Southeastern Synod Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Safe Church Resources

The Southeastern Synod recommends that each of our congregations have written Safe Church guidelines.

  • We recommend a team of congregational members to write your congregation's guidelines.  Keep in mind who should be on the team.  Think about asking school teachers, parents of both children and youth, a church council representative, an older teen/s, and a staff person.
  • It's very important that you check with your insurance company for specifics that they may require in your policy, as well as, your state laws particularly regarding mandated reporters (who are required by law to report suspected child abuse).
  • A good book to guide your team is written by Joy Thorton Melton, Safe Sanctuaries, Reducing the Risk of Abuse in the Church for Children and Youth.
  • Below are some samples for your team to look at.
  • After your first draft is written run it by your council and other leaders' in your church.  Is this something that we as a congregation can agree with? Guidelines aren't worth the paper it is written on if you cannot or will not follow it. 
  • Once everyone agrees and is comfortable with the guidelines, ask a lawyer to read it and advise.
  • When completed and the church is in agreement, post in public places in your church so everyone is familiar with your guidelines.

 

HELPFUL LINKS

The following website will be very helpful to find your state laws. http://www.childwelfare.gov

Also check with your state's Department of Human Services or Department of Family and Children Services for additional guidance.

Each state is different in regards to where to locate helpful services, as well as who is required to be a mandatory reporter.  Check your state laws when writing your policy.

In 2012, the state of Georgia expanded its mandated reporting pool (those people who are mandated to report suspected child abuse) to include all employees and volunteers whose duties include attending to children.  Another significant change to the law includes designating clergy as mandated reporters under certain circumstances.

ELCA Resources on Safe Church, Background Checks, Hiring and Reporting Misconduct

The following are links to additional resources available from the ELCA:

http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Safe_Connections.pdf

http://www.elca.org/Resources/Legal

http://www.elca.org/Our-Work/Leadership/Vocation-Become-a-Leader/Report-Misconduct

Additional Sites and Resources

Another helpful site is the Faith Trust Institute: http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org

Another resource to order is Sex Offenders in the Church DCLTRO1 from http://churchlawtodaystore.com

http://www.churchsafety.com and http://www.churchlawtodaystore.com have downloadable forms and resources available for a cost.

To learn more about child abuse, mandating reporting in the state of GEORGIA check Children's Healthcare of Atlanta-Child Protection Center for upcoming webinars and training.  http://www.choa.org/childrens-hospital-services/child-protection-center

 

Another good resource related especially to children is the Interfaith Children's Movement in Atlanta.  There are downloadable resources to help educate those who work with children in your congregation. http://icmma.org/

Downloadable samples and guidelines

CDC Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/preventingchildsexualabuse-a.pdf

Church Mutual Insurance Resources: http://www.churchmutual.com/98/Safety-Resources Especially note the preparation resources if a disaster occurs and another for other violent situations.

Safe haven Policy Southwestern Minnesota Synod-ELCA: http://www.swmnelca.org/PDF/preventing_responding/The%20SAFE%20HAVEN%20GUIDELINES.pdf

Lutheran Church of the Resurrection Youth and Child Policy: http://lcrmarietta.org/sites/default/files/Child%20Saftey%20Policy%20Formatted_0.pdf

Safe Church: Child Protection Policy Sample (customizable): http://www.safechurch.com/.../protectionpolicy.doc

Church Pension Group: Model for Protection of Children and Youth from Abuse: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/files/model_policies.pdf 

 
Video Resource

Check out this video from Church Mutual Insurance for why establishing Safe Church Policies are important:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Elt