Safe Sanctuary Ecclesia

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Safe Sanctuary training for the staff & volunteers at Ecclesia.

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  • Welcome to Safe Sanctuary training for Ecclesia Church. We will be going through this short presentation together. At the end you will be asked to answer a quiz and submit the answers. On several slides you will see a random object inserted, perhaps a pink pig or trapeze artist. Please note what the object is as you may need that information later. We are going to start our time together by reading from Psalms Chapter 27, verses 4 and 5. “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
  • You may be wondering why all the fuss about Safe Sanctuary. Scripture shows us clearly that our calling and our mandate is to ensure safe sanctuary for ALL of God’s people. We are particularly concerned with those individuals who are most vulnerable such as children, youth, and individuals with special needs. We want to not only prevent the occurrence of abuse, but also to prevent even the appearance of abuse. And we want to protect our staff and volunteers from false accusations and suspicions.
  • The Safe Sanctuary policy applies to any event, on or off campus, which occurs in the name of MDUMC. This includes but is not limited to sporting events, field trips, mission activities, Sunday School parties, and much much more.
  • In addition to the staff person to whom you most directly relate, you may contact Donna Reed, the Director of Children’s Ministries, Steve Cragg, the Director of Youth Ministries, and Ellen Lee, the Director of Programming.
  • Let’s start by defining what is abuse? There are three particular areas of abuse that we want to highlight. The first is physical/emotional abuse. This is any act of omission or an act that endangers a person’s physical or mental health.
  • Physical and emotional abuse includes failure to prevent injury or harm to a vulnerable person. Please note that failure to prevent abuse is just as much abuse as actually causing the abuse. This is called an act of omission. Abuse also include the use of a controlled substance (either allowing it to be used by the vulnerable person or an adult using it in the presence of a vulnerable person). And third, abuse includes causing or failing to prevent mental or emotional injury to a vulnerable person.
  • Now let’s talk about sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is the sexual exploitation of another person or using that person in some way to satisfy sexual drives and desires. Examples include but are not limited to incest, rape, prostitution, romantic involvement with a child or youth, any sexual contact with a vulnerable person, displaying sexual material, making suggestive comments, sexual contact, and much much more.
  • It’s very important to remember that when it comes to abuse, it’s not just what you do……….just as importantly, it’s what you don’t do. Not stepping in to stop an abuse action or situation is also abuse! You must be proactive to prevent abuse or situations that might lead to abuse. At the very least, this would include making a staff member or Safe Sanctuary contact aware of a potentially dangerous situation so that they can respond appropriately.
  • Who must go through Safe Sanctuary certification? Well, we’d love for everyone to do it! But those who are required to include all employees of MDUMC regardless of where or with whom they work, and any volunteer who comes into direct contact with a child or youth.
  • The certification process includes: 1) completing an application and giving permission to do a background check. 2) Turning in references. 3)Completing a training session, either in person or by video. And 4), receiving a satisfactory background check. As you complete your application, please make sure and disclose anything that might come up on your background check. Having a conviction in your background does not necessarily mean that you will not be certified. We require, however, your complete honesty in disclosing past problems. In other words, we don’t want surprises when we run your background check. We want you to have told us about your past before we do the check. Depending upon the situation, we may call you for more information or ask for a personal interview. Forms can be downloaded at www.mdumckids.org.
  • What if there is an incident? First and foremost, take care of the child. Secure emergency medical help if needed. This means call 911 if you deem that to be necessary. Please contact a staff member as soon as possible. We literally often go out to Memorial Drive to help guide emergency personnel to the needed location because this is a really big facility. We also want a staff person to be able to contact the child or youth’s parents appropriately. Once the danger has passed, be ready to report on all details of the incident to the appropriate individuals. It is your legal responsibility to make sure the appropriate authorities are contacted. While disclosures will be made as appropriate by church staff, you may call the department of Protective and Regulatory Services yourself at 800-252-5400.
  • If the media should become involved in an incident, we request that you refer all questions to our church’s official spokesperson who is Dr. Simmons or his designate.
  • Here are the hallmarks of our Safe Sanctuary policy. You may refer to the Safe Sanctuary booklet for more details.
  • Almost all Safe sanctuary problems can be avoided by following the simple TWO BY TWO rule. This means to try to always have two persons present whenever a vulnerable person is present.
