One of the most important considerations in church security is the children's ministry. Entire books could be written about securing this special space. This week, we are going to take a few minutes to review some high level concepts that your church can use to immediately improve the security of your children’s ministry.
We know that children’s ministry come in all shapes and sizes and each one of them is just as unique as your church. But there’s some security principals that apply to all of our children’s areas.
We call it the Three A’s of Children’s Ministry: Area, Access, and Accountability. Let’s have a look at them
We’ll start with the AREA.
This is the physical space that you have committed to your children’s ministry. It seems like a simple place to start, but ask yourself some questions:
Is the area easily secured? Do the doors and locks prevent people from getting in and also prevent children getting out without permission?
Is the area fully covered by video surveillance? (We can’t stress enough how important it is to have a video record of how children were treated while in your care).
Can the area be locked down in an emergency – but also provide a quick exit if it’s necessary to evacuate?
Is there a designated check-in or reception zone where children’s areas are clearly separated from general or public access spaces?
If possible, designate a “children’s only” restroom and make sure that routes to and from these restrooms are secure.
The next Is ACCESS.
Specifically, we’re talking about who has access to the space and the children.
Only approved staff and volunteers should have access to children’s ministry areas. Parents or visitors should only be permitted into the children’s spaces when accompanied by an approved staff member or volunteer.
Children should ONLY be released to the parent or guardian that checked them into the children’s activity. Your church needs to have a well-monitored process in place for ensuring this and any exceptions need to be highly scrutinized.
Let’s remember that access to and from the children’s area should always be accompanied by a friendly, but firm approach to safety and church security policy.
The final consideration is ACCOUNTABILITY.
There’s few areas of ministry with this level of sensitivity; so we have to ensure that only the most qualified people are entrusted with the care of our children.
Two adults should always be present whenever working with children – this might mean combining children’s groups or even closing off rooms or spaces when this isn’t possible.
Background checks should be an absolute requirement for anyone that has access to children’s ministry. But don’t stop at the background check – sometimes a simple web search or social media check can reveal red flags or prompt further discussion.
Don’t forget, this should also include drivers, foodservice and custodial staff and volunteers that may interact with your children’s ministry.
Finally, cameras are great tools when you are in your regular ministry space, but remember to have also accountability practices in place whenever you go off site to somewhere such as a playground or a park or a even just a different meeting space.
We don't have to tell you that our children are precious gifts from God - so lets make sure we are always protecting them.
Thanks for taking a few minutes to learn with us today. For more security tips, best practices and certified training, keep coming back to SecureChurch.com