SUPPORTING MATERIALS FOR THE CINCINNATI MENNONITE FELLOWSHIP SAFE SANCTUARY PLAN

Adopted November 15, 2010 by the Safe Sanctuary Committee
with Additions – August 15, 2017

APPENDICES
3.1 Memo of Understanding Form for Sunday Morning Workers
3.2 Memo of Understanding Form for Pastor, Youth Sponsors, Chaperones, and Mentors
3.3 Information Form for Youth Sponsors
3.4 Release of Information Form for Youth Sponsors
3.5 Reference Check for Applicants for Youth Sponsors
3.6 Memo of Understanding Form for Parents
3.7 Parent Permission Form for Overnight Stays
5.1 Suggestions and Possibilities for Training and Education
5.2 Sample Training Outline
6.1 Suggestions and Possibilities for Implementation of the Plan
7.1 Summary of Ohio Law on Reporting Child Abuse
8.1 Suggestions and Possibilities for a CMF Response to a Report of Abuse or Suspected Abuse
8.2 Flow Chart Summarizing a Possible CMF Response to a Report of Abuse or Suspected Abuse
(may be found HERE)
8.3 Congregational Care Plan
8.4 Incident Reporting Form
8.5 Documentation of call to 241-KIDS
9.1 Suggestions and Possibilities for Documentation and Record keeping
Appendix 3.1: Memo of Understanding for Sunday Morning Workers

Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship is committed to providing a secure and healthy environment for all children and youth who participate in its ministries and activities. It is important that volunteers and paid staff who work with children and youth model positive interactions with their charges. We believe that persons convicted of any form of child abuse or other crimes of violence may be compromised in their ability to interact with children. These persons must bring such convictions to the attention of the pastor or Safe Sanctuary Committee before volunteering to work with children or youth.

We require that all workers with children and youth read and consider the CMF Safe Sanctuary Plan as part of their commitment to providing safe settings for children and youth in our fellowship.

*********************************************************************************
As a volunteer or staff member in this congregation:

1. I agree to observe the 2-adult rule so that no adult is left alone with children or youth on a routine basis. (Children’s Circle and nursery are exempted because they are in an open area.) Yes_____ No______

2. If I’m under 18 years, I agree to always work with an adult supervisor. Yes _____No_____

3. I agree to participate in periodic training provided by CMF which may include steps for reporting abuse, respecting physical boundaries, understanding of abusive or intimidating language, etc. Yes ______No______

4. I agree to report any incidence of abuse that I might witness during a church-sponsored activity and any such incident that a child/youth might report to me. Yes ______No______

5. I will hold in confidence any such report that I make and respect the privacy rights of the parties involved. Yes ______No______

6. I have been convicted of child abuse or other crimes of violence. Yes______ No_______

7. If I answered Question 6 above with a “Yes,” I have talked to either the pastor or a member of the Safe Sanctuary Committee about this conviction. Yes______ No________

 

I HAVE READ THE ARTICLE (WATCHED THE VIDEO) RECOMMENDED FOR THIS YEAR’S TRAINING Yes____No___

Signature______________________________ Print name ___________________________Date___________

Parent signature if Volunteer is 17 or younger ____________________________ Date___________

Appendix 3.2: Memo of Understanding for Pastor and Youth Sponsors

Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship is committed to providing a secure and healthy environment for all children and youth who participate in its ministries and activities. It is important that volunteers and paid staff who work with children and youth model positive interactions with their charges. We believe that persons convicted of any form of child abuse or other crimes of violence may be compromised in their ability to interact with children. These persons must bring such convictions to the attention of the pastor or Safe Sanctuary Committee before volunteering to work with children or youth.

We require that all workers with children and youth read and consider the CMF Safe Sanctuary Plan as part of their commitment to providing safe settings for children and youth in our fellowship.

*********************************************************************************
As a pastor or youth group sponsor,
1. I agree to observe the 2-adult rule so that no adult is left alone with children or youth on a routine basis.
Yes_____ No_____

2. I agree to report any incidence of abuse that I might witness during a church-sponsored activity and any
such incident that a child/youth might report to me. Yes _____No_____

3. I will hold in confidence any such report that I make and respect the privacy rights of the parties involved.
Yes_____ No_____

4. I have read and am familiar with the scope and specifics of CMF’s Safe Sanctuary Plan. Yes_____ No_____

5. I agree to participate in periodic training provided by CMF which may include steps for reporting abuse,
respecting physical boundaries, understanding of abusive or intimidating language, etc. Yes_____ No____

