Policies on Child Safety

Policies on Child Safety

From Children’s Equipping Center Parent Guide, pages 15-16

Staff Screening

All Children’s Equipping Center staff must complete a thorough screening process involving the following steps: 

Step 1. All applicants are required to first attend “Equipping the Smaller Saints”, a mandatory on-ramp orientation class for CEC involvement. This class will provide the applicant training in all CEC policies, procedures, and protocols, along with an understanding of the ministry’s vision, values, and program practices.

Step 2. All applicants will then and must complete a CEC Ministry application. This application will give CEC staff permission to review the applicant’s history and run a local, national, and international background check, which will then be reviewed by the Executive Director of CEC and the screening/deployment team. This will include vetting the applicant with the State, National, and International Register’s Sexual Offenders/Predator list.

Step 3. Applicants cleared to move forward in the process and having cleared all background checks are then interviewed by senior level CEC deployment directors only. All references listed by the applicant will be reviewed and contacted prior to or just after the interview process.

Step 4. If an applicant is approved to continue in the process of being deployed, their name will be vetted through 25 senior level directors and leaders internally within the organization.

Step 5. Finally, the applicant’s information will be reviewed by CEC deployment directors, who will review the application, background checks, interview responses, and reference responses, as well as all internal review processes.

Step 6. This senior CEC team will then make a final decision to either approve or deny the individual’s placement with CEC.

Step 7. If approved, the applicant will be deployed to a department director for observation and deployment.

From Children’s Equipping Center Ministry Handbook

Requirements for CEC Ministry Involvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 11

Staff Assimilation Process

All Children’s Equipping Center staff must complete a thorough screening process involving the following steps: 

Step 1. All applicants are required to first attend “Equipping the Smaller Saints”, a mandatory on-ramp orientation class for CEC involvement. This class will provide the applicant training in all CEC policies, procedures, and protocols, along with an understanding of the ministry’s vision, values, and program practices.

Step 2. All applicants will then and must complete a CEC Ministry application. This application will give CEC staff permission to review the applicant’s history and run a local, national, and international background check, which will then be reviewed by the Executive Director of CEC and the screening/deployment team. This will include vetting the applicant with the State, National, and International Register’s Sexual Offenders/Predator list.

Step 3. Applicants cleared to move forward in the process and having cleared all background checks are then interviewed by senior level CEC deployment directors only. All references listed by the applicant will be reviewed and contacted prior to or just after the interview process.

Step 4. If an applicant is approved to continue in the process of being deployed, their name will be vetted through 25 senior level directors and leaders internally within the organization.

Step 5. Finally, the applicant’s information will be reviewed by CEC deployment directors, who will review the application, background checks, interview responses, and reference responses, as well as all internal review processes.

Step 6. This senior CEC team will then make a final decision to either approve or deny the individual’s placement with CEC.

Step 7. If approved, the applicant will be deployed to a department director for observation and deployment.

Child Abuse Policy (Sexual, Emotional, and Physical) . . . . . . . page 24-33

CHILD ABUSE POLICY (SEXUAL, EMOTIONAL, AND PHYSICAL)

The following policies, procedures, and protocols, apply to equipping tracks at national conferences, Signs & Wonders Camps, KidCity7, Children’s Equipping Center, Student Ministries, Awakening Teen Camps, and all departments that interact with minors. The following information is documented in all handbooks and operating procedures within the above departments.

International House of Prayer Child, Youth, and Worker Protection Policy

Each year children are victimized by individuals they know and trust. The International House of Prayer of Kansas City (“IHOPKC”) desires to be a safe place for all children and adults who attend any activity or ministry. This Child, Youth, and Worker Protection Policy (“Policy”) is the International House of Prayer’s commitment to protect children from harm. The Policy applies to all volunteer and compensated workers of the International House of Prayer.

The church is not immune to the potential for such abuse or neglect of children, either by its members or by those in leadership positions. Incidents of child abuse or neglect cut across all racial, social, economic, and religious boundaries. For the safety and protection of our children and workers, all people who participate in church-sponsored activities with children will be required to comply with this Policy.

