Child Abuse Policy

POLICY STATEMENT POLICY STATEMENT

In order to safeguard the children entrusted to us, to provide as secure an environment as possible for our ministry participants, to comply with the PA Child Protective Service Law, and to minimize the ministry’s and workers’ vulnerability to unwarranted accusation, the following procedures will be strictly enforced.  (Updated May 13, 2015.)

DEFINITION

Child abuse is defined as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing harm to a person under 18 years of age.  Types of abuse are physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, serious physical neglect, and imminent risk.
ALL volunteers and employees having “direct contact with children” are considered “mandatory reporters” and are required to report all suspected and actual occurrences of abuse.

MINISTRY PRECAUTIONS

1. At least two workers, employees or volunteers (one must be over the age of 16), should be present at all ministry activities.  (For large groups of children, the number of adult supervisors should be increased.)

2. Workers should arrive at least ten (10) minutes before a scheduled activity and should keep watch over those in their care until all have been picked up by an authorized person.  Do not send children out to find their parents and do not release any child to await transportation.

3. Random visits to each event should be made by state board members, the State Director, the county director, and/or county committee members.

4. All unique or nonstandard ministry events must be approved by the State Board, the State Director, the county director, and the county committee.

5. Workers should never touch a child’s private areas and should avoid the appearance of impropriety, such as sitting older children on their lap, kissing on the lips, or long hugs.Workers should never touch a child’s private areas and should avoid the appearance of impropriety, such as sitting older children on their lap, kissing on the lips, or long hugs.

6. A time of instruction regarding the Child Abuse Policy shall be included each year as part of the regular training for each ministry.  As a minimum, the instruction should include: POLICY STATEMENT, DEFINITION, MINISTRY PRECAUTIONS, DISCIPLINE, and REPORTING PROCEDURE.

7. Any suspicious or inappropriate behavior between an employee or volunteer and a child or between two children should be reported.

DISCIPLINE

1. Employees and volunteer workers are never to spank, hit, grab, shake, or otherwise physically discipline any child.

2. Disciplinary problems should be reported to the county director.

REPORTING PROCEDURE

If a volunteer or employee becomes aware that a child is injured, abused, or molested while attending one of this organization’s ministries or that the child has been injured, abused, or molested previous to attending one of this organization’s ministries, he/she should immediately make a report of the incident/observation. This report is to be made by calling ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.  After making the call, the country director must be informed. A written report must then be filed within 48 hours (see director for form CY-47 and instructions).

VERIFICATION

An volunteer or employee will be required to submit and/or complete at the county’s direction the following original clearances and that copies will be retained by the county: Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check, Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance, and Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Federal Criminal History Background or Disclosure Statement Application for Adult Volunteers.