, all information has been directed to the appropriate agencies and authorities”

  1. A “No Comment” statement is not to be made. This is an opportunity to influence public opinion positively by emphasizing an awareness of the problem of child abuse, a concern for victims, and the extensive steps taken by the Church to reduce risk and provide a safe environment for children.  
  2. Often when confronted with an allegation of abuse, a Church may be tempted to:
    1. Deny that the incident occurred, despite clear evidence to the contrary.
    2. Acknowledge that the incident occurred, but minimize it (“It only happened once,” or “It wasn’t that serious.”).
    3. Blame the victim or the victim’s family.

    All these responses are inappropriate and are to be avoided.


   The topic of child abuse and our prevention policies will create a variety of reactions among congregational members.  Many will be in favour of the concept. Others will have questions and reservations. It is important for leadership to continually provide prospective Ministry Persons and vested interest groups the need for such a policy then give them opportunities for providing feedback. The Screening Committee should be available to answer concerns and provide specific answers about this particular aspect of the Church’s policies.

10.1 Presenting this Policy

  1. The following key points should be made:
    1. Child sexual abuse can happen in any Church.
    2. One incident can devastate a child, a family and the Church.
    3. The legal liabilities can be enormous.
    4. Church leaders may be held liable.
    5. Prevention program can reduce risk through relatively simple procedures.
  2. It is important to periodically inform the congregation of the key issues pertaining to child sexual abuse and why a decision was made to establish a prevention plan.  This will continue to nurture an emotional commitment within our membership to maintain a safe Church environment for all children and youth.
  3. The climate in these presentations should not be one of sober reflection but of hope.  You want the people to realize that the Fair Havens Community Church is taking action to minister to this need. The focus should be upon the great responsibility God has given to us to care for the children/youth in our care.  

10.2 Monitoring of Policy

  1. Ministry Coordinators should thoroughly review these policies and procedures as part of their pre-fall program planning.
  2. After the initial emphasis on the program wanes, Ministry Persons may begin to ignore basic policies.  For example, the Two-Adult Rule may become routinely neglected. Attention must be given to periodic monitoring that examines the following:
    1. Have all workers been trained regarding these policies?
    2. Are workers following the required policies and guidelines?
    3. What obstacles exist in complying with the policies?
    4. What is the level of cooperation?
    5. Do sufficient materials exist for training and information?
    6. Are the policies printed and available?
  3. Thoroughly discuss each policy and procedure with Ministry Coordinators.  Work through all concerns. If problems exist in the policies, they should be brought to the attention of the Screening Committee. Consider revisions, but changes must not sacrifice the integrity of the program. Work at developing a sense of unity before educating workers.  

10.3 Educate Workers

Routines must be established for the training of all new Ministry Persons who serve in the Church. 

Group training can occur at the start of each new program year.  

Individuals who begin at a later date should meet with a designated person to review the policies and procedures and to complete the screening form.

All Ministry Persons are required to read “Reduce the Risk” Policy.

10.4 Amendments to Policy

Reduce the Risk Policy will be updated as improvements develop in child/youth protection.

 The Church Board will approve any changes to the Reduce the Risk Policy.



In relation to a child, means physical, mental, emotional, or sexual mistreatment of a child.

Ministry Person

An individual aged 18 years or over approved for child/youth ministry.

Baseline Data

The basic information (name, address, parent’s and designated alternate’s name and emergency contact numbers) placed on file for each minor when he/she first enters a Church program and brought to the attention of those persons providing care or leadership for that individual.


Recognizing that the age of majority is 18 years, a child is any person between 0 and 18 years.  For the purpose of this policy or document the following terms apply:

Infant:  Individual from birth to two (2) years of age.

Child:  Individual over two (2) years and below fifteen (15) years.

Youth:  Individual over fifteen (15) years and under eighteen (18) years.


Refers to situations where a leader or volunteer has the potential of being alone with a child during a Church-offered program for children, including transportation within such a program, or between the child’s home and place of meeting.


In relation to a child, this means the natural mother or father or legal guardian who has custody of the child.

Program or Ministries for Minors

Includes all programs offered under the auspices of our Church for infants, children and youth.

Two-Adult Rule

This rule provides that two adults (Ministry Persons) will be present during any minors’ activity in order to increase the safety of each minor, and protect the credibility of our workers and our youth programs.

