Community Church at Ocean Pines is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for all children, youth, adults, vulnerable adults, and those with special needs to participate in worship and ministries that deepen and strengthen their understanding of and relationship with Jesus Christ. Community Church at Ocean Pines has adopted a Safe Sanctuary Policy and Operating Procedures based on the document "Safe Sanctuaries for Youth" written by Joy Thornburg Melton. These policies and procedures call for all clergy, staff, and volunteers that serve these members of the congregation be educated and trained on all aspects of Safe Sanctuaries procedures.
Community Church at Ocean Pines will maintain a SAFE team comprised of the Pastor, Youth Ministers, Little Lambs Learning Center Director, and representation from Trustees and Staff Parish Relations committees. This team is responsible for the creation and review of all policies and procedures on an annual basis, offering annual First Aid/CPR/AED training for any volunteers serving children or vulnerable adults, annual review of the building facilities to ensure safety, and oversee all Safe Sanctuaries operations to ensure compliance with all Safe Sanctuary policies and procedures.
Policies and Procedures
- All adult volunteers involved with children, youth or vulnerable adults must be a regular attending member of Community Church for at least six months prior to volunteering.
- Each volunteer must complete all required forms – to include a background check and volunteer application – and meet with the SAFE team to sign the Community Church at Ocean Pines Covenant prior to volunteering for any Community Church at Ocean Pines activities.
- Two Adult Rule is maintained at all times – to mean that at least 2 adults, unrelated by blood or marriage, will be present at all times during any Community Church at Ocean Pines sponsored activity involving children, youth or vulnerable adults.
- All volunteers must be 18 years or older; Volunteers working with children or youth must be at least 5 years older than the children or youth in their groups. Teenage volunteers are able to assist if approved by the SAFE team but are not to replace an adult to satisfy the 2 adult rule at any time.
- Bathroom procedures – children ages 5 and younger shall be escorted to and from the bathroom. A buddy system for children should be practiced.
- No adult who has been convicted of a crime against a child, youth, or vulnerable adult will be permitted to work with children, youth or vulnerable adults in a Community Church at Ocean Pines sponsored activity.
- Open-Door counseling is required for youth and other people must be present. Counseling needs/requests by youth or family members should be reported to the Pastor.
- Any Community Church at Ocean Pines sponsored activity that will take place off site must be approved by the SAFE team in advance.
- Advance notice to parents/family members with full information about the event must be provided. Permission to transport to/from events must be given in advance and driver logs maintained.
- All volunteers will immediately report any inappropriate behavior or suspected abuse to the SAFE team.
If inappropriate behavior or abuse is suspected or alleged to have occurred at a Community Church at Ocean Pines sponsored activity or on Community Church at Ocean Pines property, the following steps must be taken:
- Assure the victim's safety
- Notify parents/family members of victims
- Remove the alleged abuser from any involvement with children, youth, or vulnerable adults
- Report the alleged abuse to the local police and child abuse support agency
- Notify the District Superintendent, Community Church at Ocean Pines attorney and insurance agent
- Do not speak with any media – refer media to the Peninsula-Delaware Conference
- Keep a written documentation of the victim statement of events and the steps taken by SAFE team in response to the allegation
- The Pastor or DS will handle any communication to the congregation
- Cooperate with all authorities throughout the investigation
All background check results are confidential and will be kept in a locked drawer at Community Church at Ocean Pines. The SAFE team will meet to discuss any results from a background check that come back to determine the best fit for an applicant with any type of criminal record - other than abuse or crimes against children/youth/vulnerable adults. All discussions will remain confidential among the applicant and the SAFE Team.
Safety and Security
Rooms set aside for use by children, youth or vulnerable adults should have classroom door with windows in them to avoid opportunities for isolation. Access controls have been installed in the building to limit general access and protect our groups. Door codes/security fobs should NOT be shared with anyone. Outside doors are NOT to be propped open. Someone must monitor who is coming into the building at all times during a Community Church at Ocean Pines activity or event. Volunteers are responsible for supervising all children, youth, or vulnerable adults at all times. No one is permitted to wander the building unaccompanied.
Accurate attendance records shall be kept for all Community Church at Ocean Pines activities and events. Parents must sign participants in/out of activities and must give written permission for their child to ride home with someone else. These records shall be kept in a file should any future incidents be reported.
Community Church at Ocean Pines volunteer shall not store pictures or videos of children, youth, or vulnerable adults on their personal cell phones or other devices.