Bible Baptist Church Child Safety Policy

A. Staffing and Supervising

1. Two-Adult Rule

A minimum of two adults should be present in any room except in the event of an emergency. This standard not only helps provide for a safe and loving classroom, it also gives volunteers more encouragement, creativity and flexibility. In addition, this arrangement allows for a gift-mix in each classroom that makes for a richer teaching environment. The arrangement may require that grade levels be combined. Smaller churches may need to use one adult with one teen helper.

2. Open Doors

Doors should have clear glass Windows that allow for an easy view of the classroom activities without disrupting the teaching process.

If there is only one adult teacher in the classroom and the door does not have a glass window, it should be left slightly open.

3. Family Protection

It is recommended that immediate family members not work together in the same classroom. For those choosing to minister together, it is advised that, when possible, a third, unrelated volunteer be placed in the classroom.

4. Teacher/Student Ratios

Adequate staffing is necessary to provide optimal care. The recommended ratios are:

  • One caregiver for every three infants (birth to twelve months).
  • One caregiver for every four toddlers or preschoolers.
  • One caregiver for every eight to ten elementary-age children.

Consideration should be given to training personal aides, as need may require, to assist individuals having disabling conditions.

5. Volunteer Age

The use of adult volunteers (eighteen years of age and older) is recommended. However, we may find it necessary to use volunteers between the ages of twelve and eighteen. While teens should never care for children alone, it is beneficial to their spiritual development to allow teens to serve in appropriate team-teaching settings in ministry programs.

6. Supervision

Supervisory staff should be in place to oversee the following:

  1. Checking classrooms to ensure the room is properly staffed and functioning well.
  2. Monitoring hallways and exits to ensure that everyone is where they belong.
  3. Assisting visitors and newcomers in finding appropriate locations.
  4. Ensuring that suspicious individuals are properly approached and monitored.

B. Rest Room Guidelines

We strongly recommend that parents take their children to visit the rest room prior to each class or service. This procedure should be communicated to parents at the beginning of each new school year and throughout the year.

a. Two adults should escort a group of children to the rest room. Some churches may not have two adults available for this duty. Therefore, we recommend that these churches appoint hallway or safety monitors (preferably female) to assist with rest room duties.

b. Classrooms should take scheduled rest room breaks.

c. Teen volunteers should not assist children in the rest room.

d. If just one child must go to the rest room, the adult volunteer should escort the child and prop the outside door open. The volunteer should then remain outside the door and wait for the child before escorting him or her back to the classroom. The volunteer should call the child’s name if he or she is taking longer than seems necessary.

e. Volunteers and/or staff should never be alone with a child in an unsupervised rest room and never go into a cubicle with a child and shut the door.

f. If children need assistance, an adult may enter the rest room/cubicle only under the following guidelines:

i. A second adult must be within visual contact. If this is not possible, another adult should at least be informed of the situation and notified when a volunteer is leaving with a child and when returning.

ii. Only women should assist girls or boys in the rest room. In light of the fact that most abusers are male, and for the protection of male volunteers from false accusation, it would be wise for men to avoid assisting children in using the rest room.

iii. The outside rest room door must be propped open. The adult must stand in the open cubicle doorway.

C. Health and Safety Guidelines

1. Well Child Policy

A child who is ill and could therefore expose other children and workers to illness should not be received into the nursery or classroom. Some signs of illness are unusual fatigue or irritability, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and eyes, fever, vomiting, diarrhea or inflamed mouth and throat. (PLEASE NOTE: Coughing, sneezing, runny nose and eyes can also be symptoms of allergies. Be sure to check with parents as to the cause of the symptoms before denying the child entry into the nursery.) A health criteria policy should be posted.

2. Medications

a. Volunteers are not to give or apply any medications. If a child needs medication, the parent must give it.

b. No medication should be left in the classroom, with a volunteer worker or with the child.

3. Emergencies

a. Procedures for emergency situations (fire, tornado, etc.) should be reviewed regularly during volunteer training seminars. These procedures as well as a planned route of escape to safety are to be posted in a visible place in each classroom.

b. First aid kits can be found in the church office, and kitchen.

c. When an injury, accident or medical emergency occurs, the parent(s) of the child involved should be contacted immediately.

d. Any accident resulting in injury should be reported to the ministry leader in charge.

D. Responding to an Injury or Illness

1. Separate the injured or ill student from other children.

2. Isolate the area where any blood or body fluid may have dropped on carpet, toys, chairs, etc.

3. Keep other students from having contact with the body fluid.

4. Notify staff to clean the room following standard infectious diseases precaution guidelines. This is best accomplished by a custodian.

E. Proper Display of Affection

Physical touch is an important element in the communication of love and care. It is an essential part of the nurturing process that should be characteristic of ministry with students. Volunteers need to be aware of, and sensitive to, the special and differing needs and preferences of each individual. Physical contact should be age- and developmentally appropriate and is most appropriate when done publicly.

1. Appropriate Touch

The following guidelines are recommended as pure, genuine and positive displays

a. Meet children at their eye level by bending down or sitting.

b. Listen to individuals with your ears, eyes and heart.

c. Hold the child’s hand while listening or speaking to him or when walking to an activity.

d. Putting an arm around the shoulder of an individual when comforting, quieting or greeting is an appropriate way to hug. This side-to-side type of hug should only be done in public.

e. A light touch to a hand, shoulder or back when encouraging is acceptable.

f. Gently hold the shoulders or chin of a child when redirecting the child’s behavior.

This helps the child focus on what you are saying and is helpful with children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

g. Hold a preschool child who is crying.

2. Inappropriate Touch

The following types of touch must be avoided:

a. Kissing a child or coaxing a child to kiss you.

b. Extended hugging and tickling, or prolonged physical contact of any kind.

c. Touching a child in any area that would be covered by a bathing suit (exception: properly assisting a child in the rest room).

d. Carrying an older child or sitting him or her on your lap.

e. Being alone with a child.

f. Giving a full contact, body-to-body hug.

F. Discipline Policy

A hands-off approach is a must. Proper discipline includes both preventative care and corrective action, and it also helps create a healthy learning environment.

1. Reward good behavior. Immediate praise and recognition for positive actions are effective ways to encourage more of the same. Inform parents when a child does well or shows improvement.

2. Remind the student of proper classroom behavior. Remind him/her of the classroom rules and what is expected.

3. Redirect the student. Move him/her to a different situation or area. Separate the child from others when he/she is having difficulty behaving.

4. Remove the student from the group using a time-out chair within the classroom and in view of both volunteers. After an appropriate explanation of what is wrong with the child’s behavior is given, give him/her several minutes to sit alone (the child’s age should equal the time-out minutes). When the child is settled, invite him/her to rejoin the group.

5. Return the student to a parent. If steps 1 through 4 fail to change behavior, the child should be taken to a parent for the remainder of the class. After class, the teacher will explain the problem to the parents and reassure the child that he/she is welcome to join the class next time. The teacher will report the action to the appropriate supervisor.

6. Suggested Classroom Manners

a. Be kind to one another.

b. Pay attention and listen.

c. Follow instructions.

d. Talk one at a time.

e. Keep hands and feet to yourself.