Visibility Rule

Means that, when a minor(s) is/are in a room, if there is no corridor window into that room, the door(s) or upper half of a split door will be kept completely open and all those in the room will be in a clearly visible location. All rooms used for children/youth ministry at Fair Havens Community Church are to have corridor windows.


Fair Havens Community Church


The role of a Monitor is to observe for any suspicious personnel entry/exit through the front or rear outside doors of the church building during the Sunday morning service. 

Reference: Ushers Guide Policy.



This form is to be completed by an applicant for any volunteer position within the Fair Havens Community Church involving the supervision or custody of minors or the developmentally disabled, and for any paid staff member, regardless of his/her job responsibilities.  It is being used to help Church leaders provide a secure environment for those children, youth and developmentally disabled persons who participate in our programs and use our facilities.



Name: ________________________________________________

Last                                    First Middle

Male ____   Female ____

Present Address: ___________________________________________________        

Home Phone:  (_______) ____________________

Email:  ____________________________

Social Insurance Number: ___________________OR 

Driver’s License ______________________

(Required if applicant is unknown to Church Leadership)

Date of Birth ______________________

Single _____     Married _____ Engaged _____ Separated ____ Divorced ____ Remarried _____ Widow/Widower _____

Spouse’s Name ______________

Occupation and/or Employer:  ____________________________________________________

Hobbies, Interest or Skills:  ______________________________________________________


How long have you attended Fair Havens Community Church?  ______

Are you a Member?   Yes _____ No _____

When did you accept Christ as your Saviour?  _____________


Have you completed any Christian Education Teacher Certificate courses?  If yes, give details:


List any courses or training you have taken that would particularly equip you for Christian Ministry:  


Churches I have attended in the last five years:

Name of Church:  ____________________________________

Phone:  ____________________

Address:  ___________________________________________________________

Dates Attended: ________________________

Member or Adherent ____________

Name of Church:  ____________________________________

Phone:  ____________________

Address:  ___________________________________________________________

Dates Attended: ________________________

Member or Adherent ____________


Name of Church: ____________________________________________________

Dates and Description of Ministry: ______________________________________ 

Pastor or Ministry Supervisor:  __________________________

Phone:  ___________

Name of Church: ____________________________________________________

Dates and Description of Ministry: ______________________________________ 

Pastor or Ministry Supervisor:  __________________________

Phone:  ___________

Name of Church: ____________________________________________________

Dates and Description of Ministry: ______________________________________ 

Pastor or Ministry Supervisor:  __________________________

Phone:  ___________


In order to provide a safe and secure environment for our children, we believe it is necessary to include the following questions as part of our application process.  All information will be kept strictly confidential. (Police may access this information under warrant, if requested.) Answering “yes” to any of the questions may not necessarily preclude your involvement in ministry.  A meeting will be arranged with a Pastor so that you may discuss the circumstances.  Thank you in advance for your understanding.

If any of the following circumstances apply to you, please check here 

Have been convicted of a criminal offence involving children? __________

Have you been convicted of a sexually related crime? __________

Have you been convicted of an abuse related crime? _________

Have you been hospitalized or treated for alcohol or substance abuse? _________

Have you any communicable disease? _________

Are you being treated for any form of mental illness? _______

Do you have any physical conditions that would prevent you from performing certain types of activities (lifting children, playing sports)?  If so, explain:





Please provide the names of three (3) individuals, excluding relatives, who could provide a reference for you.  If you are a minor, you may use the name of a parent and/or teacher. If possible, include at least one reference from outside the church.

Name of Reference:  ________________________________________________

Address: ______________________________________________ 

Phone: __________

Name of Reference:  ________________________________________________

Address: ______________________________________________ 

Phone: __________

Name of Reference:  ________________________________________________

Address: ______________________________________________ 

Phone: _________


In answering the following, please do not hesitate to declare your strengths so that your gifting may be put to good use. 

Mark the areas in which you desire to:  Oversee (Mark with an O); Assist (Mark with an A); Receive Training (Mark with a T).  More than one may be marked with the same letter. 