6. I understand that I will be asked 1) to supply references, including former churches that I have attended
and/or pastored and 2) to secure an FBI check at CMF’s expense. Yes_____ No_____

7. If I have email contact with a child or youth, I will copy an additional adult on the email, possibly the
parent. If I have other electronic or online communication with church youth, I will include a second adult
in the communication. Yes_____ No_____

8. If I counsel a child or youth, I will observe the spirit of the two-adult rule by conversing with the young
person in a public space or making sure that the parent(s) or another adult are aware of the meetings.
Yes_____ No_____

9. If I am/become a youth group sponsor, I agree that
a. I will strive to inform parents ahead of time of supervision details for youth gatherings–number of
chaperones, time, place, driver, etc. Yes_____ No_____
b. If a family hosts a youth group activity in their home, I or one of the other youth sponsors will be
present. Yes_____ No_____

Signature_________________________________________ Date_______

Print name________________________________________

Appendix 3.3: Information Form for Youth Sponsors

 

Name___________________________________________________________Phone_____________________

Address___________________________________________________________________________________

I anticipate serving as _____________________________________________ for the school year__________ or

for a more indefinite period starting _____________________.

I have been attending CMF since _________.

Names and addresses of previous church (es):

1)__________________________________________________________________________________________

2)__________________________________________________________________________________________

Other experience supervising children and youth:

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

First aid training? ___Yes ___No Date completed_________ CPR training? ___Yes ___No Date completed ________

Have you ever been convicted or pleaded guilty to a crime (including drug-related charges, child abuse, other crimes of violence, moving motor vehicle violations)? Yes____ No____ If Yes, please explain.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________

By my signature I attest to the truth of the information I have supplied.

Signature_____________________________________

I agree to an FBI check at CMF’s expense, the results of which will be kept in a confidential file for the period of time designated by the Safe Sanctuary Committee.

Signature indicates agreement ___________________________________________Date_________

Appendix 3.4: Release of Information Form for Youth Sponsors

I give Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship permission to contact the employers, organizations, and churches I have listed as references, and I authorize these contacts to release whatever information they deem relevant to my fitness for the positions of youth sponsor/mentor at CMF.

Signature_________________________________________________Date________________

Print name________________________________________________

Former churches (please include contact information):

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

Previous or ongoing experience supervising youth and/or children (please include name and contact information of your supervisor):

________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

Current or most recent employer:

________________________________________________________________________________

Other references — optional (please include contact information):
________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

Appendix 3.5: Reference Check Form for Applicants for Youth Sponsors

Applicant’s name_____________________________________________ Date of call___________
Reference name________________________________________________Phone_____________
Reference position________________________________________________
Suggested questions:
What is your relationship to the applicant?_____________________________________________
Would you verify the applicant’s dates of employment/attendance in your church?____________
How long have you known her/him?__________________________________________________
How would you describe his/her ability to relate to youth?________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
How would you describe her/his leadership ability?______________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
Do you have any knowledge that she/he has ever been convicted of child abuse or other crimes of violence? _______________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
What are his/her strengths? ________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
What are her/his areas of growth?___________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
What interpersonal skills does the applicant possess?____________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
Other comments_________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________

Interviewer’s signature____________________________________ Date___________________

Print name_______________________________________________

Appendix 3.6: Memo of Understanding for Parents

I have read the CMF Safe Sanctuary Plan and understand its implications for me as the parent of a child or youth involved in Sunday School and other service/ recreational activities at CMF.

Specifically, I understand that

1. In unstructured congregational gatherings like potlucks and social gatherings, I am responsible for my own children.

2. During transition times, e.g. between Sunday School and worship, and after worship, I am responsible for my own children.

3. When I contract with CMF youth for childcare, during a CMF meeting or choir rehearsal for which CMF has not arranged childcare, I am responsible for supervising the youth who are providing the childcare. I understand that I may share the supervision of the youth caring for my children with other parents who are also utilizing these services.

4. My child 12 or younger may volunteer to help with children’s programs provided an adult is present to supervise.

5. My teen child who volunteers to help with childcare will be required to sign the Memo of Understanding for Sunday Morning Workers and to participate in orientation/training provided by CMF.

6. When youth have an event with an overnight stay away from CMF, parents will complete a permission form.

I HAVE READ THE ARTICLE (WATCHED THE VIDEO) RECOMMENDED FOR THIS YEAR’S TRAINING Yes____No___

Signature______________________________ Print name ___________________________Date___________

Appendix 3.7 Parent Permission Form for Overnight Stays

Parent/Guardian___________________________________________________gives permission for my child________________________ to travel with Youth Sponsors from Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship on an overnight excursion to_______________________ , date(s) of trip________________.