  • If for whatever reasons two responsible parties cannot be present, then follow these simple guidelines: Try to stay visible to others. For instance, if you are alone in a classroom with a group of children, this is not the time to build a tent and go inside the tent for storytelling. Stay where others can see you. If the situation allows, keep the door open. And finally, stay in an area where others can see you. Stand near the door or windows.
  • There is safety in numbers Especially with children, try to avoid situations where there is only one adult and one child. If, for instance, you know a child is going to be with you for awhile after class or practice, arrange to have another child or two present during that time. Ask another parent to hang out for a few minutes until the child’s parents arrive. There are often times when non-Safe Sanctuary certified adults are present with children and youth. Try to have at least one Safe Sanctuary certified individual present at those times. Examples might include team parties, class mission trips, etc.
  • There are situations in which one on one contact is preferable. For instance, counseling sessions, tutoring or music lessons. In these situations, contact a staff person to arrange for a waiver/revocation to be signed. In situations where one-on-one contact is allowed, still be Safe Sanctuary smart. Keep the door open, stay in an area where you can be seen by others. If you are in a car, caravan and stay in contact with cell phones, walkie/talkies, etc.
  • When taking children to the restroom, you want to avoid situations in which you are the only adult alone with a child or children in an enclosed bathroom. So, here’s what we suggest: Children in 1 st grade and older can go to the restroom in pairs without direct supervision. If you must accompany a child into the restroom alone (for example younger children or children with special needs) leave the door ajar or have another adult be present. If you encounter an ongoing situation (perhaps you have an older child with special needs), contact your staff supervisor to make arrangements for assistance. For situations involving children or special needs individuals, contact Children’s Min. staff.
  • If is absolutely appropriate to change diapers on young children as needed. Just be sure your do so in an open environment. If you have an older special needs child who is wearing a diaper, make arrangements with the parents as to how to handle the situation or let staff know and they will make those arrangements. We will want to handle changing diapers on older children in a way that protects their privacy and dignity.
  • If the fire alarm should go off, even if you know who pulled the alarm, even if you know there is not really an emergency, even if it was your own child who pulled the alarm, we must still evacuate the building. Gather your children/youth, count carefully and go out the nearest safe exit. Typically you will take your group to the front/Taft side of the building. Stay outside until the “all clear signal” is given, typically by a staff person.
  • It is your responsibility to locate the nearest first aid kit for where you will be working. Kits are located throughout the buildings and any staff person should be able to point you to the kits. Defibrilators are also installed around the campus. You will want to know these locations. Should the need arise, the difibrilator will talk you through the steps to its use. Do not hesitate to call 911 if you think it necessary. Remember, contact a staff person as soon as possible.
  • It is never appropriate to use physical punishment with a child or youth. There might be rare circumstances in which you would need to gently hold a child or youth to prevent them from harming themselves or others. We call this a gentle bear hug and is only meant to prevent harm. For children, Appropriate discipline steps include making the children and parents aware of what the rules are. Using gentle reminders is usually all that is necessary to turn a situation around. Sometimes simply standing or sitting near a disruptive child is enough to remind him or her of your presence. While it should be used sparingly, reasonable and supervised “time out” is acceptable. Keep parents aware of issues but do so in a way that protects their privacy and dignity. You don’t want to blurt out in front of other parents that little Johnny was a real terror today! When all is fails, contact the Children’s Min. staff and they will advise on the situation.
  • As an individual grows, so change the physical and emotional boundaries. While it is perfectly acceptable to hold a young child or have him/her sit in your lap, that same behavior is not appropriate for older children. While it is sometimes hard to gauge the difference between a young and old child, we suggest using entrance into elementary school as that boundary. Once a child has entered Kindergarten, you need to begin to set stricter boundaries. Especially as a child matures, sometimes he or she may become inappropriately attached to a teacher/coach/mentor, etc. You will need to guard these boundaries and step away a bit if you detect a problem arising. Pay attention to where conversations are going and redirect them as needed. Always, contact a staff person if you feel uncomfortable with a situation.
  • Ecclesia has a history of using youth and college students in assistant’s positions. Our wish is to continue this process as we believe it is one way in which youth can heed the call to be in ministry to others. As regards children, youth may be used in assistant positions with children such as a small group shepherd at VBS. As regards youth, anyone under the age of 21 is considered an assistant leader and not “in charge” of other youth.