_____ Nursery AM___ PM ___

_____ Teacher Training

_____ Toddlers AM___ PM ___

_____ Missions Presentations

_____ Children’s Church (pre-school)

_____   Parenting Classes

_____   Children’s S.S. (pre-school)

____     Children’s S.S. (elementary)

_____   AWANA

_____   Crafts

_____   Children’s Open Sessions

_____   Drama/Puppets

_____   Youth S.S.

_____   Administration/Office

_____   Prayer

_____   Youth Activities

_____   Vacation Bible School

_____   Kid’s Choir

_____   Promotions/Contests

______ Other 

_____   Recruitment


I hereby acknowledge that the information contained in this application is correct to the best of my knowledge.  I authorize any references or Church’s listed in this application to give Fair Havens Community Church any information they may have regarding my character and fitness for children’s ministry, and I release all such references from liability for any damage that may result from furnishing such evaluations.  I also grant my permission for Fair Havens Community Church to perform a personal Criminal Record Check for the purpose of my protection against any false allegations and for the protection of those I serve. I consent to such an investigation with the understanding that the results will be kept in extreme confidentiality.  I further agree to adhere to the “Reduce the Risk” policy as adopted by Fair Havens Community Church.

Applicant’s Name (please print): ________________________________________

Applicant’s Signature: _________________________________________ 

Date: ____________



(To be used by Screening Committee during interview with references)

A Reference Check is usually done by telephone, but personal conversation or a letter is an alternate method.


“Hello, this is _________________________________.  I serve on the Fair Havens Community Church Screening Committee.  Like many churches today, we have a screening policy for all of the people who volunteer to work in our child/youth  programs. I am calling regarding ________________ ___________________________ (name of applicant) who has listed you as a personal reference.”

1.  How long have you known him/her?  _________________________________________

2.  In what relationship?  _____________________________________________________

3.  She/he indicated on the application that she/he had attended Fair Havens Community Church in _____________  and worked in your child/youth program for _______________ years at ________ age level.  Can you verify this information?  ___________________________________

4.  Would you have any reservations about ________________ working with children?


“Thank you very much for your help.”

Date of Contact:  _______________________________________________________

Person making the contact:  ______________________________________________

Summary of Contact:  ___________________________________________________________________



Record all information and include this form in the personnel file of this applicant.



(To be used by Screening Committee during interview)


A COMPLETED Ministry Volunteer Application Form (Appendix A) for ministries to child/youth must be in hand to allow for reference checks and review prior to the interview.

      1. Has anyone explained the types of children’s ministries, which we provide as a Church and which might provide you with an opportunity for volunteer service?

     YES ___   NO ___

      1. What prompted you to be interested in the ministry, which you identified on your Ministry Person Application Form?  ________________________________________________________________


      1. Would you be willing to attend the training session associated with that Ministry?

     YES ___ NO ____

      1. Have the potential Ministry Person review his/her spiritual journey and compare responses with those indicated on the Spiritual History of the Ministry Person Application Form.  Note any significant omissions or questions which arise:

      1. Review the items listed under Confidential Information on the Ministry Person Application Form and note any significant omissions or questions which arise:

      1. Ask the potential candidate about his/her relationship with each reference listed on the Ministry Person Application Form.


      1. On what date would you be available?  _______________________________________

      1. What is the minimum length of your commitment?  ______________________________

Date of Interview ___________________  

Signature ______________________________  



(to be used by Screening Committee to record steps of recruitment procedure)


NAME OF APPLICANT:  ________________________________________________________

DATE:  __________________________________________

__________ Ministry Person Application Form (Appendix A) completed and signed

__________ Application/instructions for Criminal Record Check given to applicant

__________ Ministry Person Reference Check Form (Appendix B) completed and Signed (file copy for all contacts)

__________ Criminal Records Report completed and received from authorities

__________ Ministry Personnel Interview Form (Appendix C) completed and signed

__________ Driver’s Record Check received (if applicable)

__________ All of the above in order, reviewed, and cleared for applicant to serve in the child/youth ministry at Fair Havens Community Church.

Signature:  ___________________________________________________________________

                 (Pastor or Authorized Ministry Leader) 

Date:  _______________________________________

(If any unsatisfactory responses appear in the above categories, refer the matter to the Christian Education Committee or Elders Board before any discussion is undertaken with the applicant)

ADDITIONAL ITEMS TO BE CHECKED (once the above has been satisfactorily completed).

__________ Applicant has received a copy of the Reduce the Risk Policy for 

Fair Havens Community Church.

__________ Training on the Policy completed.

__________ First Aid Certification/CPR trained? Documentation on file.



Activity:  _____________________________________________

Date:  __________________

Chaperones:  _________________________________________________________________

Name of Child:  ________________________________________

Age:  _________________

Address:  ___________________________________________________________________

Phone:  _____________________________  

School:  ________________________________

Does your child have any severe allergies? (Bee stings, food, penicillin, other drugs)

YES _____ NO _____   If yes, explain: ___________________________________

Does your child have any life-threatening allergies?

