Security Basics for Church Child Care
By Misty Anne Winzenried
Churches around the nation identified these elements as most important for nursery security:
* Screen volunteers. Kay Wallace of Chapel on the Campus Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, says that requesting background checks for volunteers takes diplomacy and tactfulness, but sometimes requiring the checks can weed out undesirable volunteers before you even do the check.
* Encourage safety precautions. Have volunteers wear name tags. Employ a two-worker rule at all times so one adult is never left alone with a child. So all children can be seen at all times, arrange your rooms openly with bright spaces and no dark corners, and have workers change diapers in one central area. Also, entrance doors to all classrooms should have windows in them.
* Record pertinent information. Keep accurate records for each child such as parents’ names, parents’ locations during time of care, and any special needs of the child.
* Create a child-release policy. Can an older brother or sister pick up a child? Will you require the same person to drop off and pick up a child? How will you ensure that someone who finds a lost stub won’t be able to obtain a child? For each new child, ask the parent to designate one or two people who are allowed to pick up the child, and ask if there are people who are not allowed to pick up the child.
* Plan for the future. James Avinger of Cornwall Park Church of God in Bellingham, Washington, advocates hallways that are closed to anyone without proper clearance, and he recommends bathrooms in all the rooms so volunteers and kids don’t ever have to leave during the service.
* Check every time. When we get too comfortable with a system, we run the risk of compromising kids’ safety.
This article “Security Basics” written by Misty Anne Winzenried is excerpted from Children’s Ministry Magazine.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”