Parent/Guardian Phone________________________________________________________________
Emergency contact if parent can’t be reached______________________________________________
Primary care doctor_________________________________ Phone_____________________________
Dentist___________________________________________ Phone______________________________
Medical Issues_________________________________________________________________________
Allergic reactions_______________________________________________________________________
If your child may/must receive a prescription or other medicine, include details below. All medications must be in the original labeled packaging and placed in a clear plastic bag labeled with your child’s name.
Name of medicine______________________Condition for which it is prescribed___________________
Dose______________Time/Frequency________________ other details___________________________
Name of medicine______________________Condition for which it is prescribed___________________
Dose______________Time/Frequency________________ other details___________________________

Any other information that might be helpful to sponsors in understanding your child’s behavior (such as habits, anxiety triggers, sensory needs, etc.) ________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
By signing here, I give sponsors on the CMF overnight trip permission to approve/initiate necessary medical treatment in my absence and after reaching me by phone, if warranted, to discuss treatment options.
Parent /Guardian name____________________Signature_________________________Date_______
Please attach a copy of health insurance card.

Appendix 5.1: Suggestions and Possibilities for Training and Education

• Volunteer training on the Safe Sanctuary Plan could be provided as part of an orientation for new workers with periodic updates for all workers with children and youth. Appendix 5.2 includes an outline of possible training as well as listing other resources (videos, community agencies that collaborate in providing training, books) that may be used in training.

• Family education opportunities may be provided periodically to discuss issues of safety, trust, and healthy relationship building with adults and peers that affect their children’s positive involvement in the spiritual life of CMF.

• Educational materials may be made available in the CMF library.

Appendix 5.2: Sample Training Outline

Prayer of invocation

Scripture

Board exercise: List some of the ways we at CMF have honored the pledge we make at a child’s dedication to bring the child up with knowledge of God’s love. The Safe Sanctuary Plan is the latest way in which we take care of CMF children and youth.

Introduction to content: This info in this section could be presented as Power Point slides.
1. Brief citing of current stories in news of child sexual abuse and/or statistics of prevalence in order to frame today’s training.
2. Definitions of kinds of child abuse and symptoms of child abuse
3. Who are the abusers? Examples of minor on minor abuse, abuse by family member or trusted friend, abuse by teacher or coach or pastor/church worker. Explore examples for power/vulnerability issues.

Review of CMF Safe Sanctuary Plan: Pass out copies of the Plan. Focus on these sections for training purposes:
1. Screening (Volunteers may actually complete any required forms.)
2. Reporting – how to
3. Review issues of confidentiality: Screening documents and the rights and responsibilities of all parties if an incident were reported.

Practice in reporting: Use original scenarios to practice the steps of reporting.

Closing: Recall the original scripture reading; embellish with words of insight from today’s discussion.
Volunteers will read and sign the appropriate CMF’s Memo of Understanding and pin to prepared bulletin board or put in offering basket.

Alternatives:
1. Use a video in training such as Bless Our Children: Preventing Sexual Abuse or Hear Their Cries: Religious Response to Child Abuse, both available from Faith Trust Institute. One segment of the Reducing the Risk training video (#9 Responding to an Allegation) might suit our purposes.

2. Discuss the Safe Sanctuary Plan and rules in context of an effective children’s ministry. That is, spend additional time brainstorming ways to encourage cooperation, adapting for individual differences, making activities more developmentally appropriate, using relational strengths to help Sunday School classes gel, using respectful and responsive language to help children feel heard, etc.

Appendix 6.1: Suggestions and Possibilities for Implementation of the Plan

Initial Proposal for Committee Structure and Operation:

1) 4-member committee

• The chair of the committee – to be the Plan administrator. A three year term is suggested.

• Current CMF Council member – to be responsible for background checks. A one year term is suggested.

• Christian Education Committee member – to be responsible for coordinating educational opportunities. A two year term is suggested.

• Records custodian – to be responsible for the filing and the maintaining of all confidential records. A three-year term is suggested.