YES _____ NO _____   If yes, explain: ___________________________________

Is your child bringing any medication with him/her? (Antibiotics, Ventilator, Ritalin)

YES _____ NO _____   If yes, explain: ___________________________________

Does your child have any physical, emotional, mental or behavioural concerns or limitations that our staff should be aware of?

YES _____ NO _____   If yes, explain: __________________________________

Precautions are taken for the safety of your child, but in the event of accident or sickness, Fair Havens Community Church, its staff, and its volunteers are hereby released from any liability.  In the event that your child requires special medication, x-rays or treatment, the parents/guardians will be notified immediately.

Check if your child currently, or within the last three months, has had any of the following:

Appendicitis Ear infection Hay Fever Mumps

Asthma Epilepsy Hepatitis Severe Stomach Ache

Bedwetting Diabetes Measles (Red) Sinusitis

Chicken Pox Fainting Measles (German) Tonsillitis


Date of last Tetanus Shot:  ______________________

Provincial Health Insurance or equivalent medical insurance must cover your child.  

Provincial Health Insurance Number: _______________________________

Name of Family Physician:  _________________________ 

Physician’s Phone: _____________

Parent/Guardian’s Signature:  _____________________________________

Date: _____________________________



Date:  ________________________________

NAME OF CHILD:  ____________________________________________________________

ADDRESS:  __________________________________________________________________

PHONE:  ______________________________

NAME OF PERSON FILING REPORT: ____________________________________________

NAME OF PERSON RECEIVING REPORT: ________________________________________

Nature of suspected abuse: (physical, sexual, emotional, neglect): 



Indications of suspected abuse:  (Including facts, physical signs and course of events where necessary): 


Action taken: (including date and time): ____________________________________________


The above information will serve as a guide and will be necessary if a formal report is filed with the police or appropriate government agency.  All information received is to be kept STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.

Signed:  _____________________________ 

(Person Reporting)

Signed:  ______________________




NAME OF CHILD:   ___________________________________________________

ADDRESS:  _________________________________________________________

PHONE:  ______________________________

NAME OF PERSON WHO FILED INITIAL REPORT: ____________________________

NAME OF PERSON RECEIVING REPORT:  _________________________________





ACTION TAKEN: (Include date and time):





The above information will serve as a guide and will be necessary if a formal report is filed with the police or appropriate government agency.  All information received is to be kept STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.

Signed:  _____________________________ 

(Person Reporting)

Signed:  ______________________



Fair Havens Community Church

B2355 Hwy 48E, Beaverton, On., L0K 1A0

Rev. David Sparrow (Senior Pastor)

(705) 426-7251

Date: _______________________________

Attention:  ___________________________ 

Re: Application for Vulnerable Sector Screening Check

In order to be a volunteer worker (well being of children) at Fair Havens Community Church, you are required to have a police check completed for Vulnerable Sector Screening.

You must attend in person your local Police Services office, during business hours, and complete a form for your screening check.

You will be required to present two pieces of identification. (Canadian Passport, Birth Certificate are acceptable identifications).

If you have any questions, please contact the person below at Fair Havens Community Church.

Name: Signature: 



The Report should be completed as soon as possible after the incident occurred and should include as detailed a description of the situation as possible. 

Child/Youth Name: ________________________

Phone #: ____________________

Address: __________________________________________________________

Nature of incident

Incident date/time

Incident location

Ministry Persons present

Description of incident

Why did it happen?

Action taken

Parent/Guardian contacted?

Yes ____              No ____

Parent/Guardian response

Ministry Person Name: ________________  

Ministry Person Signature: ______________

Witness Name: ______________________        

Witness Signature: ____________________








Date: ____________

Ministry Persons (all): __________________________________________________________________________
















Date: ____________

Ministry Persons (all): __________________________________________________________________________





Food Allergies/learning

Disabilities, etc





Will he/she





Location of Parent

In S.S



Of Parent

in church


Token #



If visiting, please supply your 

Address & phone #.




Date: ____________

Parent/Guardian must sign each child IN when leaving them at AWANA and sign the same child/children OUT when picking them up from AWANA. 






Date: _____________



(tick section √)



Truth & Training





Date: ____________

Parent/Guardian must sign each child IN when leaving them for the program and sign the same child/children OUT when picking them up from the program. 

Ministry Persons (all)  _________________________________________________