Greetings! As you may or may not have heard by now, there are lots of changes coming with the Protection Policy as the West Michigan and Detroit Conference work to become the Michigan Area Conference January 1, 2019. Much of the information is the same, however the procedures have changed. What does that mean for you?
Here’s how it affects you at the local church:
- Each church will need to send one or more representatives from their church to take the new training in order to go back to their local church and develop or revise their current protection policy.
- Each church will be required to have a protection policy on file with the District by February 1, 2018. If you have a current one (written/revised within two years – Jan 1 2015 or later), it can be submitted anytime to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The local church will be responsible for creating their own training based on their policy and training ALL individuals who work with children, youth and vulnerable adults in their church.
Here’s how it affects you at the District Level:
- All previous certifications at the District and Conference level, no matter when they were issued, expire on Dec 31.
- You will be REQUIRED to renew this authorization in order to work with children and youth. This would include if you are going on a district planned youth/young adult mission trip, district youth retreat, want to get paid to provide child care at district events, volunteer at a district children’s or youth event, etc.
- Getting authorization includes attending a 4-hour training and completing paperwork for the Conference. Once your paperwork is complete and background checks are done, you will receive a card that authorizes you to be with children and youth for three years.
The first training opportunity will be on Nov 9th (10 am – 2pm, Saginaw Bay District Office, register to Tina) will be geared towards those who need authorization to work with children, youth and vulnerable adults at the Cass Community mission trip, the Snow Kidding Youth event or are participating in the District Confirmation or wish to provide child care for the Feb 3rd or April 21st District event (paying opportunity).
More authorization sessions will be held after the first of the year. Class sizes will be limited to 12 participants so as to allow adequate discussion and Q & A time.
If you are writing/updating your policy, here are some factors to consider including:
- CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY and get information on what/who your insurance covers and what language needs to be in your plan. Not all plans cover volunteers, so double check your coverage.
- Background check timelines for all paid staff and volunteers who work with children (how often? State? National? DHS?)
- Sick policy for the nursery and any Sunday school, mid-week programs
- An inclement weather policy/cancellation process
- When/who will be responsible for training your church volunteers on your protection policy and how often
- Transportation guidelines in the event of field trips, travel to district events or youth functions
- Permission and medical forms
- Reporting procedures
- Communication plan
- Injury prevention/age appropriate toys
- Infection control
This is not an all inclusive list, however some topics you might not have considered. If you have any questions on updating your policy, please contact me at my email or phone.
Have a super day!
Saginaw Bay District Children’s Ministry Coordinator