Child Safety Guidelines


Child abuse affects the lives of thousands of children every year in North America. Churches have long been seen as organizations which are lax or negligent in the screening, education, and training of their children’s and youth workers. The result has been missed opportunities to protect a child in need, or embarrassing false accusations. Churches have a responsibility for their ministry programs and for the actions of the workers that assist with these programs. Court decisions throughout the nation are holding churches liable when they can prove that the church did not properly screen their volunteers, educate their workers, or provide adequate supervision. Much can and should be done by churches to make staff and volunteers for children more aware of the seriousness of child abuse and the procedures that the church can and will implement to protect their children from being abused.

Our Response

We desire to respond in earnest to make our facilities and programming at Decorah Covenant Church a safe place for all children’s, youth and church workers and volunteers through implementation of Child Safety Guidelines. The physical condition of our facilities must be evaluated on a continual basis for safety and effectiveness in ministry. Where necessary, remodeling or updating may be required. Steps must be taken proactively to screen and to train children’s and youth workers. Our insurance policy requires that we do `background checks.’ If there was an incident of sexual misconduct, it is unlikely that the insurance company would provide coverage if we had failed to do a background check. Precautionary measures must be communicated by providing guidelines and procedures that offer assistance to parents and workers. Through increased awareness and supervision, we hope to prevent any incidents from occurring, and hence support effective, caring ministries which continue to further the cause of Christ and lead individuals to a personal relationship with Him.

Statement of Purpose

The main purpose for Child Safety Guidelines is to protect children and youth.

This purpose is accomplished in part by educating and training child care workers, both members and friends, on issues which may contribute to dangerous and unsafe conditions affecting children and youth. These issues include how best to avoid neglect and abuse. Individual members and friends of the church are encouraged to act responsibly not only in caring for children and youth, but also in caring for each other. (Matthew 19:13-15; John 15:9-17)

We will develop guidelines and procedures to address concerns and/or allegations concerning safety, wellness, and abuse. The church council will assume responsibility for evaluating the conditions under which the church ministries are carried out and for investigating charges and reporting misconduct.

If charges against a child-care worker/volunteer are substantiated, the goal of the church will include pursuing reconciliation and restoration to the fellowship of Christ. (Matthew 18:15-35; 1 Corinthians 6:1-11)