Safe Sanctuaries – Engaging the Congregation

By Melanie C. Gordon

safesanctuaries_bluebuttonwebKeeping Children Safe

Training an entire congregation in Safe Sanctuaries may seem a daunting task, but it is important that everyone – adults, youth, children, and visitors – know the basic commitment to caring for children in our churches.

Policies, Guidelines, and Procedures help us to live into our Baptismal Covenant:

  • Protect our children, youth, and vulnerable adults
  • Protect those who minister to and work with children, youth and vulnerable adults
  • Protect those in our care from physical, emotional, and spiritual harm
  • Honor those who God entrusts to our care

Predators look for settings where children are present, and congregations who do not follow Safe Sanctuaries® Policies and Procedures are exposed to those people who wish to do harm to our children, youth, and vulnerable adults.

This list gives you a place to start, and resources available through The United Methodist Church and the FaithTrust Institute.

  • All adults working directly with children will be Safe Sanctuaries trained
  • Minimum of two non-related, non-cohabitating adults with each group of children
  • All adults will be at least 18 years of age + completed high school and at least 5 years older than the children being supervised
  • All adults working with children will be screened with background checks within three years prior to service, and every two years thereafter
  • At least one adult with each age grouping will have first aid and CPR training
  • Each child will have on file a current emergency medical form
  • No medication will be given to the children except by a parent or guardian
  • Children will be supervised to and from the bathroom at all times
  • Children will be signed in and out by a parent or guardian
  • Children brought to the activity must be free of fever, vomiting, diarrhea and/or other contagious diseases
  • Adult / child ratio
    • Infants 2/5
    • Toddlers 2/8
    • Preschool ages 2/10
    • Elementary ages 2/15
    • Youth 2/13

  • A telephone will be available in the children’s areas at all times
  • Follow state mandated procedures for diaper change, hand washing, toy cleanliness, and food preparation
  • Visitors with children are made aware of church policies and procedures