IHOPKC will not tolerate child abuse or neglect. Your cooperation in this Policy not only reflects your concern about children’s safety in this society, but also your willingness to take steps toward halting child abuse and its detrimental effects.

For the safety and protection of our children and workers, all people who participate in church-sponsored activities with children will be required to comply with this Policy.

Policy Definitions

Child: Any person under the age of 18

Special needs person: Any adult or child requiring direct adult supervision as a result of mental or physical limitations.

Adult: Any person age 18 and over.

Child abuse and neglect: Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect of a child by an adult or adolescent caregiver responsible for the child’s welfare.

Physical abuse: Maltreatment which results in physical injury, including, but not limited to, bruises, cuts, welts, fractures, and internal injuries.

Emotional abuse: Maltreatment which results in impaired psychological growth and development, including, but not limited to, belittling, rejection, constant unequal treatment, verbal assaults, excessive demands on child’s performance, and isolation from normal social activities.

Sexual abuse: Maltreatment which consists of sexual contact or interactions with a child, including, but not limited to, physical contact (fondling, genital/ oral stimulation, sexual intercourse) and non-physical contact (exhibitionism, child prostitution, pornography, and voyeurism).

Neglect: Failure or inattention on the part of the caregiver to provide for a child’s basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and supervision.

Compensated workers: Hourly, salaried, part-time, or full-time employees who work with children at any church-sponsored activity.

Volunteer workers: Any non-compensated individual who works with children at any church-sponsored activity.

Caregiver: Any compensated or volunteer worker, seventh grade or older.

Mandated reporter: Any person with responsibility for the care of children is a mandated reporter.

Mandatory Reporting for the State of Missouri

RSMo. § 352.400.1: “Minister” means any person who while practicing as a minister of the gospel, clergy member, priest, rabbi, Christian Science practitioner, or other person serving in a similar capacity for any religious organization is responsible for or who has supervisory authority over one who is responsible for the care, custody, and control of a child or who has access to a child. RSMo. § 352.400.2: When a minister or designated agent has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or may be subjected to abuse or neglect under circumstances required to be reported . . . , the minister or designated agent shall immediately report or cause a report to be made. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section or (any section of the reporting laws), a minister shall not be required to report concerning a privileged communication made to him or her in his or her professional capacity.

In Missouri, ministers and other “persons with responsibility for the care of children” are mandatory reporters by law. This would include all CEC and Student Ministries staff and volunteers. Our Policy extends that requirement to include all department heads, division heads and those on the Executive Leadership Team. The exception to the mandatory reporting requirement is when it involves “privileged communication” made in your official capacity as an officer of the church.

A few states have adopted statutes allowing churches to designate a person to receive reports of child abuse from staff members. For example, the Missouri child abuse reporting law states:

A religious organization may designate an agent or agents required to report . . . in an official capacity on behalf of the religious organization. In the event a minister, official, or staff member of a religious organization has probable cause to believe that the child has been subjected to abuse or neglect under circumstances required to be reported . . . and the minister, official or staff member of the religious organization does not personally make a report . . . the designated agent of the religious organization shall be notified. The designated agent shall then become responsible for making or causing the report to be made. This section shall not preclude any person from reporting abuse or neglect as otherwise provided by law. RSMo. 352.400.3

Screening for Volunteer and Compensated Workers

The following procedures reflect our commitment to provide protective care for all children and caregivers who participate in church-sponsored activities.

Volunteer workers must be regular attendees of the International House of Prayer/FCF for at least six months.

All volunteer and compensated workers must complete the following procedures before participating in any church-sponsored children’s activities.

It is a prerequisite that all potential staff attend the designated ministry’s on-ramp for the department they are wishing to participate in.

All persons working with children must attend orientation/training activities appropriate to the level of the volunteer or compensated worker.

All volunteer and compensated workers must complete a Children and Youth Worker Application form. References will be checked.

