Children’s Ministry Security – Protection for a Vulnerable Area
Children’s Church Security is a passionate subject for most of us!
When it comes to security and risk reduction, our children are often our first concerns. Leaving our little ones (and bigger ones) with near-strangers while we attend worship services can be an act of faith in itself! Let’s work to make that experience a more peaceful one for the parents of our congregations.
#1: RUN PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND CHECKS ON ALL PERSONNEL WHO WILL BE OVERSEERS OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH!!!
We do not mean to yell, but this is so incredibly crucial to establishing a safe and secure environment for our children! Our children trust us to ensure that the people we leave them in the care of are safe!
#2 – Conduct a quarterly Risk Assessment to ensure the safety of our children’s church environments. Train staff to identify potential risks. Provide a standard for reporting it in writing to the Board of Directors. Your Children’s Church Security depends on it!
#3 – Have a Church Emergency Plan in place and practice evacuations with the children quarterly. This is a crucial piece of Children’s Church Security.
#4 – Design and distribute disciplinary guidelines.
What will the childcare worker do in the event of one child attempting to harm other children? (verbally or physically)
What will the childcare worker do in the event of incessant crying? (from the child, not the worker!)
On both of these issues we advise returning the child to its parent. However, each church may have its own policies.
Who will deliver the child to the parent is equally important to discuss. This is one of the many reasons to always have at least 2 childcare workers for each class.
#5 – Design and distribute guidelines for checking a child in and out of the children’s church.
This is a simple, yet crucial, part of Children’s Church Security. This is something to consider for older children as well. How old is old enough to be responsible for themselves?
We recommend a sign in sheet with numbers which coordinate with the number on the child’s name tag. The same parent should be required to sign the child out as signed him/her in, for safety reasons.
#6 – Declare bathroom policies openly to workers, parents, and children.
Workers, do not go into bathrooms with children. Stand at the front door so you can hear the children safely. Keep the front door open. If there are no stalls, stand near the slightly opened door with your back to the child for privacy and safety.
For children too young to attend to their bathroom needs themselves, it is recommended to return them to their parents. However, this is subject to individual church decisions. Make sure the policies are known and agreed upon by the parent.
Special Note: Children’s Ministries really are the most vulnerable area of a church. Carelessness can cause a lifetime of struggles for the child. Please carefully consider the spiritual implications, in addition to the physical implications, that may overshadow the decisions, messages, and influences a children’s ministry worker may have over our children. Issues to carefully discern include past drug abuse, alcohol abuse, marring of the body, DUI’s, sexual addictions, and any other condition that lends itself to negative influence and potential risk. Present addictions and abuses are of course off limits for the children and youth workers.
The Word says, “Choose some men from each tribe who have wisdom, understanding, and a good reputation, and I will appoint them as your leaders.” Deuteronomy 1:13
Please also make sure that you know your Church Security Team, and that the Team is familiar with your Children’s Ministry policies. For more information on developing a Security Team, see this link: