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Keeping the Church Safe

Keeping the Church Safe

First Presbyterian Church

Albuquerque, New Mexico

The purpose of this policy is to:

  • Safeguard children and youth involved in activities and programs

sponsored by First Presbyterian Church

  • To protect First Presbyterian Church’s staff and volunteers from
    false accusations of misconduct
  • To assure our staff and volunteers are trained to recognize the signs
    of abuse

As an organization committed to developing strategies for the prevention
of child abuse in the church, the session of First Presbyterian Church is
committed to making sure that all volunteers who work on behalf of FPC with any children or youth will be properly recruited, screened, trained (on an annual basis), supervised and deemed appropriate to minimize the risk of child abuse. This policy pertains to children and youth are from birth through age 18 or any adult who is developmentally disabled. No one with known prior convictions of physical or sexual child abuser child neglect, child exploitation or other forms of sexual misconduct will be utilized in any capacity in contact with the children or youth.

  • All primary persons who volunteer to work with any children and/or
    youth in any capacity related to the work of FPC will be a member of
    FPC for a period of at least six months.
  • All prospective volunteers who will be working with children and or
    youth shall complete an application, Any information which is
    gathered through the screening process or reporting procedures will
    be held in the strictest confidence and will be restricted to those
    persons with a legitimate need to know.
  • There will be a request for permission to complete a criminal
    background check with the Department of Public Safety.
  • There will be at least two adults in every setting involving children
    and youth. One of these primary adults must be a church member.
  • There may be one primary adult in a room with the door open and
    another adult systematically and periodically checking in.
  • A youth who is 13 years or older may be the second leader in a room
    with children.
  • All primary volunteers are required to attend a Safe Church
    Training Class offered by FPC or the Presbytery of Santa Fe.
  • Childcare may be staffed by two paid staff people who are not
    church members. They must have a criminal background check and
    current certification in Infant/Child CPR and First Aid. They also must
    attend a Safe Church training class,
  • An adult must be over 21 years of age to be an adult leader of youth.
  • An adult must be over 25 years of age to drive children or youth in
    church sponsored events.
  • No child or youth may be in a vehicle alone with any adult.
  • All suspected cases of child abuse will be reported immediately to
    the Christian Education Director or other pastoral staff person. A report will be filled with Child Protective Services as warranted.
  • Picture taking for any purpose is only permitted by authorized persons with written permission granted by a parent/guardian of the child/youth.
  • Posting of photographs of children/youth on the FPC website may only be done by authorized persons.  Written permission specifically for website photographs must be kept as long as the photographs are on the website and until the child reaches the age of 18.
  • Use of social media in any form:  electronic communication with children (email, text messages and social media websites such as Facebook) must conform to written standards as established and agreed in church policies.
  • Employees and volunteers should not have any one-on-one private contact with children through social media.
  • No staff member or volunteer may contact a child/youth under the age of 18 on an individual basis.  All communication must be a group message which must include a minimum of parent/guardian or another staff member.

Individual phone calls between an adult staff member or volunteer and a youth must be limited to a brief message and/or a reminder of an obligation or meeting.