children's safety policy
At St. Francis in the Fields, we are blessed with children, many of them. They bring life to our parish in a way that broadens our understanding of God’s presence in our world. God has entrusted the care of these children, not only to their parents, but to the entire parish. This trust is made clear each time we commit our ongoing nurture and support of a child at baptism. Along with this privilege of welcoming children in our midst comes the responsibility of ensuring their safety while in our care. We take this responsibility seriously.
This Safety Policy applies to all programs sanctioned by St Francis in the Fields and all Church Personnel, both paid and volunteer. These policies have been adopted by St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church to create safe environments for children and youth and for those who minister to them. With this document we hope to communicate and summarize the Child Protection Policy reviewed and approved by the Vestry of St Francis in the Fields. The policies described here will remain in effect until modified by future Vestry action.
For more specific details about our policies regarding children and youth, please request a copy of our Child Protection Policy by contacting the Children’s Ministry office.
Registration/Participation: Families attending St. Francis in the Fields are invited to all age-appropriate offerings.
Supervision: Children are in the safest environment at St. Francis when they are either with their parents or in a classroom activity led by paid staff or volunteers. Children younger than 10 years must be supervised in one of the above manners.
Drop-off and Pick-up: All children ages birth to 3rd grade must be picked up at their classrooms by a parent or guardian. No siblings may drop-off or pick-up children. Parents of children in our nursery and child care rooms will be given a pager to ensure we may reach you if you are needed. Youth who must leave a program before the designated ending time must leave with a parent or have the consent of the parent and must notify the responsible adult (Youth Minister, Middler Minister, teacher, Choir Director, etc.)
Transitions: Children will be escorted, if applicable, to their appropriate Sunday School Class, Choir practice or any other church activity by a teacher. However, it is still the responsibility of each parent to ensure that their child is where he/she is suppose to be. Children are not permitted to wander throughout the church without adult supervision at any time throughout the week.
Health Issues: Parents SHOULD NOT bring their child to the Nursery, Sunday School, Choir practice or Youth activity if he or she is ill. If a child becomes ill while in our care, the parents will be asked to take the child home. Nursery staff or volunteers cannot administer medication. Children who have experienced any of the following symptoms within the past 24 hours should NOT come to the Nursery, Sunday School, Choir practice or Youth activity: Fever * Diarrhea * Nausea * Vomiting * Undiagnosed rashes or sores * On-going cough with runny eyes and nose * Symptoms of childhood illnesses such as measles, chicken pox, mumps, influenza, strep throat or head lice.
Selecting Personnel to Work with Children & Youth:
- All paid and volunteer personnel will be thoroughly screened, interviewed and trained.
- All personnel, both volunteer and paid, will complete an Application and Criminal Background Check.
- All volunteer personnel working with children should normally be members of St. Francis in the Fields and known to the Rector and parish for at least one year.
- All paid and volunteer personnel will complete the Safeguarding God's Children Training as required by the Diocese of Kentucky.
Safety Policies & Information:
- Each group of children will have a minimum of two supervisors present, at least one of which is 18 years of age or older.
- Desirable classroom ratios of supervisors to children are: Infants 1:3, Toddler Two’s - Kindergarten 1:6, 1st- 5thgrade 1:10.
- A supervisor/director will circulate the children’s wing during all children’s activities to help ensure safety.
- Church Personnel will by their actions toward children and youth display a positive role model showing respect, patience, and maturity. They will avoid even the appearance of favoritism.
- Preventive discipline and encouragement for positive behavior are used in all areas of ministry involving children and youth. Whenever possible, behavior management of young children is carried out by redirection, use of logical consequences and the request for parental reinforcement. However, restraint MAY be required to stop behavior or prevent action that may cause immediate harm to a child, youth or others.
Should an emergency situation arise, such as an intruder, the Children's Ministry area will go on lock-down and no one will be allowed to enter the secure area until an all-clear is given.
In case of fire, children will be escorted from the building and will be reunited with parents in the back bowl area.
Accidents, Injuries & Medical Conditions:
- If your child has any severe allergies or medical conditions, please make all workers aware of his or her needs.
- If your child has any special learning differences please make us aware so we may provide assistance in the classroom or adjustments to our teaching style. We want to create an environment where all children can learn and grow in God’s love for them.
- An accident report form will be filled out for accidents and injuries. This form must be completed within 24 hours of the incident.
- A medical release must be on file when a child participates in any church sanctioned event in which the parent is off site.
Reporting Obligation & Procedure:
All personnel are trained to be familiar with the signs of child abuse and neglect. If a worker suspects child abuse or neglect they are required to:
- Report the suspected abuse to the Children’s Minister and the Rector.
- NOT interview the child regarding the suspected abuse. The interview process will be handled by trained personnel.
- NOT discuss the abuse. It is important that all information about the suspected child abuse (victim and abuser) be kept confidential.
Once a suspected child abuse case has been reported by a worker to a supervisor, it will be reported to the designated reporting agency.