  • When staying overnight with children or youth, you will want to be particularly vigilant about following Safe Sanctuary guidelines. It is preferred that two adults be present (or in close proximity) to each room where youth and children are staying. If for some reason only one adult is present, there must be MORE than one child or youth present. Adults are not to sleep in the same bed with a child or youth.
  • Always remember that it is a great privilege to work with children and youth. If that privilege is violated, you will be removed from contact with children and youth and the appropriate authorities will be contacted as required by law.
  • While most of our policy has to do with contact with children and youth, contact between adults can become problematic. Thus, we have had to add a sexual harassment section to our Safe Sanctuary policy. This applies to things that happen in front of children and youth as well as to interactions that occur strictly between adults. Sexual harassment is any unwanted sexual advance or demand, either verbal or physical, that is reasonably perceived by the recipient as demeaning, intimidating, or coercive. Please note…..the key factor in sexual harassment is PERCEPTION. It ‘s not what you intended that matters. It’s how it is received.
  • As sexual harassment is a big area of concern in today’s world, we are going to give you some tips to avoiding sexual harassment. First, be a good example. Treat everyone with respect. Second, stick to handshakes. Obviously there are times when a hug is appropriate. Just be smart and aware of the situation. Ask yourself these questions: Would I act this way if my spouse or significant other was present? Would I want someone to act this way to my spouse or significant other? If the answer is no, then walk away.
  • Would you want this behavior broadcast on the news? If not, walk away. Pay attention to the cues the other person is giving out. If there isn’t equal participation between you and the person you are interacting with, then walk away. In fact, if there is any doubt in your mind, back away from the situation.
  • You are going to be dealing with persons who have many different levels of sensitivity when it comes to interpersonal interactions. Be careful with what you say and avoid sexualized language. Don’t use words like sexy or hot. It might be best just to avoid comments or compliments of a personal nature unless you are sure how they will be received. To give a compliment to a close friend is one thing……….to someone you don’t know well is another. Be aware of other’s personal space. If you have any indication that a person is uncomfortable, back away.
  • When it comes to sexual harassment, remember this: It is not the intent that matters. It is how it is received that is the issue. So, play it safe in your interactions with others.
  • You have several options for questions. Contact your immediate staff supervisor or contact one of the persons listed on this screen. E-mail or phone calls are fine. Safe Sanctuary booklets which go into much more detail can be downloaded at www.mdumckids.org or are available through the Children’s offices. The Children’s Min leadership are all available to answer your questions or hear your concerns. Depending on what area of ministry you are involved in, your staff supervisor may wish to add some comments to this training prior to your beginning your ministry.
  • Safe Sanctuary Ecclesia

    1. 1. Safe Sanctuary Ecclesia Church Houston, Texas
    2. 2. WHY Safe Sanctuary? <ul><li>Our calling and our mandate is to ensure safe sanctuary for all God’s people. </li></ul><ul><li>Prevent the occurrence or even the appearance of abuse. </li></ul><ul><li>Protect workers from false accusations and/or suspicions. </li></ul>
    3. 3. Safe Sanctuary applies to: <ul><li>Any event on or off campus which occurs in the name of Ecclesia </li></ul><ul><li>Sporting events, field trips, mission activities, Sunday School </li></ul>
    4. 4. Who to contact about Safe Sanctuary: <ul><li>Your three main contacts from the Safe Sanctuary Executive Committee include: </li></ul><ul><li>Eileen Straw: Children’s Ministries </li></ul><ul><li>Kathy Yeager: Children’s Ministries </li></ul><ul><li>John Starr: Assoc. Pastor/Elder </li></ul>
    5. 5. What is abuse? <ul><li>PHYSICAL/EMOTIONAL ABUSE: </li></ul><ul><li>Any act of omission or an act that endangers a person’s physical or mental health. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Physical/Emotional Abuse includes: <ul><li>Failure to prevent injury/harm </li></ul><ul><li>Controlled substance misuse (by the adult or by the youth/child) </li></ul><ul><li>Mental or emotional injury directly to a child/youth </li></ul><ul><li>Allowing a child/youth to be in a situation resulting in mental/emotional injury </li></ul>
    7. 7. What is Sexual Abuse? <ul><li>The sexual exploitation or use of same for the satisfaction of sexual drives. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: incest, rape, prostitution, romantic involvement with a child/youth, any sexual contact with a participant, displaying sexual material, suggestive comments or contact, and more </li></ul>
