Screening Those in Charge of Youth
Children and youth are at risk of being abused in church-related schools, ministries, and camps.
We keep children from growing in faith when we allow abuse to occur in any of the church’s education, recreation, and other nurturing programs. The broken trust, pain, and suffering that results from abuse distracts from the mission and ministry of the church.
How can we prevent such tragedies?
Rigorous screening of volunteers
Most church-sponsored programs rely on lots of volunteers. It is easy to assume that church, school, and youth program volunteers are motivated by faith and a desire to serve others.
As a result, only minimal screening of volunteers often occurs. Some programs use youth with little training in teaching roles. Many staff members have not been as carefully screened as they should have been.
In 1996, the General Conference of The United Methodist Church adopted a resolution aimed at reducing the risk of child sexual abuse in the church. United Methodist Insurance offers the Safe Sanctuaries® program to assist your conference and local church in fulfilling the goals of this resolution. Part of the Safe Sanctuaries® program is aimed at reliably screening paid staff and volunteers.
Responsible church leaders should check the background, training, and experience of potential staff as well as individuals seeking to volunteer their services.
United Methodist Insurance and TRAK-1 have partnered to bring special pricing on background screening to The United Methodist Church. TRAK-1 is an accredited background screening company with the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).
Different packages available through TRAK-1 allow churches and conferences to do the following screenings:
- Broadscreen Criminal and Sex Offender Registry Search
- Social Security Check
- Motor Vehicle Report
- County Criminal Search
TRAK-1 and Smart-Trak provides an all-in-one online system that assists you as you manage, screen, and train volunteers and staff members.
Applications and references
Require the use of application forms. Applications affirm the significance of the positions and provide a space to make inquiries about employment and volunteer history.
Request and contact references to learn more about applicants. Previous incidents or allegations that could disqualify them may be discovered.
Safe Sanctuaries® training
Safe Sanctuaries® provides a comprehensive training systems, interactive webinars, and multiple downloadable resources to help both clergy and laity as they strive to provide secure environments for children and youth. For more information about Safe Sanctuaries®, go here.
Background screening, interviewing references, and requiring application forms from both staff and volunteers will make your organization safer for children.