Safety and Risk Management--Children's Ministry Policy
Ministry and Events Policy
This document falls under the Children and Youth Protection Policy. Therefore, all workers and volunteers involved in children’s ministry within and outside the church are required to understand and abide by the Children and Youth Protection Policy. The Children’s Policy is for children age 3 to 12 years.
Definitions of Ministry Personnel.
Ministry Lead and Hall Monitors - An individual age 17 or older who has successfully completed the recruitment and screening procedures of MPAC and is now deemed to be a person who can be put in a position of trust with children. Ministry Leads of all classes except nursery will wear name tags identifying them to parents/guardians and children.
Ministry Assistant - A youth (age 12 to 16) who has successfully completed the recruitment and screening procedures of MPAC. They are now deemed to be a person who can be put in a position of trust with children under the direct supervision of a Ministry Lead. Ministry Assistants will wear name tags identifying them to parents/guardians and children.
Ministry Personnel to Child Ratio
One ministry lead or assistant for every 4 – 5 children age 3 to 5 inclusive
One ministry lead or assistant for every 7 – 10 children age 6 to 12 inclusive
1. For programs and event taking place during regular services at MPAC.
We recognize the best practice of the “Two Unrelated Adult” rule. We also recognize and acknowledge that children ministries are a very important part MPAC vision and mandate. Therefore, in order to maintain children’s ministries, it is understood that circumstances may arise when only one ministry personnel may be present or the ministry personnel overseeing a program may be related. All programs will include at least one ministry lead. The following is a guide to ministry personnel minimums, in order of priority.
A minimum of two unrelated ministry leads or one ministry lead working with an unrelated ministry assistant, except in the event of an emergency, or,
One ministry lead is present with windows having clear lines of visibility in place and/or the door open, with a designated hall monitor circulating periodically from room to room or
Related ministry lead and assistant with clear lines of visibility in place and/or the door open, with a designated hall monitor circulating periodically from room to room or
One ministry assistant, with BOE formal approval, is present with windows having clear lines of visibility in place and/or the door open, with a designated hall monitor circulating periodically from room to room. BOE formal approval means the BOE as received a written request from an individual under the age of 17 who wishes to be a ministry lead. This individual needs to be sponsored by an unrelated Ministry Lead, be of exception character, has cleared all SR&M requirements of a ministry lead and has demonstrated the abilities to be a ministry lead. It is preferred that this individual has first been a ministry assistant in the ministry program into which they will now be leading.
Occasional observers or visitors who join a class will have their attendance recorded and kept on file with the classroom attendance for that day. Observers and visitors will be clearly identified and if they have not been screened and approved, they will not be placed in a position of trust with children who are not their own
C. Receiving and Releasing Children Under 6 years old
Receiving and releasing children under the age of 6 is to be strongly monitored. A mandatory sign-in and sign-out form (Appendix 16) is to be used in all children’s programming.
Children are not to be dropped off in a classroom without ministry personnel present.
Preschool children will only be released into the care of the child’s parent or designate utilizing a signature, security number or identification card.
Parents/guardians and visitors are not to enter the preschool classroom when picking up their child unless invited to do so.
D. Receiving and Releasing Elementary Students:
Younger elementary students and newcomers are to remain in the classroom until the parent or designate comes to pick them up and the student demonstrates recognition.
Consideration must be given to security, church facilities and location when determining the age release of older elementary children. Ministry personnel are to ask on an informal basis whether the child knows where to find his or her parent/guardian. If the child demonstrates uncertainty, the ministry personnel will keep the child with them in the classroom until the parent or designate picks up the child.
Attendance of children is taken each time a classroom or program is in session. These attendance records are kept on file permanently.
A record will be kept of ministry personnel on duty in each classroom or program. This record will be maintained with the record of attendance and kept on file permanently.
F. Classroom Rules:
Classroom rules will be established to clearly communicate the expectations required of children. Some minimum rules are:
One voice talking at a time
Quiet hands get answered
Use inside voices
Obey directions the first time
Use good manners
Keep your hands and feet to yourself
Respect each other
Visit the washroom before class begins
Remember – life isn’t fair, but God is good.
G. Washroom Guideline
Encourage parents/guardians to deal with their baby’s toileting needs and to take their children to the washroom prior to each class or event.
For Preschool Children:
Preschool children are not to go to the washroom alone.
If possible, Hall Monitors will get the child’s parent/guardian
One of the following will be adhered to when accompanying preschool children to the washroom:
• Two ministry personnel will escort a group of children to the washroom, or,
• One ministry personnel will escort a group of children to the washroom with one hall monitor appointed to assist with washroom and security duties.
No ministry personnel will ever be alone with a child in an unsupervised washroom.
When a preschool child needs assistance in the washroom, ministry personnel may enter the washroom cubicle to assist utilizing the following guidelines:
• Female ministry personnel only will assist both girls and boys in the washroom,
• The outside washroom door must be propped open and the adult must stand in an open cubicle doorway,
• Ministry personnel will take into consideration the privacy of the child.
For Elementary Children:
The Best Practice is children shall go to the bathroom with a buddy of the same gender and a female personnel shall supervise bathroom visits.
However, if no buddy is available and/or no female personnel are available, then any ministry personnel can supervise bathroom visits.
