I think regardless of size there are some basic things that you can do to keep your kiddos safe. In my mind the areas that I constantly try to review
Children’s Area Access – Do everything in your power to make sure you have one entrance and exit and don’t let anyone past that is not a worker with a background check, a parent with some form of ID, or a kiddo.
Room access – The only people allowed in a class room should be a teacher with a background check and application.
Parent/Child verification – This part of the process is huge this is really where you should be most careful. Who am I handing this kid to? We have used Fellowship One for about 4 years. One of the selling points was their innovative approach to kids safety. When kids and families check-in each child is gets a nametag with a randomly generated alph-numeric their parents get a receipt with the same number on it. The parent must use the receipt to get by the first layer of security. Then they must produce the receipt at the right room asking for the right kid. If they lose their tag they have to produce a valid photo ID and fill out a form. If you do not use Fellowship one you should. Or at least something like Fellowship One.
Bathroom procedures – Make sure you have bathrooms that are only used by kiddos. We don’t have the luxury of having private bathrooms in each room. We have large common areas that are used by adults during the week and only by kiddos during the weekend. When a uptown staff takes a kid to the bathroom they sweep the bathroom for occupants once they have verified there is no one in there the child is allowed in the adult waits in the hall.
Emergencies – This is one area I am currently working on so if you are a Children’s Worker and have an emergency plan in writing I would love to see what you have. If there is an emergency in our church we will take a printed roster of our kids and have all the kids exit the building and meet their parents at a designated location.
What do you do to keep kids safe at church?
2 comments On Keeping kids safe at church.
So a better question – how to you go about starting to implement policies/procedures like this when there’s a general thought going around that “we’re safe because nothing bad has happened yet”? I’m saddened that we have to consider these things, but so far it’s a hard sell because nobody wants to _believe_ that we need to consider them.
Great post, lots of great ides!
We’ve done a lot of the same things you’ve mentioned to keep kid safe. I think the most important is the room access issue. We’ve found that between services our hallways, though they do have limited access, are hard to secure completely without creating a police state. 🙂 So our emphasis is that hallways are monitored but security is enforced at the room level.
The other important element for us is our volunteer application process. In order to serve in our children’s ministry a volunteer must:
– Complete an application that includes background and reference checks.
– Attend a volunteer orientation
– Have a personal interview with two members of our CM staff (one interview 2
– Observe with a master teacher for 4 to 6 weeks. This gives the volunteer a chance
to train on the job but it also gives us the opportunity to observe and evaluate the
– After they have completed the entire process they get a picture name tag and a
We actually decided to have our entire volunteer staff re-apply when we adopted this system. It may seem over the top, but we’ve uncovered several possible issues in this process that we would not have known about had we just “grandfathered” people in.
Thanks again for the blog and this post.