2) The responsibilities of the Safe Sanctuary Committee would most likely include:

• Reviewing the current Plan periodically and implementing needed modifications to the Plan, engaging the congregation as needed in the process

• Educating the congregation about the Plan and providing copies of the Plan to members

• Consulting as a committee and with the congregation to help interpret the Safe Sanctuary Plan as unique situations arise

• Managing a Safe Sanctuary Committee implementation budget

• Screening for workers and volunteers

• Orientation and training for workers

• Helping implement the two-adult rule

• Maintaining orientation and educational materials about abuse in the church library for families and workers

• Overseeing the reporting of an incident of child sexual abuse to the state of Ohio and overseeing a church response to any such report

• Filing and securing until disposal all paperwork related to the implementation of the Plan: background checks; signed worker forms; and reports and records related to an incident (including but not limited to incidence reports; incident meeting notes/correspondence; instructions from Law Enforcement/ Children’s Services; insurance claims records and correspondence; and litigation files and associated documents and correspondence) See Appendix 9.1

Appendix 7.1: Summary of Ohio Law on Reporting Child Abuse
Editor’s note: Below are abridged versions of some of the relevant Ohio statutes dealing with the reporting of child abuse and neglect. The shaded titles are not part of the statute but inserted to aid in understanding the content of the various sections. Some language has been omitted where it was thought not to be relevant to the CMF church setting. Italicized print indicates explanatory language or a paraphrase of the language in the statute. Underlining is added to assist in understanding the provisions if you are skimming the material and important phrases are highlighted.
_________________________

ORC CHAPTER 2151, v. October 6, 2009

Section 2151.421 Reporting child abuse or neglect

(A)(1)(a) REPORT MUSTBE MADE BY CERTAIN PERSONS

(A)(1)(a) No person described in division A(1)(b) of this section (see paragraph below) who is acting in an official or professional capacity and knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to suspect, that a child under eighteen years of age or a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired child under twenty-one years of age has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the child shall fail to immediately report that knowledge or reasonable cause to suspect to the entity or persons specified in this division. … (T)he person making the report shall make it to the public children services agency or a municipal or county peace officer in the county in which the child resides or in which the abuse or neglect is occurring or has occurred. In the circumstances described in section 5120.173 of the Revised Code, the person making the report shall make it to the entity specified in that section.

(A)(1)(b) – WHO MUST REPORT IN CHURCH SETTING

(b) Division (A)(1)(a) (the previous paragraph above) of this section applies to any person who is … (a) person, other than a cleric (who has special rules below), rendering spiritual treatment through prayer in accordance with the tenets of a well-recognized religion…

(A)(2)… (Attorney & Physician Privilege) (not relevant)

(A)(3)… (Waiver of Attorney & Physician Privilege) (not relevant)

(A)(4)(a) – – WHO MUST REPORT IF ABUSER IS CHURCH OFFICIAL OR EMPLOYEE

(4)(a) No cleric and no person, other than a volunteer, designated by any church.., acting as a leader, official, or delegate on behalf of the church. … who is acting in an official or professional capacity, who knows, or has reasonable cause to believe …, that a child under. . (ages)… has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any. . (harm or threat thereof).. .that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the child, and who knows, or has reasonable cause to believe that another cleric or another person, other than a volunteer, designated by a
church, acting as a leader, official, or delegate on behalf of the church… caused, or poses the threat of causing… (harm or threat thereof)…shall fail to immediately report that knowledge or reasonable cause to believe to the entity or persons specified in this division. The person making the report shall make it to the public children services agency or a municipal or county peace officer in the county in which the child resides or in which the abuse or neglect is occurring or has occurred…

(i.e. Criminal offense if church leader fails to report knowledge or reasonable suspicion of abuse by other church leaders. Volunteers exempt.)

(A)(4) (b, c, &d) (CLERIC – PENITENT RELATIONSHIP & PRIVILEGE)

(b) Except as provided in division (A)(4)(c) of this section, a cleric is not required to make a report pursuant to division (A)(4)(a) of this section concerning any communication the cleric receives from a penitent in a cleric-penitent relationship, if, in accordance with division (C) of section 2317.02 of the Revised Code, the cleric could not testify with respect to that communication in a civil or criminal proceeding.

(c) The penitent… (person who confesses in a cleric-penitent relationship described in division (A)(4)(b) of this section)… is deemed to have waived any testimonial privilege under division (C) of section 2317.02 of the Revised Code with respect to any communication the cleric receives from the penitent in that cleric-penitent relationship, and the cleric shall make a report pursuant to division (A)(4)(a) of this section with respect to that communication, if all of the following apply:

(i) The penitent, at the time of the communication, is either a child under eighteen years of age or a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired person under twenty-one years of age.

(ii) The cleric knows, or has reasonable cause to believe based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to believe, as a result of the communication… the penitent has suffered or faces a threat of suffering… (harm or threat thereof)…

(iii) The abuse or neglect does not arise out of the penitent’s attempt to have an abortion… in accordance with section 2151.85 of the Revised Code.

