Policies and Procedures

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Do you have a volunteer handbook?

How do you communicate important policies and procedures to your leaders?

While it’s not all that exciting, we all know that you have to have some policies and procedures in place when it come to running a safe and secure children’s area. Here are a few things we communicate both verbally and in writing to our volunteers before they begin serving in our ministry areas. We also have a systematic approach to repeating and reviewing many of these details several times throughout the year.

Emergency Evacuation

We take time twice a year to communicate our evacuation plan to volunteers and parents in case of an emergency on Sunday. There is also a map on the wall by the door of each classroom with the emergency exit route, along with a red bag containing everything you need to execute the emergency evacuation plan.

Bathroom Procedure

We ask that our volunteers never enter the bathroom alone with a child. Always stand out in the hall and wait for them. If a child in your small group needs a bathroom break, enlist your coach or greeter to walk them to the bathroom.

If a preschooler needs to use the bathroom, we stand with our leg in the door and our body outside the bathroom. Our preschool bathrooms are located in the classroom so there are always multiple adults in the room. If a young child needs help with zippers and snaps, we help them in the open doorway of the bathroom.

Check-in

There must be at least two adults in the classroom before checking in any children. No one is ever to be alone with a child.

Incident Report

If a child is injured in a classroom, we ask that volunteers let their coach know exactly what happened. We then take a full incident report and communicate the injury clearly to parents.

First-Aid Kits

These are readily available to our volunteers and placed throughout the children’s ministry environments. Coaches communicate to their teams the closest first-aid kit locations.

Planning Outside Events for your Small Group (elementary-age children)

We recognize the value of small groups spending time together outside of Sunday morning. These guidelines are not to hinder our leaders, but to help protect them and the kids in their small groups.

1. Please discuss with your coach what you would like to do with your kids before planning the event.

2. Every outside event must be approved by your coach and the UpStreet Staff.

3. Children must be dropped off and picked up by their parents. Please do not drive children to any location.

4. Please have another non-related adult (other than your spouse) present at the event.

5. Permission forms (which we have available for you) must be filled out for every child present at the event.

We also have procedures for lost children, sickness, or a stranger on the hall. When executed successfully, you should never really feel the presence of strict rules and regulations. They should be the systems operating behind the scenes, contributing to a safe and secure environment for all of your kids.

What are some other policies or procedures you have in place in your children’s ministry?

Emily Meredith, UpStreet Director, Buckhead Campus

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for this. I’ve added a link to this post from my page dedicated to policy manuals. It’s a great help to me and I’m sure it will be for others as well!

  2. There is currently no policy manuel but I started working on one as soon as I came on staff 6 months ago and have been tweeking it since then. One thing that I have put in our policy manuel besides and evacuation plan is a lock down plan. We have a secured area, but having worked in the school system for the last 8 years and having a scare in one of our services a few months ago, I was reminded of the need to have a plan in case something did happen.

    • Hi Helen,
      That’s a great point. We also have a policy for a missing or “taken” child…which puts our building in lock down.

      Isn’t it sad what we have to plan for to keep our kids safe these days?

      Thanks for sharing Helen. I bet Kenny would love to have a copy of your policy manual to post once you finish it. It is so helpful when people share this kind of information. Saves leaders a ton of time!
      Kendra

  3. Here here. I developed my most recent policy manual with two or three other policy manuals in hand. Seeing what others are doing is so valuable. With our manual almost complete, we’ve got a couple of law enforcement officers helping us with our evacuation/fire/tornado/lockdown procedures. To this point, I’ve not seen a CM manual with details in this area, so I feel like I’m having to recreate the wheel to some degree. That’s why I was so glad to see this post tonight… good insight to look into and consider for our procedures.

  4. Do you have a copy of the missing child procedure. I hadn’t even thought of that.

  5. Hi! You said that your permission slip is available, but I cannot find it. Can you tell me where to locate it?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Mandy,
      Sorry if I was unclear, but the permission slip isn’t posted on the blog anywhere. The form is pretty straight forward – nothing fancy.
      I’m not sure where I would post it and reading ours wouldn’t really be all that helpful. They are written for specific events.

      K

  6. Craig Gyergyo says:

    This is right where I am living these days. Recently, I dusted off (literally) our Volunteer Handbook and realized that (A) it needed some serious updating and (B) we had dropped the ball on upholding some of our important policies and procedures over time. Thanks for reinforcing the importance of having these elements in place.

    I am currently updating our Vol Handbook using the exact method that Kenny describes. (In fact, I have gained a lot from Kenny’s handbook from Gateway – one of the best that I have seen.)

    You mention that you have a systematic way of reinforcing your policies and procedures several times throughout the year? What does that look like?

    • Craig,

      Yeah, it’s an easy thing to forget about keeping up on these policies and procedures. I’ve definitely been there. Once on a Sunday morning we had the fire alarm go off and we had to evacuate several thousand people. We also had a tornado warning with visual on a tornado in our area during a service last spring — both of these times REALLY reinforced for us that we were so glad we were prepared!

      We have on our admin calendar a prompt to review, discuss, remind our volunteers, staff, or parents of certain things. For example: in the fall and in the spring (a specific date on our calendar) we send out an email to parents to remind them of our evacuation process and location and remind them of what they do and where they go to pick up their child. We also have a checklist for our coaches twice a year, when they go room by room and discuss certain key policies & procedures and then check the volunteer’s/classroom off of their list and turn it in to staff to let them know that they gave each classroom a refresh.

      We also do this thoroughly whenever we add a new volunteer and usually at the beginning of the fall/school year.
      Hope that helps.
      K

  7. What music did you use for the opener at the Drive conference for the KidStuf production?

  8. Do you use some of the same policies for “not being alone with a child” for other ministries where there’s childcare offered but not as many kids? (Women’s Bible study, etc. We pay our babysitters for Women’s Bible study, but they say that they can’t afford to pay 2 babysitters if there’s only 3 kids.)

    • Hi Cheryl!
      Yep – we NEVER allow children to be alone with one adult. It’s too much of a risk to our kids and a liability to our ministry. To be totally honest – you have a much greater risk of something happening in a less structured environment where there are less people around (like a childcare environment) than you do on a Sunday morning with a bunch of people around.

      Hope that helps.

      K

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