Child safe is a church wide program that provides standards, training, resources and an online data base to manage a church's people and programs.
The system has a strong emphasis on preventing the maltreatment of children and responding appropriately when child abuse comes to light. ChildSafe also assists the organisation to plan safe activities and programs using a risk management framework.
The system covers a broad range of topics such as:
- Screening and recruiting.
- Duty of care issues, with a code of practice for working with children and young people.
- Supervision and work within a safe team.
- Signs and indicators of child abuse, responding sensitively to disclosure of abuse.
- Dealing with suspicions, disclosures and allegations relating to child protection issues.
- Transportation and water-based activities as a particular risk focus.
- Hygiene, medical safety, infection, food handling.
- Accident and incident reporting, processing and analysis.
- An Emergency Response process.
Synod has encouraged every church to participate in Child Safe.
To implement child safe take the following steps.
1. Appoint a Child Safe coordinator.
The Coordinator is critical to implementing Child Safe. They ought to have a passion for child safety, be prepared to hold others accountable, be able to navigate the internet and complete Child Safe procedures. (See the Coordinator Section for a complete description.)
Coordinators must be appointed by Church Council and their appointment must be confirmed by a signed letter. Each church can have two coordinators, and it can be helpful to share the load.
2. Contact CRCA Resources to be registered on the Child Safe 'Safety Management Online' Web Site.
The coordinator will receive login information and have access to SMO
3. Order the Child Safe 'Church information pack' and the necessary 'guides' for the people in your church.
Order these from the Child Safe web site.
You will need one Team Member pocket guide for each person and an additional Team Leader Guide for each of your leaders.
4. Inform and educate the church about Child Safe
Place information in the newsletter. Distribute leaflets and other material (can be obtained from Child Safe) Meet with key leaders to discuss Child Safe.
5. Train those ministering to children and young people.
When introducing Child Safe it is recommended to train everyone at the same time since this will ensure everyone is starting at the same time. However, if preferred, training can be done individually on line.
Training for team members takes about three hours. An additional three hours is required for team leaders.
6. Enter personnel and program information onto the smo website database.
After their information is placed on the data base, Team members, Leaders and coordinators can access the website to record information and undergo training.
Future new team members and leaders can be added as they volunteer.
Most of the hard work is at this initial phase. After this, the workload decreases to maintaining the system
Childsafe has 3 main roles in every church.
They are: team members; team leaders and coordinators.
Read below to discover each one's particular role and responsibility under child safe.
1. Team members
Child Safe Team members are vital for an effective children's ministry (see below for a role description.)
They are only appointed after careful screening and training.
To become a Team Member you need to take the following steps.
- Complete a Volunteer application form and two Referee forms (Forms can be obtained from the church's Child Safe coordinator). After returning the forms the leader will create a personalised Child Safe website login details which will be sent via email.
- Undertake an interview with the team leader to discuss the reasons for volunteering for children's ministry.
- Read the Child Safe Team Members pocket Guide
- Undertake the Child Safe Team Member 1 and Team Member 2 training. This can be done in one of three ways.
a. Through the website. Simply read the Team Members booklet, login to the website and complete the training online.
b. Answer the questions in the back of the Child Safe Team Members Guide. The team leader will correct it and register the results on the website.
c. Attend an organised training day in which the training modules will be answered on paper and recorded on the web site by the team leader.
- Apply for a State Working With Children Check or similar Police Check.
These can be applied for at a local post office.
This is an example of a Child Safe Team Member's Job Description.
Role Statement: To assist in the leadership and coordination of a program as part of a team, ensuring consistency with the ethos and principles of this organisation. In particular, this will involve making every endeavour to provide a safe environment for children.
The Team Member
Must understand and identify with the aims and ethos of this organisation.Must be committed to the safety and care of children.Must be committed to their own growth and development as a Team Member, and subsequently undertake required training.
To adhere to the ethos of this organisation as set out in our policies.
To willingly adhere to the appointment process for becoming a Team Member.
To read, understand and agree to abide by the guidelines in the ChildSafe Team Members Pocket Guide.
To undertake training where appropriate.To ensure the protection of program participants, and of our organisation, by following procedures put in place.To work as part of a team of committed people for the purpose of the program.
To fulfil specific roles and tasks given by the Team Leader to the best of your ability.To ensure that high standards are kept within the program (safety, hygiene, care of equipment, conduct of leaders)
To be accountable to your team leader.
The Team Member is responsible to the Team Leader (and ultimately to this organisation).
2. Team Leader
Child Safe team leaders have a critical role in keeping children and youth ministries safe.
A Team Leader is appointed to a program under this organisation’s Appointment Policy.
Team leaders are appointed by coordinators.
A team leaders completes the requirements for a Team Member (see team member section.)
In addition to this, team leaders also complete the following:
- Fill and sign a Team Leader Safety and Care Agreement.
- Read the Child Safe Team Leader Guide.
- Undergo Team Leader 1 & 2 training.
This can be done either online, from the Team Leader Guide, or through group training.
Team leaders have some important responsibilities.
