First United Baptist Church of Lowell Safe Church Policy Guidelines for Workers with Youth at FUBC
First United Baptist Church (FUBC) has a long tradition of nurturing children in the faith through its Sunday School and related programs staffed by competent volunteers and paid professional staff. Because we desire to be faithful in responding to the biblical mandate to "let the children come" (Mark 10:14), because we want to provide safe, quality programs for the Youth that participate in the ministries of FUBC, and because we want to protect both those Youth participating as well as those persons working with Youth, we will follow the Guidelines below.
Although these Guidelines apply to youth, these principles of human respect apply to all church staff, volunteers, attendees and guests regardless of age.
Youth shall be defined as individuals aged from birth to 18 years old.
Adult Leader shall be defined as: Sunday School Teachers, Youth Leaders, Adult Leaders with Music Program, and the like. All Adult Leaders must be 21 years of age or older. Volunteers shall be defined as: chaperones, special event volunteers, mission trip volunteers, volunteers age 16-21, and the like. Teenagers (ages 14-18) may assist Adult Leaders in teaching Sunday School and supervising younger youth at play and will be known as Junior Leaders.
Youth will be respected in both actions and words. Abusive, threatening, inappropriate or derogatory language or actions, language or actions that are degrading, sexually suggestive or vulgar will not be used.
Youth will be touched only in appropriate ways and places:
On the hand, shoulder or upper back;
Never against a Youth's will (unless in the case of clear and present danger to the Youth or another Youth);
Never causing discomfort to a Youth;
Never in a sexual manner;
Never in a place on a Youth's body that could be covered by a bathing suit unless for a clear medical necessity, in an emergency, or when a church-approved caregiver is changing a diaper.
Youth will not be hit under any circumstance.
If encountering a particularly difficult Youth, situation, or dispute, assistance will be sought from the Pastor or other Adult Leader if present and a report given to the Discipleship Ministry.
Ministries, events and activities will take place in open areas - not in private offices or spaces. Doors without windows will be left open when sessions with Youth are taking place. A safety gate will be in place in doorways as needed.
Written permission from a parent or guardian is required, and must be submitted to the church office, before Youth are taken off church property for church sponsored events or activities.
When there is an emergency requiring immediate medical attention, 911 will be called. The parent(s) or guardian(s) of the Youth will be contacted immediately and the Pastor or member of the Discipleship Ministry will be informed.
In the event that a Leader is unable to attend a class or event, she should contact Nancy Winter before 9am on Sundays and as soon as possible on other days. All Adult Leaders should help with finding a substitute Adult Leader approved by the Discipleship Ministry for the class or activity that they are leading or supervising.
No Adult Leader, Volunteer or staff member will give medications.
A single Adult Leader or Volunteer may transport Youth as long as multiple Youth are in the vehicle or the parent of the child(ren) agrees in writing that they may be last to be dropped off.
Ministries, events and activities for Youth will be supervised by two approved Adult Leaders or Volunteers. Should unanticipated circumstances result in an Adult Leader or Volunteer being alone with Youth, that adult will report those circumstances as soon as possible to the Pastor or member of the Discipleship Ministry.
No one may serve as an Adult Leader or Volunteer for a ministry, event or activity for Youth without first going through the screening process outlined in this Policy and receiving the approval of the Pastor and member of the Discipleship Ministry.
All Adult Leaders and Volunteers are expected to comply with this Policy during ministries, events and activities. Adult Leaders are expected to supervise the conduct of the Volunteers during the particular ministry, event or activity to see that the Volunteers' conduct complies with this Policy.
Youth may from time to time ask or be asked to assist Adult Leaders with ministries, events and activities with other Youth. Youth age sixteen and older who serve as volunteers assisting Adult Leaders will comply with the Guidelines in this Policy.
Adult Leaders will have access to allergy or emergency medical information for each of the Youth that they are serving. This information is private and will only be used in the event of an emergency.
First Aid Kits will be stocked and available in spaces where children or Youth programming takes place. Adult Leaders will know where these first aid kits are located.
The Discipleship Ministry team and/or the Pastor must be notified in advance of any new programs, trips or events that involve Youth.