H. Health and Safety Guideline
All staff and ministry personnel will make themselves familiar with the Children and Youth Ministry Health and Safety Policy of MPAC.
2. All Other Events at the MPAC facility and Special Day Trips
All activities off church grounds will be pre-approved by the Church leadership with parents being notified at least one week prior to the outing.
Proper written consent and medical release forms (Appendices 8 and 9) are required for each child participating in field trips and special events. Forms must be kept in the ministry lead’s possession during trips and events with a photocopy of the completed forms filed in the church office. The originals are to be kept on file permanently.
A mandatory sign-in and sign-out form (Appendix 16) is to be used in all children’s programming.
All trips and outings will be supervised by a minimum of two approved, unrelated adult ministry personnel. There will be at least one male and one female adult supervisor when the children are of mixed genders regardless of the number of children participating in the event.
When planning local special events, it is preferred that parents/guardians drop off and pick up their children at the event location.
Children may not be transported one-on-one by Ministry personnel without written parental consent. The written consent will be kept on file permanently.
Mentoring relationships should be conducted in teams and in public places.
All ministry personnel drivers transporting children during church activities must be pre-approved by the church leadership, provide a copy of their valid Class 5 driver’s license, current automobile insurance in accordance with the church insurance policy, a drivers abstract and have had a minimum of five years of driving experience.
The number of occupants in the vehicle will not exceed the number of seat belts and each child will be in age appropriate safety restraints. Seat belts must be worn by everyone and remain fastened while the vehicle is in running.
Children will not be left unattended in a vehicle.
3. Overnight Events:
All overnight activities will be pre-approved by church leadership.
Proper written consent and medical release forms (Appendix 9) are required for each child participating in overnight events. Forms must be kept in the ministry lead’s possession during trips and events and a photocopy filed in the church office. The originals are to be kept on file permanently.
A mandatory sign-in and sign-out Travel Form (Appendix 11) is to be used in all overnight events.
A minimum of two adult ministry leads (preferably unrelated) will be present for all overnight trips and Out of Town events and
There must be at least one adult male and one adult female accompanying overnight and out of town events involving mixed genders and
One of the adults must to be at least 25 years old.
B. Ministry to Children Ratio
Two ministry personnel with up to and including 10 children.
One additional ministry personnel for each additional 1 to 5 children.
4. Billeting and Hosting
For the protection of our children, it is required that all adults residing in a home where billets are provided must complete the following screening process prior to hosting. Screening includes:
Recommendation from the Senior pastor, and,
Police records check
Information guidelines distributed to host homes no less than one week in advance of the children arriving at their home.
Any allergies and medications for children should be communicated to the host home prior to arrival, with clear directions on how to manage allergies and/or medications.
Children must always be billeted in small groups of the same gender.
Children should have distinctly separate sleeping arrangements from the other household members and be under the supervision of a ministry lead.
Curfews of 10:00 p.m. should be enforced when children are being billeted.
All children staying in host homes are informed of proper etiquette and curfew guidelines. (Appendix 13)
Our first concern in transportation is the safety of our children. Drivers must have a minimum Class 5 license. Drivers must obey all the rules of the road including the speed limits. Reckless or unsafe driving will not be tolerated.
For in-town activities, it is preferred that parents/guardians both drop off and pick up their children at the event location. For out-of-town events, priority will be given to making use of a commercial carrier or a bus with a qualified driver.
All ministry personnel drivers transporting children during church activities must complete the following prior to the event:
• Be pre-approved by the MPAC Board of Elders,
• Provide a copy of their valid driver’s license,
• Provide a copy of their current automobile insurance policy
Provide a driver’s abstract and
• Have a minimum of five years driving experience
Sign the Drivers Contract (Appendix 14)
The number of occupants in the vehicle will not exceed the number of seat belts. Seat belts must be worn by everyone and remain fastened at all times while the vehicle is running.
The original trips and off-site ‘Travel Form’ (Appendix 11) will accompany the group on their trip. A copy of the form will be left in the church office for the duration of the trip. After the trip, the original form will be filed permanently at the church.
6. Discipline Management
All discipline and classroom management will be conducted in a loving and caring environment. All attempts will be made to prevent discipline problems from arising and to avoid the need for remedial discipline. All attempts are to be taken to adhere to the following:
A. Preventative Discipline:
Create a loving, caring atmosphere,
To gain respect, you must grant respect,
Model self-discipline and structure in your own life,
Prepare exciting and interesting classes with short transitions between activities,
Arrange your environment for children and for learning,
Establish and communicate realistic expectations for the children,
Be sure the activities that you provide are meaningful and age-appropriate,
Be fair and consistent with all children,
Be sure your focus is on positive actions and reward positive behaviour,
Be aware of children with special needs and bring their needs to the attention of the ministry lead.
B. Remedial Discipline:
Every effort will be made to deal with problems individually,
Every effort will be made to explain to the child why the behaviour is unacceptable and instruct them in how to do it correctly,
Every effort will be made to redirect the child to positive action,
Every effort will be made to explain the consequences of unacceptable behaviour by defining the correct way to behave as well as the result of the wrong behaviour,
Every effort will be made to offer choices that are acceptable to both you and the child.
Uncooperative children will be returned to their parent/guardian.