Safe Sanctuaries Program

When the disciples tried to keep the children away from Jesus, he was quick to respond, “Let the children come to me.” Jesus taught that children were to be included and provided for within the community of faith. Today, the church may be the only place where some children find the unconditional love and care they so desperately need to grow and thrive. As Christians, we must take our responsibilities to our children very seriously. We fail in our responsibilities if we neglect to take adequate precautions against abuse in our churches. “Safe Sanctuaries” is a thorough and practical policy of prevention. The purpose of this policy is to protect all the children that come to us, to protect both our paid and volunteer staff from potential false allegations of abuse and to limit the extent of legal liability of local church.

All Staff, Ministry Team Leaders and volunteers who have regular and direct contact with children shall be required to provide a completed PA Child Abuse History Clearance form (CY113 12/99) and a completed PA Request for Criminal Record Check (SP 4-641/97).

Minimum supervisory standards include the “two-adult rule”. The two-adult rule requires that no matter the size of the group, there will always be two adults present. No child will be left unsupervised while attending the local church children’s activity.

Each room or space where children are being cared for shall have a window in the door or the door shall be left open such as a restroom. All activities should occur in open view.

No person shall supervise an age group unless he/she is AT LEAST 18 years of age or older and is five (5) years older than the children being supervised.

If an incident of child abuse occurs or allegations of an incident are made, it is dealt with speedily and in a clearly outlined manner. A quick, compassionate and unified response to an alleged incident of child abuse is expected. All allegations will be taken seriously. In all cases of reported or observed abuse in a children’s activity, the entire staff of that activity shall be at the service of all official investigating agencies.

The Ingomar Child Enrichment Center adheres to the Safe Sanctuaries Policy of The United Methodist Church. All Ingomar Child Enrichment Center staff have Child Abuse Clearances and regular CPR and first-aid training.

Ingomar Church Policy on Weapons

Weapons are not permitted on our church property. In a culture where there are debates over the appropriateness of weapons and the settings in which they may or may not be acceptable, the church is one place where we can set a higher standard than what is tolerated by other segments of our society. In this policy, weapons are understood to include, but not limited to guns, swords, knives, bows and arrows, explosives (including firecrackers) and other instruments that are regularly and commonly used in a violent fashion. This policy includes symbolic weapons such as swords and knives worn as part of uniforms or costumes.

Although we acknowledge that young children may use their imaginations or other materials to create toy weapons, children may not bring toy weapons of any kind to the ICEC. It is our belief that even toy weapons can symbolize behaviors and activities that are not in keeping with a peaceful setting.