(d) Divisions (A)(4)(a) and (c) of this section (required reporting of church official about another church official) do not apply in a cleric-penitent relationship when the disclosure of any communication the cleric receives from the penitent is in violation of the sacred trust.

(e) As used in divisions (A) (1) and (4) of this section, “cleric” and “sacred trust” have the same meanings as in section 2317.02 of the Revised Code. (This is set out below)

(B)- WHO MAY REPORT

(B) Anyone who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect … that a child under . . .(age)… has suffered or faces a threat of … (harm or threat thereof),… may report or cause reports to be made of that knowledge or reasonable cause to suspect to the (children’s services or the police). … a person making a report or causing a report to be made under this division shall make it or cause it to be made to the public children services agency or to a municipal or county peace officer.

(C)- CONTENTS OF REPORT

(C) Any report made pursuant to division (A) or (B) of this section shall be made forthwith either by telephone or in person and shall be followed by a written report, if requested by the receiving agency or officer, The written report shall contain:

(1) The names and addresses of the child and the child’s parents or the person or persons having custody of the child, if known;

(2) The child’s age and the nature and extent of the child’s injuries, abuse, or neglect that is known or reasonably suspected or believed, as -applicable, to have occurred or of the threat of injury, abuse, or neglect that is known or reasonably suspected or believed, as applicable, to exist, including any evidence of previous injuries, abuse, or neglect;

(3) Any other information that might be helpful in establishing the cause of the ….(harm or threat thereof)…

(D), (E), and (F) (not relevant).

(G)- IMMUNITY FROM CIVIL OR CRIMINAL LIABILITY FOR GOOD FAITH REPORT

(G) (1) (a) Except as provided in division (H) (3) of this section, anyone (read-church officials) … participating in the making of reports under division (A) of this section, anyone (read volunteers or anyone else) or any hospital, institution, school, health department, or agency participating in good faith in the making of reports under division (B) of this section, and anyone participating in good faith in a judicial proceeding resulting from the reports, shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability for injury, death, or loss to person or property that otherwise might be incurred or imposed as a result of the making of the reports or the participation in the judicial proceeding.

(b) (not relevant)

(2) REPORT FOUND NOT TO BE IN GOOD FAITH

(2) In any civil or criminal action or proceeding in which it is alleged and proved that participation in the making of a report under this section was not in good faith or participation in a judicial proceeding resulting from a report made under this section was not in good faith, the court shall award the prevailing party reasonable attorney’s fees and costs and, if a civil action or proceeding is voluntarily dismissed, may award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to the party against whom the civil action or proceeding is brought.

(H) CONFIDENTIALITY OF REPORT AND REPORTER

(H) (1) Except as provided in divisions (H) (4) and (N) of this section, a report made under this section is confidential. The information provided in a report made pursuant to this section and the name of the person who made the report shall not be released for use, and shall not be used, as evidence in any civil action or proceeding brought against the person who made the report. Nothing in this division shall preclude the use of reports of other incidents of known or suspected abuse or neglect in a … (court proceeding)…, provided that any information in a report that would identify the child…or the maker of the report, … has been redacted. In a criminal proceeding, the report is admissible in evidence in accordance with the Rules of Evidence and is subject to discovery in accordance with the Rules of Criminal Procedure.

(2) No person shall permit or encourage the unauthorized dissemination of the contents of any report made under this section.

(3) A person who knowingly makes or causes another person to make a false report under division (B) of this section … is guilty of a violation of (criminal) section 2921.14 of the Revised Code.
(remainder of 2151.421 not relevant)

CHAPTER 2317: EVIDENCE

*2317.02 Privileged communications.

The following persons shall not testify in certain respects:

(A) & (B) (not relevant)

(C)(1) A cleric, when the cleric remains accountable to the authority of that cleric’s church, denomination, or sect, concerning a confession made, or any information confidentially communicated, to the cleric for a religious counseling purpose in the cleric’s professional character. The cleric may testify by express consent of the person making the communication, except when the disclosure of the information is in violation of a sacred trust and except that, if the person voluntarily testifies or is deemed by division (A)(4)(c) of section 2151.421 of the Revised Code to have waived any testimonial privilege under this division, the cleric may be compelled to testify on the same subject except when disclosure of the information is in violation of a sacred trust.

(2) As used in division (C) of this section:

(a) “Cleric” means a member of the clergy, rabbi, priest, Christian Science practitioner, or regularly ordained, accredited, or licensed minister of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect.

