Saint Luke's Presbyterian Church's Child and Youth Protection Training
The following is designed to lead you through the Saint Luke's Presbyterian Church Child and Youth Protection Policy Training, as required for everyone who participates in any ministry alongside anyone under the age of 18 at Saint Luke’s. Please read through the training and be sure to mark each box to acknowledge that you have read and understand each item. The training shouldn’t take too long, but it is really important information. These few minutes could make a world of difference in the lives of children and youth. Happy reading and of course if you have any questions please let Shannon Dill, Phil Brown or Catherine Anne Thomas know.

The training is divided into three sections:
Section #1: Creating a nurturing environment
Section #2: Paperwork
Section #3: Mandatory Reporting

First name: *
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Last name: *
Your answer
Birth Date *
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Section #1: Creating a nurturing environment
Saint Luke’s Session has adopted a policy that reflects the nurturing environment we hope to create. There are procedures in place and practices we need to adopt to protect the children, youth, and the adults who share in ministry with them as volunteers and staff. These practices will create a loving environment with healthy boundaries.
Two adult or public space: *
At least two (non-spousal) adult workers (volunteer or staff) shall be present at all activities involving children or youth. At no time will only one worker be allowed to be alone with a child or youth. This includes vehicles. This policy helps protect adult workers as well as children and youth. The only exceptions to the two-adult rule would be situations in which the adult and child or youth are in a public place or other persons are in and out of the area or room. The policy is not intended to restrict appropriate pastoral counseling and care-giving. If you find yourself in a one-to-one private situation, change the situation (i.e. move locations). You can still have private conversations in public places. When in doubt, find more people.
Required
Bathroom usage: *
Never escort children to bathrooms alone. Always stand outside bathrooms while the child uses restroom, and check on them verbally if needed. If a child needs help in the restroom, always have a second adult with you.
Required
Touching and respecting personal space: *
Be aware of touching, hugs, piggyback rides, hand holding, etc. Always let the child or youth initiate any contact. We all have different levels of comfort regarding our personal space. For some people even a pat on the back can be uncomfortable. Deflect prolonged hugs and excessive touching (i.e. children who won’t stop climbing on you). The ways we touch each other are particularly age and situation dependent. What is appropriate for a 3 year old may not be appropriate for a 5th grader and vice versa. What is appropriate for a child who just fell on the playground and is crying is different than a youth who is crying because their boyfriend/girlfriend just broke up with them. Remember, we are creating healthy boundaries and modeling those boundaries as we serve. The best rule to live by is to touch as little as necessary, let the child initiate, and model appropriate boundaries.
Required
Verbal appropriateness: *
Words can harm. Be mindful of the stories you tell and the words you use when around children and youth. Even tone can make a huge difference in the lives of our children. Make sure you conversations are appropriate for all the ages in the area.
Required
Discipline: *
Discipline will be handled on a case-by-case basis. As every child is different as are the discipline responses used here at church. Be mindful of the nurturing environment we are trying to create. Disciplinary issues should be addressed with a staff person immediately. A best course of action will be determined together. Unless there is physical danger or abuse, patience and gentle reminders are to be used first.
Required
Remember the following Behaviors are never acceptable: *
The following behaviors by any employee or volunteer are prohibited: i. Physical striking, hitting, or spanking a child or youth. ii. Touching in an inappropriate or sexual manner. iii. Verbally or emotionally abusing a child or youth.
Required
Section #2: Ahh, the Paperwork:
No one likes to do paper work, but remember this is about helping create a great environment for everyone. We have two or three forms, depending on your age, that need to be signed and returned to Melissa King is the Program Assistant for Christian Education. You can reach her at: MelissaKing@slpres.org, 770-393-1424 ext. 236. If you have any questions or concerns about completing these forms, please contact Shannon Dill, Associate Pastor at: ShannonDill@slpres.org.

All of the forms may be found below. If you click to a form, please remember to return to this page to complete the training.

