CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
“… ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.” (Mark 10:14b-16, NRSV)
Our Lord placed sincere value on children and the example of faith they provide for us. He was also concerned about their vulnerability. The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church state that “children must be protected from economic, physical and sexual exploitation and abuse.”
In response to guidelines set by the 1996 General Conference of The United Methodist Church, the East Ohio Conference bishop and cabinet appointed a task group to develop guidelines and a sample policy for reducing the risk of child abuse in the local church.
The task group’s goal was to create a sample which could be used as a framework by all churches in the conference to develop their own policy and procedures. The task group used the collective experience of the group and resources of the conference, other conferences, and several local churches to develop the sample while working with the conference attorneys and insurance companies, as well as children service agencies, and national experts on the subject of reducing the risk of child abuse in the church.
The sample policy and procedures, as well as resource materials, will help you develop a policy and procedures for your local church. This sample was written to be used as a resource by a wide range of churches. Options are included to help you tailor the sample to your own situation. It is very important that you carefully consider the special circumstances of your local church and prayerfully consider the issues around child/youth protection as you develop your own policy and procedures. Consultation with the leaders of your children/youth ministries is instrumental for success in reducing the risk. It is essential that you develop a policy and supporting procedures that can and will be followed. After developing your policy, please have it reviewed by your own attorney and insurance agency.
“Currently, no congregation can afford, either financially, ethically, or morally, to fail to implement strategies for the reduction and prevention of child sexual abuse. We, as Christians, are not called to discontinue our congregation’s ministries with children and youth. We are called to engage in these ministries with great rejoicing and with the knowledge that we are making every effort to provide ministry to our children and youth in ways that assure their safety while they grow in faith.” 1
1(Safe Sanctuaries: Reducing the Risk of Child Abuse in the Church, Joy Thornburg Melton, Discipleship Resources, Nashville, TN. p. 21)
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH.
near the Akron-Canton airport.
8800 Cleveland Ave. NW ·
North Canton, OH 44720
Toll Free: 800-831-3972
Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
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