(b) “Sacred trust” means a confession or confidential communication made to a cleric in the cleric’s ecclesiastical capacity in the course of discipline enjoined by the church to which the cleric belongs, including, but not limited to, the Catholic Church, if both of the following apply:

(i) The confession or confidential communication was made directly to the cleric.

(ii) The confession or confidential communication was made in the manner and context that places the cleric specifically and strictly under a level of confidentiality that is considered inviolate by canon law or church doctrine.

Appendix 8.1: Suggestions and Possibilities for a CMF Response to a Report of Abuse or Suspected Abuse

As Christians, we must be able to respond to others regarding allegations of abuse: the victim and his or her family, the accused, Children’s Services (and law enforcement if the situation requires it), and the community at large. These procedures are set out to assist in that response. We provide these procedures as a starting point, and expect that experience might suggest modifications to the procedures.

A. PROCEDURES WHEN THERE IS KNOWLEDGE OR REASONABLE SUSPICION OF ABUSE

Making the Report

1. It is the responsibility of a volunteer/staff person working with children or youth at CMF who knows or reasonably suspects that a child or youth has suffered injury or faces a threat of suffering injury from abuse or neglect to immediately (within 24 hours) report that knowledge or suspicion as follows.

2. The report is to be made to Children’s Services or to local law enforcement. If the situation is not an emergency, (meaning, if the safety of the victim is not in question) the Reporter should promptly inform either the pastor or a Safe Sanctuary Committee member for assistance in making the report to the authorities. If neither the pastor nor one of the Safe Sanctuary Committee members is available, the reporter should promptly inform a Christian Education Committee member or any person who is supervising the endangered child or youth at the time and that person will assist the Reporter in making the report.

3. The Reporter must make him or herself available to personally give this information to the authorities. The CMF member who is contacted per paragraph 2 above by the Reporter should assist and keep a record of the report being made to authorities. An incident-reporting form is suggested in Appendix 8.4. A form for documenting the call to Children’s Services is included in Appendix 8.5.

4. If the Reporter believes utilizing the procedure set out in Steps 2 and 3 above might expose the child or youth to a greater danger of abuse, the Reporter should make the report to the proper authorities and contact the appropriate church members as quickly as possible thereafter.

After the Initial Report

1. If it has not yet been done, the Reporter and/or the assisting CMF member is to notify the pastor and the chair of the Safe Sanctuary Committee and give all documentation to the chair. In the event that the alleged offender is the chair, the report is to be given to the Church Council chair, who is then also to implement Step 2 below. (See also Step 12 below.)

2. The Safe Sanctuary Committee chair is to convene the Response Team. The Response Team will initiate its meeting as soon after the alleged incident as possible, after the initial report. A likely configuration of a Response Team would include 1) the Safe Sanctuary Committee chair; 2) the Church Council chair; 3) a member of the Spiritual Leadership Team; 4) the pastor; 5) additional members as deemed important at such a time.

3. The Response Team is to assure the safety of the child or youth.

4. The Response Team will take action to gather all necessary information regarding the incident, while taking all necessary precautions not to interfere with any official investigation.

5. At least two members of the Response Team are to meet with the alleged victim and the alleged victim’s parents. The first concern is to be the alleged victim’s safety and the family’s needs. The Response Team members are to also discuss with the alleged victim and his/her parents whom the Team will designate to serve as their liaison. The liaisons are to address questions and other needs and concerns which may emerge during the investigation.

6. At least two members of the Response Team are to contact the alleged offender and notify him/her that while the investigation is proceeding he/she is to be removed from further church involvement with children and youth. These members of the Response Team are to discuss with the alleged offender and his/her family whom the Team will designate to serve as their liaison. The liaisons are to address questions and other needs and concerns which may emerge during the investigation.

7. Church Council will notify insurance when deemed appropriate, but no later than 30 days after the initial report was made.

8. The Response Team is to notify the congregation when deemed appropriate.

9. The Response Team is to appoint one of its members to be the CMF spokesperson to the media.

10. The Response Team is responsible for providing leadership in relating to the alleged offender, alleged victim, and the congregation until the investigation is complete. A flow chart is included in Appendix 8.2 to summarize the proposed responsibilities of the Response Team during such a time.

11. The Response Team is to facilitate the formation of a Care Team, following the Guidelines for Congregational Care in Appendix 8.3. The Care Team is to be responsible for longer term care to all within the congregation who are in need of care, counseling, and support in relation to this incident.

