Child Protection Policy
Congregational Statement – First Lisburn Presbyterian Church
Ensuring a safe environment for children, young people and leaders
This policy statement is aimed at providing a safe environment where children and young people may enjoy social contact, personal and spiritual development.
Adults selected to work within youth ministries should be secure in knowledge that they have the full support of the Kirk Session.
1.1 Adoption of Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Child Protection Guidelines ‘Taking Care’ (click here) and then click on ‘Resources’.
The Kirk Session of First Lisburn Presbyterian Church has adopted The Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s Child Protection Guidelines approved by the General Assembly and revised in 2007. All organisations are issued with a copy of the Guidelines and are expected to adhere to them. The Kirk Session will review the implementation of the Guidelines annually.
The Kirk Session believes that the selection procedures outlined in the Child Protection Guidelines greatly assist the assessment of a person’s suitability to work with children and young people. As a result of implementing such procedures, leaders and helpers within this congregation will be more assured of their position and of the confidence placed in them by the Kirk Session.
The following procedures must be followed for the appointment of leaders/helpers who preferably should be 18 years and over. The Kirk Session of First Lisburn will consider the appointment of 16-18 year olds (provided they are not left in a supervisory capacity).
- All prospective leaders will be required to complete an Application Form and a Disclosure Form.
- Applicants will be required to provide 2 referees who are not relatives. (All confidential records e.g. applications and references will be stored safely by the Minister)
- The candidate will be interviewed by the organisational leader and a representative from the Youth Sub-Committee. The application will then be given to the Minister, and forwarded on to The Kirk Session for approval. If approved, the application will be signed by the Clerk of Session and the Disclosure Form will be sent to PCI’s Board of Social Witness. Upon reply from the Board of Social Witness, the Kirk Session will appoint the candidate if appropriate and will correspond with the candidate regardless of outcome.
- All candidates will be on probation for the initial 6 months in post.
- The Church’s Child Protection Policy will be provided and explained to all candidates.
1.3 Reporting of Concerns
The leaders in each of our organisations will be fully conversant with the referral procedure where there is concern about the welfare of a child as outlined in the Child Protection Guidelines.
1.4 Code of Practice
Each organisation will be expected to comply with the Good Team Procedures outlined in the Child Protection Guidelines. For example.
- Leaders and helpers are adequately trained.
- If private cars are used for transportation, that adequate insurance cover exists on the vehicle and that seat belts are worn
- Leaders should avoid taking a child home on their own.
1.5 Parental Consent Forms
Organisational leaders must ensure that Parental Consent Forms are completed at the commencement of each session for each child attending organisations. Special consent forms will be issued for any `off premises’ activity and residentials. Leaders in charge will store these forms in a safe place. The leader should always take these forms on any outings, as these forms have all the information required and consent for emergency treatment if required.
1.6 Designated Person(s)
The Kirk Session has appointed a Designated Person, Maureen Killiner who will provide consultation, advice and support to organisations and to the Kirk Session on matters concerning welfare of children and young people. The Kirk Session will keep organisational leaders updated with the name of the Designated Person(s). Any matter brought to the attention to the Designated Person will be treated in strict confidence. Information will only be divulged where there is a legitimate need to know.
1.7 Health and Safety
The Kirk Session expects organisation to adhere to the guidance on safety matters outlined in the Child Protection Guidelines. Health and Safety checks of the premises will be made regularly by the Property Sub-Committee
Organisations are expected to adhere to the guidance on safety matters outlined in the Child Protection Guidelines relating to use of private cars and minibuses for transporting children to and from youth activities.
Guidance on residential trips is provided in the Child Protection Guidelines and will be followed in all residential trips (and sleep-over situations on site) organised by First Lisburn.
1.10 Use of media
Photography and Video
Permission (verbal or written) must be sought from parent/guardian before taking or recording any photographs or video footage of children. It should also be made clear the purpose of the photographs or video, the means by which they will be displayed if at all, and who might be viewing the photos or video. Specific written permission will be sought to post images or video on websites. When taking photographic or video images, the utmost discretion will be used considering such things as pose and location. Personal details of those pictured will not be published.
Mobile Phones and Email
Organisational leaders may send text messages and emails to children to communicate organisational information or in carrying out pastoral care duties, e.g. crisis situations. When possible a leader of the same sex as the child should deal with this type of correspondence.
On-site Internet Access for Children and Young People
If and when young people have on-site Internet access, parental permission must be obtained and those under 18 will be supervised. To ensure cyber safety, all on-site computer devices will have filtering software installed and updated regularly. A necessary wireless network key will not be given to those under the age of 18 to access the Church’s wireless network on their personal devices.
1.11 Implementation and Review
The Kirk Session is responsible for overseeing the implementation of this policy, and will review it every three years (or when advised to do so by PCI ) with the leaders in charge of youth organisations.
Revised by Youth Sub Committee of Kirk Session March 2014
Child Protection Designated Person: Maureen Killiner
Accident Books & First Aid Kits are located at the Youth Store, kitchen and Church Office
J Brackenridge Minister
__Perry Reid___________ Clerk of Session
Date: 31st March 2014