Safe Church Policy

Policy Statement

Click here for the full policy

The intent of the Safe Church Policy of Steinmann Mennonite Church (SMC) is two-fold: to protect children, youth and vulnerable adults from harm and abuse; to prevent litigation against the church and its volunteers. The policy defines unacceptable behaviours and details how to respond. The complete policy will be kept in the church office. The following is a summary of the main points.

1. The policy includes a list of all positions that involve working with children, youth and vulnerable adults. The volunteers on this list will be required to get a police check, complete a Volunteer Registration Form and the Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information.

2. The policy includes definitions of abuse, bullying and inappropriate behaviour.

3. As part of the screening process, coordinators of children and youth programs will invite volunteers, including Baden Summer Bible Camp and mid-week children’s programs, to participate. The assigned Pastor and program coordinators will screen all volunteers. A six-month waiting period will be required before new attendees begin to work with children, youth and vulnerable adults. References may be required.

4. Training will be overseen by VFT Vice Chair to educate volunteers relating to children and youth in the following:
(a) developing healthy relationships and team building,
(b) promoting a safe environment to reduce risk,
(c) recognizing and identifying the possible signs and symptoms of abuse.

5. The policy adopts a basic team approach to children and youth ministries which recommends that there be a minimum of two adults present for all children’s and youth events. A sign in and out sheet will be used in preschool programs. Contact information, parental consent and medical release forms will be collected and maintained for all children and youth.

6. Premises will be maintained to promote safe spaces.

7. Anyone who receives a concern or a complaint, has a duty to report as per the Child and Family Services Act. Contact must also be made with the coordinator of the program concerned and a Pastor.

8. The Response Team consists of a Pastor, Vision Focus Team designate (Vice Chair or otherwise appointed), and others as deemed necessary. The underlying principles of our response strategy recognize that all allegations are to be taken seriously, situations are to be handled promptly with due respect for people’s privacy and confidentiality. In addition, adequate care must be shown for the well-being of all involved, and full co-operation must be given to civil authorities.

At all times, it is the commitment of SMC to maintain a safe and caring place for everyone. It is our sincere desire that our policy and procedures will help all of us to model and encourage healthy relationships, and provide an environment where risk is minimized for physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.

This summary of our Safe Church Policy will be distributed to all households in the congregation. Copies are available to new members and attendees and on our website.

February 21, 2006 — Approved by Vision Focus Team
July 6, 2006 – Adopted by Congregational Meeting
Updated – September 2017
Updated – September 2018