12. If the alleged offender is a member of the Safe Sanctuary Committee, the Church Council chair, or the pastor, that person will be excused from his or her duties designated under the Plan until the allegations are resolved.

B. IF THERE IS UNCERTAINTY ABOUT REPORTING THE INFORMATION

1. If a volunteer/staff person working with children or youth at CMF has some concern that a child or youth might be suffering or faces the threat of injury, but the evidence is inconclusive the volunteer/staff person is asked to talk to either the pastor or a Safe Sanctuary Committee member.

2. If the pastor or the Safe Sanctuary Committee member who received information in Step 1, believes, based on the information s/he has received, that there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child or youth has suffered or faces the threat of suffering injury that indicates abuse or neglect, the recipient should assist the volunteer/staff member in making a report as outlined above.

3. If the pastor or Safe Sanctuary Committee member believes, based on the information s/he has received, that the concern should not be reported to Children’s Services, (i.e., that there is not a reasonable cause to suspect that a child or youth has suffered or faces the threat of suffering injury that indicates abuse or neglect), the pastor or committee member is nevertheless to notify the Chair of the Safe Sanctuary Committee and the pastor of the concern and deliver all documentation to the Committee.

The Committee as a whole and the pastor are then to promptly (within 14 days is suggested) review the decision. If the committee and the pastor decide that reporting the concern to Children’s Services is not appropriate, possible issues for the committee to address would be:
• If Children’s Services can provide a list of criteria to determine when a report should be made, these criteria should be addressed.
• Determine if the concern should be discussed with the parents or legal guardian(s) of the child or youth.
• Determine if there are any other individuals who may have information that would be helpful in making the decision to report or not to report the concern to Children’s Services.

C. GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR A CHURCH RESPONSE TO AN INCIDENT

We present the following as guiding principles when confronting such a situation in an effort to empower the Reporter and the Response Team through this difficult process, as well as promote the safety and confidentiality of all involved parties:

• The first priority shall be securing the safety of the child or youth. Only at some later point will the alleged offender be approached (as described in Section A, After the Initial Report, Step 6 above).

• How an adult responds to a child or youth when he/she tries to disclose abuse can influence the outcome of his/her victimization. By maintaining an apparent calm, the adult can help assure the child or youth that everything is going to be okay. By not criticizing him/her, any statements the alleged offender may have made to the child or youth about his/her getting into trouble can be counteracted. The adult is to reassure the child or youth of concern about what happened and tell him/her that help will be sought.

The adult needs to remember not to ask leading questions. For example, the adult might say, “Tell me what happened” and then allow the child to tell in his/her own way without interrupting or prompting.

• Written documentation of the information received and reported should be kept in a confidential file. An incident-reporting form is suggested in Appendix 8.4, and a form for documenting the call to Children’s Services is included in Appendix 8.5.

• If the media become involved, it is important that the appointed CMF spokesperson (see Section A, After the Initial Report, Step 9 above) be the only contact with the media. The spokesperson would want to emphasize the church’s position on child abuse, its concern for the welfare of the child or youth in question, the steps the church is taking to address the present incident, and the attempts the church is taking to reduce the risk and to provide and maintain a safe environment for other children and youth.

Appendix 8.2 Flow Chart Summarizing a Possible CMF Response to a Report of Abuse or Suspected Abuse (may be found HERE)
Appendix 8.3: Congregational Care Plan

Just as the experience of sexual abuse can be a traumatic event in the life of a child or youth, the same is true for the parents and church members surrounding that young person. Feelings of trust and safety in the faith community may be shattered: “How could this happen in our group? Why didn’t the pastor/Safe Sanctuary Committee/youth group sponsors prevent this tragedy? How do we know the child is telling the truth?” These are expected questions. Reactions toward the alleged offender may range from feeling that it is unfair (Didn’t Jesus teach us to forgive?) to him/her to turn the investigation over to Children’s Services (CS) to wanting to expel the alleged offender from membership even before the investigation is completed. Some may experience a crisis in their faith in God as a loving and caring presence. How individuals will respond in such a crisis will depend upon their previous experiences with trauma (if any) and loss. The loss to the child of innocence and his/her sense of trust and safety will be reflected in the parents and the rest of the faith community. Feelings of shame and of brokenness are common. For the group to go forward in a healthy way, the group’s loss must be acknowledged and mourned.