An interview will be conducted by the pastors or directors of Children and Youth Activities. Not all potential staff will be approved to connect to a particular department.

All potential staff will be approved or not approved by a department head only after the respective on-ramp, interview, screening, and background check has been completed.

All hits on one’s criminal background check will be discussed with the divisional and departmental leadership and then discussed with the individual within the interview process.

Applicants approved for ministry must sign a written acknowledgement stating they have received and reviewed a copy of the International House of Prayer Child, Youth, and Worker Protection Policy.

Any adult member of the congregation, volunteer, or compensated worker who has been convicted of a crime against a child or a violent crime against another adult, shall not provide service in any church’s sponsored activity or program for children, youth, or special needs persons.

Those who have been convicted of either sexual or physical abuse can be forgiven and cleansed of their sin. However, sin does have consequences, and, while such persons may serve in certain other areas of ministry at International House of Prayer, depending on the discretion of the department’s leadership, they will be prohibited from serving in the children’s and special needs ministries.

This application and the results of any screening shall be kept confidential by authorized church staff.

General Policies for Supervision of Caregivers

Newborns–Grade 5

Caregivers shall not engage in any form of physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect.

There will always be no less than two approved and screened adults working together with children. The classroom doors or window coverings shall remain open to allow a clear view of classroom activities.  When possible, children are to be encouraged to take care of their own bathroom needs. Should assistance be required, another adult or caregiver should be present. Always take another child/worker with you when taking a child to the restroom and stand out in the hallway until the child or children come out of the restroom. Never enter the bathroom stall when a child is inside.

Under NO circumstances is a worker/minister and a child to be alone together behind closed doors or in an isolated location.  Children aged 12 and under shall be released to parents or guardians from their classrooms after the church service.

The pastor and directors of Children’s Ministries must approve any activities that are held off site. Parent or guardian permission must be obtained, and there will always be no less than two approved and screened adults adult caregivers present.

Organized events on or off site will be staffed with a minimum ratio of 1:10, adult caregiver to child. Overnight events that are attended by children of both genders must be chaperoned by adult caregivers of both genders.

Youth Ministries (ages 13–18)

Caregivers shall not engage in any form of physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect.

There will always be no less than two approved and screened adults working together with children or students.  Organized events on or off site shall be staffed with a minimum ratio of 1:10, adult caregiver to child.  The pastor and/or elder of Youth Ministries must approve any activities held off site.  Overnight events that are attended by youth of both genders must be chaperoned by adult caregivers of both genders.  A positive approach to discipline shall be practiced. Clear, consistent, age-appropriate limits must be established.

It is recognized that certain counseling and ministerial situations may preclude the presence of two adult caregivers and that the general guidelines for supervision of caregivers should not restrict situations where individual counsel and guidance is necessary. In this case, the door must be left open or the window of the door shall remain uncovered.

For camps, retreats, or similar activities, two adult caregivers will work as a team when it is not possible to have two adults in the same sleeping room. The team approach shall be encouraged and coordinated by the supervisory staff person.  The supervisory staff person shall be aware of and responsible for such activities.

Basic Personal Awareness and Guidelines

Be alert to any special needs of children, such as learning disabilities, abuse, homesickness, family issues, and recent tragedies. Do not dig for information; listen and pay attention (special needs are noted on family information cards).

No physical touch with children and teens other than high fives are allowed at anytime. This includes no sitting on laps, not letting children or teens sit on one another’s laps, and no laying down on the floor with a child/teen or in a cot/sleeping arrangement.

No frontal hugs are allowed. Workers are not to initiate hugs of any kind.

If a child or teen begins to hug a worker, the worker is to turn their body for a side hug only.

Workers are not to grab or discipline by physical touch. No swats will be administered by staff.

Leaders are not to give car rides to any children or teens unless accompanied by another approved worker and with an official permission slip filled out by a parent or guardian.  If a camper, child, or teen is in need of transportation for any reason, more than one screened and approved adult will need to accompany the person being transported.

