Take Precautions to Prevent Child Abuse

Keeping children safe at your church or ministry should be a top priority, not just an afterthought. Use these guidelines to improve the safety of your nursery and/or youth ministry programs.

Step 1. Select your youth workers and volunteers carefully.

  • Screen applicants for potential predators, using reference and background checks. Also review applicants’ volunteer work histories.
  • Allow only members who have attended your church for six months or longer to work with children.

Step 2. Staff your events strategically.

  • Assign at least two adults to supervise in all rooms where children are present. Doing so reduces the risk of actual incidents of misconduct and abuse, as well as false allegations.
  • A single chaperone, teacher, or volunteer should never interact one-on-one with a child or children, except when out in an open, public space.
  • In a closed classroom or nursery, at least two adults should be supervising.
  • Keep in mind that swimming activities and overnight activities are more likely to culminate in a misconduct allegation or event. Provide plenty of staff and volunteers to oversee these events and put strict safeguards in place to keep everyone safe.
  • Educate your church employees and volunteers concerning risk and abuse warning signs, as well as relevant laws dealing with child abuse.

Step 3. Release carefully.

  • Your childcare staff should use “claim check” procedure to ensure that children are never turned over to an unauthorized adult.
  • Your staff should permit only an adult presenting a legitimate “check” to claim a child.

Implementing these precautions can go a long way to ensuring that the children in your nursery and youth ministry programs are safe and secure when in your ministry’s care.