Guidelines for the Protection of Children, Youth and Vulnerable Adults

Purpose

St. Andrew By-The-Sea United Methodist Church is concerned about protecting children, youth, and vulnerable adults. Our first concern is that we do all we can to ensure the welfare of minors and vulnerable adults whom we seek to nurture in the Christian faith. We also want to protect volunteers from false accusations. Therefore, we have established the following guidelines to help protect children from abuse in the church and to protect the volunteers from false allegations of abuse. Throughout these guidelines, we refer to children as those under the age of 12 and youth as those between the ages of 13 and18.

Three Areas of Policy Considerations

  • Screening
  • Church Guidelines
  • Responding to Allegations of Abuse

Screening

A. Considerations

All volunteers that have significant contact with minors must undergo a criminal background check and complete a background check form. All paid employees are required to complete an employment application and submit to a background check. 
Those volunteers required to consent to the background checks are:

  • Volunteer youth (UMYF) counselors
  • Sunday School Teachers of children, youth or vulnerable adults
  • Upward sports adult volunteers
  • Summer camp adult volunteers
  • Any volunteer having significant contact with children, youth or vulnerable adults
  • All adults attending any overnight event involving children or youth

NOTE: Individuals who have been convicted of physical or sexual abuse or neglect may not work in any church-sponsored activity or program for preschoolers, children, youth or vulnerable adults.

B. 6- Month Minimum

No volunteer listed in Section A above will be permitted to work with children, youth or vulnerable adults unless they have been active at St. Andrew By-The-Sea for at least six months. At the discretion of the responsible staff person, limited exceptions to this 6-month minimum requirement will be permitted. When the 
6-month minimum requirement is waived, a Volunteer Application Form must be completed in full (in addition to a background check).

C. Care of Documents

All information will be treated in a confidential manner. All completed forms and/or background checks will be reviewed by the Director of Christian Education or other designated staff person. Except in the case of a response to suspicious information, only the Director of Christian Education or other designated staff person shall have access to the information on these documents. These documents shall be kept in a secure location. If questionable information is disclosed, the Senior Pastor and Chairperson of SPPRC will be consulted.

Church Guidelines

A. Two-Adult Rule

Every attempt will be made to have two adults present in each room when children/youth or vulnerable adults are present. However, when this is not possible, the door to the room shall remain partially open or shall have a window insert in the door, thus allowing for a roving monitor to intermittently check on the group in a non-intrusive manner.

B. Windows in Doors

When practical, rooms where children/youth or vulnerable adults meet shall have window inserts in the doors. Where the doors are solid wood, they shall remain partially open unless two non-related adults are present in the room.

C. Parental Permission Forms

Youth attending a church-sponsored overnight activity (on-site or at another location) and children being taken from the church premises for a church-sponsored activity must have a completed parental permission/waiver form in order to participate in the activity.

Responding to Allegations of Abuse

A. Any questionable or inappropriate behavior affecting children, youth or vulnerable adults shall be reported as soon as possible to the Senior Pastor and/or the Chairperson of the SPPRC whose responsibility it will be to report the allegations, if deemed necessary, to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

  • All allegations will be taken seriously and investigated fully.
  • All action taken to respond to the incident in question will be documented.
  • After advising the Senior Pastor and/or the Chairperson of SPPRC, the parents of the alleged victim will be notified.
  • Confidentiality of all persons involved will be safeguarded unless the incident is reported to a law enforcement agency.

Background Check Form

To be completed upon request by persons desiring to work with children or youth at St. Andrew By-The-Sea United Methodist Church.

Click below to download the Background Check Form and return to:
St. Andrew By-The-Sea UMC
20 Pope Ave
Hilton Head, SC 29928
Safe Sanc Guidelines & Form May 2014