No personal appointments can be set up between children and teens.

Ministry staff are not seen as, nor can they act as, counselors.

KidCity7 Outreach

1. KidCity7 ministry team members are not seen as, nor can they act as, counselors. When a KidCity7 team member has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or may be subjected to abuse or neglect, the team member shall immediately report this information to the directors of KidCity7. Do not approach parents, peers, or guardians with accusations or the information reported to you, but rather, go straight to the director. In Missouri, ministers and other “persons with responsibility for the care of children” are mandatory reporters by law.

2. KidCity7 ministry team members should never be alone with a child or mentor a child one-on-one, and they should not pick up children in their own vehicles. If a child or teen is in need of transportation, this needs to be approved by the site coordinator and director, and the team member must submit an official permission slip filled out by a parent or guardian, as well as the approved driver’s car insurance on file.

3. When visiting the home of a specific child or family, this should be approved by the Director of KidCity7 and the site coordinator of the specific neighborhood. You should never go visit a child or their family alone, but you should always go with another approved KidCity7 team member.

4. Always take another child or KidCity7 team member with you when taking a child to the restroom, and stand out in the hallway until the child/ children come out of restroom. You should never enter the restroom when a child is inside.

5. There should be no physical touching between children and teens other than high fives. This includes no sitting on laps or letting children or teens sit on one another’s laps. There should also be no carrying young children, or laying down on the floor with a child/teen. KidCity7 ministry team members should not initiate hugs of any kind, and there are no frontal hugs allowed. If a child or teen begins to hug a KidCity7 ministry team member, the worker is to turn his/her body for a side hug only. Workers are not to grab or discipline by physical touch, and no swats or corporal punishment should ever be administered by staff.

Picture-Taking Policy

The CEC strives to protect the privacy of all children we serve and to prevent photographs of CEC children from being misused in any way. To this end, we have set guidelines in place for taking and storing pictures of CEC children. This policy will apply to all persons serving within CEC at all CEC classes, programs, events, outreaches, and ministry settings.

Persons serving in CEC may not take pictures of children unless directly instructed to do so by CEC leadership for CEC’s marketing purposes. Those pictures should be immediately forwarded to cecmarketing@ihopkc.org, or in CEC supervisor. All pictures of CEC children are uploaded to a secure server. The persons who took the pictures and all persons in possession of copies of those pictures must then delete all pictures of CEC children from their personal devices, including phones, computers, email, cloud file storage, etc. CEC staff cannot keep pictures of CEC children for any use, even in support raising materials.

Reporting Suspected Abuse or Neglect

If an approved worker within the ministry suspects or has a report that a child is unsafe, abused emotionally, physically, or sexually, prior to discussing the situation with anyone, they are to report the situation first to his/her direct supervisor/director.

When it becomes necessary to report suspected child abuse or neglect, the protection of children must be the most important concern.

It is the legal responsibility of a mandated reporter to report all cases of child abuse or neglect they observe, and further, to report visible signs of alleged abuse or neglect.

Failure to report could lead to liability on the part of the church, the observer, or both.

The confidentiality of the pastor/attendee relationship is very important.

Upon observing or suspecting abuse, the caregiver shall immediately do the following:

Make sure the child’s safety and comfort is secured.

Make sure the suspected abuser is safely away from the children.

Report the abuse or neglect promptly to the pastor or director of Children’s Ministries and Youth Ministries.

To preserve confidentiality, it is important to discuss the incident initially only with any of these four individuals.

Department leadership, along with the individual receiving a report or suspecting child abuse, will proceed to give information to the division head Lenny LaGuardia, Vice President of Ministries & Justice.

The VP of Ministries will proceed to determine whether there are grounds to support a report being made to the Missouri Children’s Division (i.e., reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or may be subjected to abuse or neglect or observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in abuse or neglect). Prior to any reporting to Children’s & Family services, the VP will inform, consult, and inform Jono Hall, COO, and Eric Oppriecht, Compliance Officer.