Guidelines for Children’s Ministry Volunteers

Because we want the best possible environment for our children and youth to grow up in, it is important that those working with children have guidelines for conduct in order to protect both themselves and those under their care.

Guidelines:

1. Provide appropriate adult supervision at all times for the children for whom you are responsible.

2. Have at least one other adult, eighteen (18) years of age or older, to help with the supervision of children. If you find yourself in a situation where you are the only adult present, under no circumstances should you allow yourself to be alone with one child (the “two-person rule”). This protects the child as well as protecting the adult from possible allegations.

3. When possible, ask a child’s permission before physically touching him/her anywhere, even when responding to an injury or problem. This is especially true for any areas that would normally be covered by a swimsuit.

4. Refrain from physical and verbal attacks and corporal punishment which are inappropriate behaviors and should never be used as discipline. “Time outs” or “sit-in-that-chair” may be helpful discipline methods to use with children.

5. Children may be affirmed with appropriate touching by keeping hugs brief and “shoulder-to-shoulder” or “side- to- side.” For small children who like to sit on laps, encourage them to sit next to you.

6. Provide extra care when taking small children to the restroom. Take another adult along, or leave the door open. When this is not possible, allow only one child at a time to go to the bathroom during class time, but if children are using the bathroom as a group, position yourself where you can supervise the area either visually or audibly.

7. Be aware of conducting activities in rooms that do not have an interior window or viewing area, if not, leave the door open during the activity to allow easy observation by others.

8. Cooperate with the volunteer screening process as required by the church.

9. Become aware of the signs and symptoms of child abuse and aware of the legal requirements for reporting suspected cases of abuse. In addition to any legally required reporting, if you become aware of any behavior by another individual which seems abusive or inappropriate towards children you are supervising, inform appropriate church leadership.

10. Cooperate with church leadership in conducting children and youth ministries by being a volunteer who is loving, kind, firm, and always a thoroughly professional person. Working with children and youth is not only a privilege; it is also a serious responsibility that must be approached with utmost care.

11. Participate in orientation and/or training programs conducted by the church.

12. Uphold the standards of the Markham Woods Church of Seventh-day Adventists.