The Apostolic Faith organization has put in place the following guidelines for young people who serve in church ministries and events. All youth workers who assist in any capacity must be familiar with these policies and agree to follow them.
Youth Worker Application Process
Prospective youth workers must have been in regular attendance at our church for at least one year, and be at least the age required for babysitters in the state if they will be involved in any ministry involving minors. The applicant must submit a Youth Worker Application form (designed for those who are under the age of eighteen). This form includes two personal references and a commitment to abide by the guidelines and policies established by the Apostolic Faith organization. It also includes parent/guardian consent and a release of liability.
The application form (along with any additional requirements established for the particular area of ministry where the applicant will serve) must be completed before the applicant begins assisting in any church-sponsored event. The application must be kept on file in the local church office for insurance purposes.
Youth Worker Responsibilities
Those who serve as youth helpers in the Apostolic Faith Church are required to:
Youth workers must be at least three years older than the children they work with, unless they are working in the same room with and under the supervision of a qualified adult staff member.
Attendance and Record Keeping
Complete and accurate attendance records must be kept of all youth workers who assist in church-sponsored activities. Current address and phone information, including emergency contact numbers, must be kept on file in the church office.
Guidance and Discipline Policy
Youth workers who participate in any church function involving children and youth must be thoroughly familiar with the Guidance and Discipline Policy detailed in the Procedure Guidelines for the ministries in which they serve. The key aspects of this policy are summarized below.
Youth workers who participate in any church function involving children and youth must be thoroughly familiar with the Supervision Policy detailed in the Procedure Guidelines for the ministries in which they serve. The key aspects of this policy are summarized below.
Physical Contact Policy
Youth workers who participate in any church function involving children and youth must be thoroughly familiar with the Physical Contact Policy detailed in the Procedure Guidelines for the ministries in which they serve. The key aspects of this policy are summarized below.
Restroom Assistance Policy
Youth workers who participate in any church function involving children and youth must be thoroughly familiar with the Restroom Assistance Policy detailed in the Procedure Guidelines for the ministries in which they serve. The key aspects of this policy are summarized below.
The following actions on the part of children in our care are not allowed, and could result in dismissal from church-sponsored activities and programs, though the pastor and ministry supervisor will work with the parent/guardian to determine the outcome that is best for the child and the program.
Physical Contact Policy
The Apostolic Faith organization has a physical contact policy which promotes positive, nurturing relationships with the young people in our care while offering protection as well. The following guidelines must be followed by anyone serving in church-sponsored activities for children and youth.
Abuse Prevention and Reporting Policies
The Apostolic Faith organization is committed to providing a safe, secure environment for children and their families, so we make every effort to safeguard the children who have been entrusted to our care. We have zero tolerance for abuse in church programs and activities. It is the responsibility of every staff member and volunteer in the Apostolic Faith work to act in the best interest of all children in every program.
While suspicions or knowledge of abuse are extremely difficult situations, we do not have discretion in this matter: we are legally obligated to immediately fulfill our responsibilities in accordance with state requirements. According to Oregon law (the state in which this organization is registered as a corporation), mandatory reporters include ministers and school teachers, along with law enforcement personnel and medical professionals. (Oregon Statutes: ORS 419B.005, ORS 12.117) For that reason, staff members or volunteers who observe any policy violations or suspected abuse, or receive an allegation of abuse, must immediately report the matter to their ministry supervisor or the pastor.
Definition of Abuse
In general, the term “child abuse” refers to any injury to a minor not caused by accident, which results in observable and substantial impairment of a child’s ability to function, including any injury which appears to be at variance with the explanation given of the injury. This includes sexual abuse or exploitation, negligence, maltreatment, or threatened harm to a child.
Staff members and volunteers should have a basic understanding of the characteristics of sexual predators and their behaviors in “grooming” a child for sexual abuse. Grooming is the process used by an abuser to select a child, win the child’s trust (and the trust of the child’s parent or “gatekeeper”), manipulate the child into sexual activity, and keep the child from disclosing the abuse.
The Apostolic Faith maintains a legally-approved risk management policy regarding children and youth. The following procedures are strictly enforced:
The Apostolic Faith reserves the right to immediately dismiss any volunteer or employee who is accused of violating the procedures and guidelines established by the organization.
Failure to report a prohibited act to the designated person is a violation of this policy and grounds for termination of employment of an employee of the church. Volunteers who fail to report a prohibited act may be restricted from participation in any church activities involving children or youth.
What to Report
Reasonable grounds to report suspected abuse exist if:
Steps in Reporting
If a child or young person discloses that he/she is being abused, or his/her actions suggest that abuse is occurring, staff and volunteers are instructed to take the following steps:
Organizational Response to Allegations of Abuse
When the pastor receives credible information suggesting that abuse has occurred, he will immediately contact Children’s Services Division or the appropriate law enforcement agency in the state. He will also inform the Superintendent General of the allegation. The church will coordinate its internal investigation with the governmental entity involved.
A designated church representative will interact with legal counsel and insurance representatives, and will respond as directed to questions from the media concerning allegations of abuse or neglect. Other staff members should refrain from comment. During the investigation the alleged abuser will not participate in any church activities involving minors.
If the internal or external investigation results in credible evidence supporting the allegations, the pastor will impose appropriate disciplinary restrictions, which may range from dismissal from duty to barring from church attendance.
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