During the Investigation

Without knowing the details of the actual incident, it is impossible to make a definitive plan for congregational care, but some procedures and principles may be outlined: As was outlined in Appendix 8.1, during the time the investigation is being completed, it is the responsibility of the Response Team to plan for the care needed in the congregation. The Response Team would designate a liaison between the team and the alleged victim and his/her parents and another liaison between the team and the alleged abuser and his/her family. The liaisons could address issues from those parties with the Response Team and attempt to answer questions during the difficult period when the CS was completing its investigation. In addition, several other Response Team members—the pastor and perhaps a Spiritual Leadership Team member and/or mental health professional, depending upon their availability and gifts—would want to think through what information needed to be shared with the congregation and when. The rights of the alleged victim to confidentiality and the assumption of the alleged offender’s innocence until the CS’s findings are known would be important principles. Given CMF’s size, all involved—the Reporter and the Response Team–would need to be committed to maintaining the alleged victim’s and alleged offender’s confidentiality unless these parties voluntarily would choose to identify themselves.

Following the Investigation

After the Children’s Services’ findings are known, it is expected that the oversight of congregational care would shift from the Response Team to a Congregational Care Team. Ideally, the core of this team would include the persons from the Response Team who had already begun providing such care—including the pastor and perhaps the liaisons already designated. (Alternatively, this ongoing care might simply be assumed by the pastor and Spiritual Leadership Team.) Depending on need, separate care teams could be appointed to continue to work with the victim and his/her parents and with the offender (or exonerated member) and his/her family to identify spiritual, emotional and perhaps physical and legal issues and sources of help. Examples could include helping them find professional mental health services and the offender’s family financial and legal services, as needed. These efforts would be guided by principles of working to find justice and healing for those who have suffered.

The Congregational Care Team would also serve as a listening and implementing presence to facilitate healing within the larger church community. Generally, the process of mourning and healing that needs to take place within the congregation takes a long time. Wishes to force a premature closure based on a superficial “forgiveness” should be resisted. After careful planning, a congregational meeting could be planned to include the following: fact sharing; small group processing and sharing; opportunities for individual reflection and corporate worship.

This meeting would be but one aspect of a plan for continued ministry which the Congregational Care Team would develop. The needs of the victim’s peer group should not be ignored. Resources outside the congregation could be gathered, including books, articles, and DVD’s in the church library and perhaps presentations by outside consultants with special expertise in trauma and recovery. Such an unwanted crisis would present the opportunity for new growth as individuals and groups– supported in their pain and suffering—could experience in time the comfort and grace of healing. This rediscovery of faith could help us feel whole again.

Appendix 8.4: Incident Reporting Form

Incident Report Form
Please note that this information is confidential and not to be shared outside of the reporting context.
Please write or print legibly

Your name (reporter’s) _________________________ Position_________________________ Today’s date___________________
Child or Youth’s name________________________________Age/DOB________________________
Date and place of initial conversation with or report from victim____________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
Child or Youth’s statement (give a detailed summary) ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

To whom at CMF did you report this incident? _________________________

Position_____________________________

When did you report to this person?___________________________________

Appendix 8.5: Documentation of Call to 241-KIDS

Please write or print legibly

Reporter _________________________________________________________________________
Date/time of call____________________ (Remember to give name, church address when making the call so that CMF has the right to request updates on the investigation.)
Child or Youth’s name______________________________ Age/DOB__________
Parents’ names _____________________________________________________________
Address___________________________________________________________________
Allegations/concerns ________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
Alleged offender____________________________ Relationship to child______________________
Address/phone of alleged offender_________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
Address of alleged Incident__________________________________________________________
Actions taken to protect child (if indicated)_____________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
Why did this incident trigger reporting response? What background or history does Children’s Services need to know?____________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
Questions, concerns raised by CS ___________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________

Signature of reporter making this call_____________________________________ Date_________

Appendix 9.1: Suggestions and Possibilities for Documentation and Record Keeping

Copies should be produced only as required by law, insurance or as deemed appropriate. Background checks for youth sponsors who are not selected should be destroyed within 60 days.

All information acquired during the recruiting of volunteers and employees should be treated in a confidential manner. Paid staff records should be destroyed 5 years after cessation of employment. Volunteer church worker records should be purged after the volunteer has transferred membership or otherwise left the congregation or 24 months after the volunteer’s last active participation in a Children’s or Youth program.

Files of the paper records will be maintained by the records custodian. He/she will make digital copies for the chair of the Safe Sanctuary Committee as a backup to the paper records.

The Safe Sanctuary Committee should annually review the records of volunteers and purge paper copies which are no longer needed, following the guidelines above. The digital records will be kept indefinitely.

Because liability insurance policies are largely written on an occurrence basis, these policies and other related insurance records and any claims files will be kept indefinitely.