Background checks: *
Every volunteer and staff person, age 18 and over, will undergo a state and federal background check, administered by Protect My Ministry. Per our policy, we are making sure “No person with substantiated incidents of physical or sexual child abuse, exploitation or other forms of sexual misconduct or violence will be allowed to work or volunteer in any position involving children or youth.” The other things we are looking at is driving records if you are going to be in a position of driving our children or youth. We don’t really care about “that one time in college…” Melissa King is the only one who sees the results and will notify Shannon Dill (who may consult with another appropriate staff member) if something comes back that we need to have a conversation about. Again, we are not hunting for all your transgressions, but ensuring a nurturing and safe environment for everyone. Background check results will be kept under lock and key and confidential. Saint Luke's Background Check Online Form can be found here: https://www.ministryopportunities.org/StLukesPresby
Required
Incident reports: *
If something happens at church in the form of bodily harm, significant disciplinary action, or any specific event you feel needs to be documented, incident reports are available in the Christian Education Office (in a purple file folder beneath the drawing of Saint Luke's), at www.slpres.org ( http://www.slpres.org/?p=6064), or at the bottom of this training. If the first aid kit comes out, we should write a report. The form is basic and guides you through what needs to be reported. Again, if you have any questions please contact a Staff person. Also, if a situation is serious enough to write an incident report a staff person should know about this as well. They can help determine what needs to be reported.
Required
Signed covenant: *
Every volunteer and staff person will sign a Children and Youth Child Protection Covenant, which outlines this training and confirms your understanding and willingness to help build the nurturing environment of Saint Luke’s. The covenant can be found on our website at: http://www.slpres.org/?p=6066
Required
Section #3: Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse or Neglect in the State of GA
In Georgia anyone who works with minors, in a volunteer or paid capacity, is considered a mandatory reporter of suspected child abuse. This is important to the safety and nurture of our children and youth. It could be a trusted conversation that you have which brings about healing for this young person and their family. It can be uncomfortable and even scary at times to report. Remember this could be a ministry for this young person. Of course, if you are comfortable, please talk with a staff person with any questions. Here is Saint Luke's procedure regarding mandatory reporting.

For more detailed information about Georgia's Mandatory Reporting and the Dekalb's Family and Children Services please go to their website (Dekalb County Department of Family and children Services:
http://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/dfcs/reportAbuse.html, which is also listed as a resource to you below this training.

What to report: *
Anything that causes you to have reasonable suspicion of abuse (emotional or physical) or neglect (food, clothing, emotional) should be reported. If you suspect something you should report it. If you have questions or just don’t know please consult with a staff person or local law enforcement.
Required
Your rights: *
You have the right to remain anonymous in your reporting. You have the right to have knowledge of the outcome. You will have immunity from prosecution of a “good faith report.” Meaning if you suspect abuse, and report it, you are protected. Note: failure to report is considered a misdemeanor.
Required
How to report: *
Call 911 if immediate danger. If you are comfortable with it, report to program staff member and they will walk through it with you. Or call DFCS at (404) 370-5066 and you will be prompted through the process. It is important that you do not prod or question the child. Keep them safe and let DFCS help you ask the child about their situation. You are not the investigator, you are there to help create a nurturing environment for this child.
Required
What happens when I make a report? *
When you suspect abuse and a report to Dekalb Family and Children Services an investigation begins, usually within a a week, unless immediate danger is suspected. Georgia Family Services primary goal is to keep families together. Most cases can be resolved with counseling and/or connecting families to social services. DFCS will not immediately swoop in and take a child away from the house or make immediate arrests. You are starting a process with proven procedures. For more information please go to the Dekalb Family and Children Services website listed below.
Required
Whew! That's it in a nut shell.
If you have any questions, comments or concern please let Shannon Dill, Phil Brown, or Catherine Anne Thomas know. At the heart of this training is the nurturing of our children and youth. You make a huge difference in their lives and in turn we pray that they do in yours as well. Thank you for everything you do. Saint Luke’s is great because of you!

Children and Youth Protection Policy:
http://www.slpres.org/?p=6066

Saint Luke's Background Check Online Form:
https://www.ministryopportunities.org/StLukesPresby

Saint Luke's Incident Report form:
http://www.slpres.org/?p=6064

Dekalb County Department of Family and children Services:
http://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/dfcs/reportAbuse.html

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