Volunteers are the heart of our congregations and ministries. They are making a difference in reaching everyone everywhere, revealing Jesus and making disciples.
The Pennsylvania Conference is committed to the protection of children and youth in all aspects of ministry in churches and schools–Sabbath School, VBS, Pathfinders, Adventurers, youth programs, summer camp, elementary schools, junior academies, Blue Mountain Academy–one of our priorities is keeping kids safe. One way we do this is requiring all volunteers who work with children or youth in any capacity to complete the Pennsylvania state required background checks.
Safeguarding Children—Church should be a safe place to bring our children. Everyone involved with children who are minors must meet all Church and state legal standards and requirements, before they are cleared to volunteer with our kids. In order to safeguard our children, churches are encouraged to adopt policies that would provide a measure of safety and protection for children. Such policies should include the following:
a. Two-Adult Policy—Have two adults present in children’s classrooms or activities.
b. Open Door—Discourage private or one-on-one contact and encourage an open-door policy in all situations. Where an open door is not possible, a second adult should be present at all times.
c. Volunteer Screening—Complete all state mandated volunteer background clearances, before a volunteer is cleared to work with kids.
d. Six-Month Policy—Require a waiting period of six months for newly baptized or transferring members who have indicated a willingness to work with children.
e. Training—Provide regular training for teachers and volunteers to help them understand and protect children and how to nurture their faith.
Local church leaders should consult with the conference in order to ascertain conference procedures and requirements, including local legal requirements for individuals working with children.
Additional resources are available from Adventist Risk Management at www.adventistrisk.org.
Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, 18th Edition, pages 168-169