    8. 8. Important to Remember: <ul><li>With abuse it’s not just what you do…..it also includes what you don’t do. </li></ul><ul><li>Not stepping in to stop an abusive action or situation is also abuse! </li></ul><ul><li>You must be proactive to prevent abuse or situations that might lead to abuse. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Who must go through Safe Sanctuary? <ul><li>All employees/staff of Ecclesia </li></ul><ul><li>Any volunteer or adult (over 18) coming into direct contact with children or youth while on the church campus or at a church-sponsored event </li></ul>
    10. 10. What is the certification process? <ul><li>Complete an application and give permission to do a background check </li></ul><ul><li>Supply 2 references (forms available online) </li></ul><ul><li>Complete required training sessions (One classroom session, one online session, one follow-up session) </li></ul><ul><li>Upon completion of the above and receiving a satisfactory background check, the individual is certified </li></ul>
    11. 11. What if there is an incident? <ul><li>Take care of the child. Secure emergency medical help if needed. </li></ul><ul><li>Contact a staff member as soon as is reasonably possible. </li></ul><ul><li>Be ready to report on all details of the incident, supplying a written record. </li></ul><ul><li>Contact the appropriate authorities. </li></ul>
    12. 12. What if the media is involved? <ul><li>Refer all questions/comments to our Church Staff. Make certain you protect the identity of anyone involved, so that the proper persons have the opportunity to solve the problem or issue. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Hallmarks of our Safe Sanctuary Policy The Ministry to Children and Families at Ecclesia Church, Houston, TX
    14. 14. TWO BY TWO <ul><li>Always have two responsible persons present whenever a child/youth is present (either two adults in the same room with the children, or one directly with the children and one in line of sight/communication) </li></ul><ul><li>NOTE: A youth/teen is NEVER to be left alone with a group of children in his/her charge. </li></ul>
    15. 15. LINE OF SIGHT <ul><li>Stay visible to others. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep the door open </li></ul><ul><li>(1/2 doors: top portion open) </li></ul><ul><li>Stay in an area where others can see you and where children are protected. </li></ul>
    16. 16. SAFETY IN NUMBERS <ul><li>Avoid situations where there is only one adult and one child. Make sure other approved adults are close by. </li></ul><ul><li>Especially when non-Safe Sanctuary certified adults are present (parents, siblings), make sure at least one Safe Sanctuary certified individual is present. </li></ul>
    17. 17. SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES <ul><li>Parents must sign a waiver/revocation for an ongoing situation on campus such as counseling, piano lessons, parent meetings, where only 1 adult is present. </li></ul><ul><li>ALWAYS keep a door open </li></ul><ul><li>(Ex: counseling or teaching one on one) </li></ul><ul><li>During initial certification process, all adults must have done at least the background check before regularly working with children. </li></ul>
    18. 18. RESTROOM ASSISTANCE <ul><li>Children in 1 st grade and up can go to the restroom in pairs without direct supervision. </li></ul><ul><li>If you must accompany a child into the restroom alone, leave the door ajar and alert the other adult of the situation. </li></ul><ul><li>If you encounter an “ongoing” situation (perhaps you have a child with special needs in your class), contact Children’s Ministry staff to make arrangements for assistance. </li></ul>
    19. 19. Changing Diapers <ul><li>It is appropriate to change diapers as needed with proper supplies and with approved adults present </li></ul><ul><li>Diapers should be changed in an open environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid having other (older) children present when diapers are being changed. </li></ul>
    20. 20. Fire Alarms <ul><li>If the fire alarm goes off, the building should be evacuated, having approved adults to guide the children </li></ul><ul><li>Gather the children, count carefully and go out the nearest safe exit (front of building on Taft side) </li></ul><ul><li>Stay outside the building/fence until the “all clear signal” is given. </li></ul>
    21. 21. Health Emergencies <ul><li>First aid kits are located in the Children’s Ministry office and in the mailroom. Ask a Children’s Ministry staff person for the location in your area. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not hesitate to call 911 if needed (new phones installed: small resource room/office, and hallway by Children’s Area) </li></ul><ul><li>Contact a staff person as soon as possible. </li></ul>