- They appoint team members
- Conduct safety audits of their programs, activities and facilities prior to those programs going ahead.
- Oversee the safety of their team and participants.
- Seek permission to proceed for their programs.
Coordinators oversee Child Safe in the local church.
The role of coordinator is central to an effective Child Safe program.
Their role includes appointing leaders, facilitating training and granting programs permission to proceed.
Coordinators first complete the requirements of both team members and team leaders.
In addition, a coordinator reads the Child Safe Coordinator Guide and undertakes Coordinator training.This can be done either online or from the Child Safe Coordinator Guide.
The role of a Coordinator is set out below.
- Must understand and identify with the aims and ethos of this organisation.Must be committed to the safety and care of children.
- Must be committed to their own growth and development as a Coordinator, and subsequently undertake required training.
- Manages Team Leaders within your area. This involves their appointment, oversight and any disciplinary action necessary. In some organisations, this role is the shared responsibility of the relevant committee, working in partnership with a Coordinator.Responsibilities
- To adhere to the ethos of this organisation as set out in our policies.
- To willingly adhere to the appointment process for becoming a Coordinator.To read, understand and agree to abide by the guidelines in the ChildSafe Coordinator Pocket Guide.To undertake training where appropriate.
- To ensure the protection of program participants, and of our organisation, by following procedures put in place.To manage Team Leaders within in your area. This involves their appointment, oversight and any disciplinary action necessary.
- To provide permission for a program to proceed based on the proper completion of safety planning. The safety planning process is described in the Coordinators Guide.
- To ensure the safety of events within your area of responsibility. This includes managing implementation of safety practices, Incident Reports, Child Protection matters, and involvement in the Emergency Response process.
- To fulfil specific roles and tasks given by the RMO* to the best of your ability. To ensure that high standards are kept within the program (safety, hygiene, care of equipment, conduct of leaders)To be accountable to your RMO Appointment
A Coordinator is appointed to a program under this organisation’s Appointment Policy. The Coordinator is responsible to the RMO (and ultimately to this organisation).
Top 10 tips to implement and maintain child safe.
- Ensure Church council is fully informed and fully supports implementing child safe.
- Break the process down to manageable steps and implement it bit by bit.
- Begin to educate the church generally by using a number of different ways to communicate the child safe message. eg. newsletter, email and posters.
- To help resistant members of the congregation ask those who are experienced in child safety (teachers or day care workers) to talk to them informally.
- To those who may be offended, communicate the message, "it's not about you; it's to protect our children from those who are less trustworthy. But if you don't comply, nor will they."
- Pick a date to implement Child Safe in the church. Communicate that, "@ such and such a date everyone needs to be 'child safe' accredited."
- Set aside time to set your church up on the web site: remember, you only have to do this once.
- Make "Child Safety" an item on every agenda of children and youth team meetings.
- Be prepared to say "no" to an activity, people, or program that is not 'child safe.' You will probably only have to do it once.
- Reinforce the message by placing child safe announcements and information around the church.
Q. Why Child Safe?
Child Safe is a program designed to meet the highest standards in every aspect of child safety. Complying with the program ensures that your church will not fall short in its responsibilities.
The Child Safe system and training gives leaders confidence ministering to children because they know that they are acting in ways that meet their responsibilities.
Q. Do I need to implement the whole Child Safe system?
The most important consideration is that each church is operating safely. Child safe is considered 'best practice' and each part of the program has a role in ensuring you church meet the highest standards of child safety.
Therefore, we advise you implement child safe as a total program but there is no compulsion to do so. Some churches have adapted and adopted various aspects of the program while other churches have made a beginning and over time implement more and more. You can apply the program according to your needs and priorities.
Q. Is there a lot of administration?
Initially there is a fair amount of administration work to get the program up and running (such as entering the details of your team on the website.) After this it reduces considerably. One of the strengths of the program is the ability to reuse information once it's been included on the web site data base.
Q. Where do I begin?
Introducing the Child Safe takes the following steps
- Find and appoint a coordinator.
- Contact the Resource Centre to register your church
- Enter details of your programs on the website
- Train your team and enter their details on the website
- Complete program and facility audits.
Q. How are people trained in child Safe?
Training can be undertaken in one of three ways.
- Individuals can take training on line.
- Individuals can do the training included in the 'team members' or 'leaders booklets'
- Groups can train together and take the tests as part of the group training.
Q. How much does it cost the local church?
A. There is an annual charge of $2 for every person registered on the child safe website. This fee is in fact paid by the CRCA Denomination. The only local fee is the cost of the Team Member guides and the manuals for the Team Leaders and Coordinator.
Q. Are we more vulnerable to litigation if we adopt the program?
A. Child safe does not change a church or individual's status under law. Duty of care is not increased because a church has relevant information. Conversely, ignorance is no excuse. Neglecting duty of care is not minimised because a church or group was not aware of what constitutes safe practices.
Overall, the program will help the church avoid litigation since it will be acting more safely and therefore less likely to transgress its legal and moral obligations.
Each video illustrate the various functions and actions available.
Simply click on the video icon on the top right hand portion of the page.