No one, under any circumstances, will:
Provide Youth with alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, marijuana, or pornography;
Consume alcohol or illegal drugs or misuse legal drugs at any Youth event;
Be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs or misuse legal drugs at any Youth event;
Engage in illegal behavior or permit other adults or Youth to engage in illegal behavior;
Engage in any sexual, romantic, illicit or secretive relationship or conduct with any Youth;
Discuss their own sexual activities or fantasies with Youth;
Tell jokes or make comments that are sexual or disrespectful of others.
Adults must attend FUBC for a minimum of 6 months before serving in a ministry that involves direct contact with Youth. Parents of youth new to the Sunday School may assist other Adult Leaders or Volunteers without waiting the 6 months upon approval of the Pastor.
State law requires professionals whose work brings them in contact with children to notify the Department of Children and Families (DCF) if they suspect that a child is being abused and/or neglected. Clergy members, including ordained or licensed leaders of any church or religious body, persons performing official duties on behalf of a church or religious body, or persons employed by a religious body to supervise, educate, coach, train or counsel a child on a regular basis must report such abuse. If anyone suspects abuse, they should report it immediately to the Pastor or Church Moderator, who are responsible for verifying the suspicion then reporting to DCF and/or local law enforcement. Refer to the DCF web site for more details. https://www.mass.gov/how-to/report-child-abuse-or-neglect (2018)
The computers of FUBC will have adequate password protection. Any activity on one of the church's computers is not considered private and may be accessed by authorized persons. The visiting or viewing of inappropriate websites or materials as well as the conduction of illegal activities is prohibited on church computers or on any personal devices that are using the church network.
Firearms and concealed weapons are prohibited at any church activity. Any exception must be approved by the Pastor.
We do acknowledge that there may be times when compliance with these Guidelines may not be possible; however, those times should be a rarity.
SCREENING AND SELECTION FOR MINISTRY WITH YOUTH Anyone wishing to work as an Adult Leader for the first time shall fill out an application. The Pastor and/or member of the Discipleship Ministry shall interview the applicant to ensure there is a proper fit for and understanding of the work to be done. FUBC’s designated representative will submit a request for a state background check (CORI) on any paid staff, Adult Leaders or Volunteers who work with Youth. All information will be kept confidential. Should there be any finding on a CORI report, the designated representative shall review this with the Pastor or other member of the Discipleship Ministry to discuss whether such instance will interfere with the applicant’s duties. Each year the Discipleship Ministry will conduct a safe church audit to review practices and policies. This Safe Church Policy will be posted in areas where activities for Youth take place. This Safe Church Policy will be given to parents and signed by all Clergy/Staff, Adult Leaders and Volunteers who work with children or Youth.
SAFE CHURCH TRAINING AND EDUCATION All church Clergy/Staff and Adult Leaders and Volunteers who work with children are required to attend training every three years as appropriate to their role in how to prevent child abuse and promote healthy boundaries in church settings and during church activities. The Discipleship Ministry will keep a record of those who have attended such training. REPORTING AND RESPONDING TO CONCERNS Anyone who knows of a violation of this Policy shall immediately report the violation to the Pastor. Initial oral reports shall be documented in writing to the Pastor and the Church Moderator. Anyone who knows of a violation of these policies on the part of the Pastor should also report these violations to the appropriate denomination authorities (Executive Minister at TABCOM). The Pastoral Staff of FUBC, upon hearing reports of violations of the Policy, shall be responsible for providing appropriate Pastoral care to all those affected and are responsible for taking appropriate remedial and/or disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or volunteer ministry with the church.
CONTACT LIST Pastor - Jim Sinclair TABCOM (978) 448-1445 Lowell Police Department (978) 937-3200 Lowell Fire Department (978) 674-4588 DCF Abuse Hotline 800-792-5200 https://www.mass.gov/how-to/report-child-abuse-or-neglect Emergencies 911 Massachusetts Poison Control Center (800) 222-1222
Worship on Sundays at 10:00AM
99 Church Street Lowell, MA 01852 978-452-9281 FUBoffice@gmail.com