    22. 22. APPROPRIATE DISCIPLINE <ul><ul><li>Make children/parents aware of rules (classroom or playground). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use gentle reminders. Stand near child to remind him/her of your presence. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical or punitive punishment is not appropriate. Reasonable and supervised time out is acceptable. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep parents aware of issues. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contact Ministry staff to make decision whether child should be sent to parents in extreme cases. </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. Setting Boundaries <ul><li>Physical boundaries change as an individual ages. Holding a young child in your lap is appropriate. Holding an older child in your lap is not appropriate. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not allow children or youth to become too emotionally attached (can be misinterpreted) </li></ul><ul><li>Always be aware of possible direction for a conversation. Steer conversations appropriately. </li></ul><ul><li>If you feel boundaries are being violated, allow great distance to come between you and the young person. </li></ul><ul><li>Contact a staff person if you feel uncomfortable with a situation. </li></ul>
    24. 24. Who is a “responsible party”? <ul><li>Ecclesia has a history of using older youth and college students in assistant’s positions; these youth must be supervised by an approved adult. </li></ul><ul><li>Older youth and college students may be involved as long as they are properly trained and supervised </li></ul><ul><li>As regards youth, anyone under the age of 21 is considered an assistant leader and not “in charge”. </li></ul>
    25. 25. OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS <ul><li>It is strongly recommended that two adults (or one adult and one older youth) be present in each room or in close proximity to the room. </li></ul><ul><li>If only one adult is present, there must be more than one child/youth present. </li></ul><ul><li>Adults are not to sleep in the same bed with a child/youth who is not their own child. </li></ul>
    26. 26. LEADER MISCONDUCT <ul><li>Working with children/youth is a great privilege. </li></ul><ul><li>If that privilege is violated, the leader will be removed from contact with children/youth. </li></ul><ul><li>If necessary, the appropriate authorities will be contacted. </li></ul>
    27. 27. SEXUAL HARASSMENT <ul><li>Sexual harassment is any unwanted sexual advance or demand, either verbal or physical, that is reasonably perceived by the recipient as demeaning, intimidating, or coercive. </li></ul><ul><li>The key factor in sexual harassment is PERCEPTION. Be careful not to encourage any conversation or activity that could be perceived as inappropriate . </li></ul>
    28. 28. TIPS TO AVOID SEXUAL HARASSMENT: <ul><li>Be a good example – treat everyone with respect. </li></ul><ul><li>Use gentle hug or “High 5” to welcome children. Be guided by what the child seems comfortable with. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask yourself: “How would I want another leader to act in dealing with my child?” </li></ul>
    29. 29. MORE TIPS: <ul><li>Ask yourself: “Would I want my behavior broadcast on the news?” </li></ul><ul><li>Is there equal participation between you and the person you are interacting with? Be sensitive to the other person. </li></ul><ul><li>Read other’s verbal and physical cues. </li></ul><ul><li>When in doubt, back away. </li></ul>
    30. 30. MORE TIPS: <ul><li>Avoid sexualized language. (words like “sexy”, “hot”, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid comments or compliments of a personal nature unless you are sure how they will be received. </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of other’s personal space. </li></ul>
    31. 31. Very Important: <ul><li>MANY TIMES, IT IS NOT THE INTENT THAT MATTERS. THE PERCEPTION IS WHAT MAY BE REMEMBERED. </li></ul><ul><li>HOW YOUR WORDS OR ACTIONS ARE RECEIVED BY OTHERS is important. This includes comments made to children AND other leaders. </li></ul>
    32. 32. QUESTIONS??? <ul><li>Contact Kathy Yeager, [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Contact Eileen Straw. </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Contact John Starr, [email_address] </li></ul>
    33. 33. Now what??? <ul><li>Email Kathy Yeager to confirm that you have completed this Powerpoint presentation/ </li></ul><ul><li>If you haven’t already turned in your completed paperwork, download it off of the Ecclesia “CCB” website or pick up copies at the church in the Children’s Area. </li></ul><ul><li>Be sure that we have all of your current contact info </li></ul><ul><li>Once we have received everything, we’ll contact you if we have any questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Thanks! God bless you for serving with us! </li></ul><ul><li>Eileen Straw, Kathy Yeager </li></ul><ul><li>The Ministry to Children and Families at Ecclesia </li></ul>

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