Child Protection Policy

The goal of our child protection policy is to provide an emotionally and physically safe environment in which children can learn about God and in which they can begin to experience true Christian community. Taking a proactive stand for protection is an important way to meet the felt needs of both families and their children who are investigating matters of faith or who are committed Christians looking to the church as an important part of their family life.

Children are to be treated with respect, and no harm is to come to them physically or psychologically.

Our Definitions Of Abuse

Legal Definitions of Abuse

  • Directly injuring or excessively punishing a child
  • Placing a child in a situation in which they will likely be injured
  • Emotional-verbal abuse
  • Involving a child in sexual activity
  • Legal Definition of Neglect
  • Abandoned, or
  • Denied—food, clothing, shelter, appropriate care, supervision or medical attention

Types of Sexual Abuse (that do not involve touch)

  • Sexual remarks or comments
  • Pornography
  • Obscene phone calls
  • Exhibitionism
  • Allowing children to witness sexual activity

St Stephens Child Protection Guidelines

The “Two Adult” Rule – There must always be two adults present when supervising one or more children.

Behavior Management

The goal of discipline is to help kids learn responsible behavior

  • To facilitate appropriate and positive social interactions
  • Structure your group for success
  • Notice and praise positive behavior

When Kids Require Discipline or Guidance

  • Use a firm but gentle voice to address the behavior
  • Remove the child from the activity
  • Focus your remarks on the behavior you want to see
  • Don’t use words or a tone of voice that shames or frightens a child
  • Don’t use sarcasm or scream at a child
  • Never make remarks that put down the individual as a person or make negative references about appearance, race, or gender or abilities.
  • Never use corporal punishment or spanking of any kind
  • Use touch ONLY in appropriate affirming ways
    – Appropriate examples: high fives, pat on the back or shoulders, side hugs etc.
    – Inappropriate examples: demanding/expecting hugs, slapping on the butt, kissing, etc.

Appropriate bathroom procedures

  • Apply the “two adult” rule AND…
  • Infant & Toddler
    Diapering should be done at diaper stations and in the close proximity to other care providers; bathroom doors must remain open. If possible, the person changing diapers should be the same gender as the child.
  • 2 & 3 Year Old
    Bathroom doors should remain open; child may require assistance.
  • 4 &5 Year Old, Grade R’s
    Leaders should check bathroom for other people; bathroom doors should remain open; child may require some assistance.
  • Grades 1-7
    Permission granted to use facility; unless special help* is required, care provider should (if accompanying child) wait outside bathroom door after they have checked to see if any adults are already in the bathroom. If another adult is using the bathroom, wait until they have left before allowing the child to use the facilities.

PHYSICAL, BEHAVIORAL OR VERBAL INDICATORS THAT A CHILD IS BEING SEXUALLY ABUSED.

Physical signs

  • Lacerations
  •  Bruises
  • Nightmares
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Discomfort when sitting

Behavioral Signs

  • Nervous or hostile behavior towards adults
  • Self-consciousness
  • Acting out sexual behavior
  • Withdrawal from activities and friends

Verbal Signs

  • “I don’t like to be alone with ‘so and so’”
  • “that someone is doing things to them when they are alone”

IF YOU OBSERVE ANY SIGN OF POSSIBLE ABUSE, REPORT IT TO YOUR MINISTRY LEADER IMMEDIATELY.