5 Step Guide to Keeping Your Kids Safe

6

SafeEvery year more than 3
million reports of child abuse are made in the United States
involving more than 6 million children. And sadly, nearly 10
percent of people who try to work with children have had a criminal
conviction.

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April is National Child Abuse Prevention month. Now is the perfect
time to take a moment and look at what your ministry is doing to
protect its kids. Today let’s talk background checks. Here are five
things to keep in mind when looking at background check services
for your church.
***

  1. Determine the need.
    I often hear, “Everyone knows everyone in our church, so checks
    aren’t essential.” I know many churches that are like that, and I
    love the fact that those churches seem to have a tight community
    where everyone feels comfortable with each other. However, that
    often amounts to putting on blinders…you never see it coming.
    Statistics show that the majority of child abuse is caused by
    someone known to the child or the organization. Thinking you know
    everything about everyone, or even having a police officer attend
    your church, is not enough! Background checks uncover information
    you may not know about and give you and your parents peace of
    mind.
  2. Determine your options.
    There is no such thing as a database that contains
    criminal report information for anyone you might want to check in
    the United States. Because each state is different, some states
    choose to report certain records while others do not. What does
    that mean for you? It means you need to carefully select which
    provider and report types fit your needs.It’s very important to choose a provider that has access to as much
    of this information as possible. Just a simple state background
    check may not be what you need, as a state background check only
    shows records from that one state. Research shows that people with
    a criminal record frequently move. A national database search is
    essential to truly know a person’s background-which brings me to my
    next point…
  3. Determine what kind of background check is best.
    Be sure the criminal record information is owned and
    maintained by the service provider. (Some purchase this information
    second hand.) While there is no single national criminal database,
    a good source provider pulls from multiple court registries to
    offer comprehensive search options.
  4. Determine the cost.
    I know, budgets are tight…but safety is not the area where
    you want to cut corners. Reliable, trustworthy background checks
    are not expensive. With Shepherd’s Watch,
    checks start as low as $9 each, with no hidden or annual fees.
    Background checks conducted by Shepherd’s Watch are very thorough,
    as they’ve partnered with the leading background check
    providers.
  5. Determine how often.
    I know some churches have a policy of a one-and-done check
    for volunteers. You get screened once when you sign up to help, and
    you are good for life. However, if you only run a check once, you
    won’t have the latest information. It’s important to rescreen your
    staff and volunteers on a regular basis.

 

***
I encourage you to look into running background checks. Group’s Shepherd’s Watch
provides affordable background screening options so churches can be
more informed about the people they place in ministry positions
with children, youth, and vulnerable adults. Their screening
packages offer flat rate pricing, 30-day invoicing, and the first
two Basic Starter packages for free. It’s definitely worth a
look.

What steps do you take to keep kids safe? Let us know using the
comment section below!

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About Author

David Jennings

David has served kids around the world for the majority of his life. From Texas to Romania, he has followed where God has led him. Most recently, he served for six years as a children's director in the great state of Alabama before moving to Colorado to work for Group as an associate editor.

6 Comments

  1. Bronwyn Malcolm on

    Over here in New Zealand The Salvation Army have a safety policy for those who work/volunteer in children and youth ministries. People cannot help in these areas until they have done our 'Safe to Serve' programme which consists of doing a 'Safe to Serve' training (which is to be attended in person) complete a Police check, sign a code of conduct form, and sign either a volunteer or employment agreement where referees are required.

    We have discovered some opposition to these procedures, but mostly people understand that we have implemented this to protect our children/youth as well as the leaders/helpers that work with them.

    It is sad that society has become like this and that even in a safe place like a church that we have to take precautions, but I would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to keeping our young ones safe.

  2. Bronwyn Malcolm on

    Over here in New Zealand The Salvation Army have a safety policy for those who work/volunteer in children and youth ministries. People cannot help in these areas until they have done our 'Safe to Serve' programme which consists of doing a 'Safe to Serve' training (which is to be attended in person) complete a Police check, sign a code of conduct form, and sign either a volunteer or employment agreement where referees are required.

    We have discovered some opposition to these procedures, but mostly people understand that we have implemented this to protect our children/youth as well as the leaders/helpers that work with them.

    It is sad that society has become like this and that even in a safe place like a church that we have to take precautions, but I would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to keeping our young ones safe.

  3. Bronwyn Malcolm on

    Over here in New Zealand The Salvation Army have a safety policy for those who work/volunteer in children and youth ministries. People cannot help in these areas until they have done our 'Safe to Serve' programme which consists of doing a 'Safe to Serve' training (which is to be attended in person) complete a Police check, sign a code of conduct form, and sign either a volunteer or employment agreement where referees are required.

    We have discovered some opposition to these procedures, but mostly people understand that we have implemented this to protect our children/youth as well as the leaders/helpers that work with them.

    It is sad that society has become like this and that even in a safe place like a church that we have to take precautions, but I would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to keeping our young ones safe.

  4. Bronwyn Malcolm on

    Over here in New Zealand The Salvation Army have a safety policy for those who work/volunteer in children and youth ministries. People cannot help in these areas until they have done our 'Safe to Serve' programme which consists of doing a 'Safe to Serve' training (which is to be attended in person) complete a Police check, sign a code of conduct form, and sign either a volunteer or employment agreement where referees are required.

    We have discovered some opposition to these procedures, but mostly people understand that we have implemented this to protect our children/youth as well as the leaders/helpers that work with them.

    It is sad that society has become like this and that even in a safe place like a church that we have to take precautions, but I would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to keeping our young ones safe.

  5. Bronwyn Malcolm on

    Over here in New Zealand The Salvation Army have a safety policy for those who work/volunteer in children and youth ministries. People cannot help in these areas until they have done our 'Safe to Serve' programme which consists of doing a 'Safe to Serve' training (which is to be attended in person) complete a Police check, sign a code of conduct form, and sign either a volunteer or employment agreement where referees are required.

    We have discovered some opposition to these procedures, but mostly people understand that we have implemented this to protect our children/youth as well as the leaders/helpers that work with them.

    It is sad that society has become like this and that even in a safe place like a church that we have to take precautions, but I would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to keeping our young ones safe.

  6. Bronwyn Malcolm on

    Over here in New Zealand The Salvation Army have a safety policy for those who work/volunteer in children and youth ministries. People cannot help in these areas until they have done our 'Safe to Serve' programme which consists of doing a 'Safe to Serve' training (which is to be attended in person) complete a Police check, sign a code of conduct form, and sign either a volunteer or employment agreement where referees are required.

    We have discovered some opposition to these procedures, but mostly people understand that we have implemented this to protect our children/youth as well as the leaders/helpers that work with them.

    It is sad that society has become like this and that even in a safe place like a church that we have to take precautions, but I would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to keeping our young ones safe.

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