Student... Lauren Baker... Personal Tutor: ... Fiona Poul son... Date: ... 1/10/03...
Level of study... level 1... Module number: ... 101... Module Name: ... Introduction to youth work and ministry... Module tutor: ...
Danny Brierley... INTRODUCTION This essay will be looking at the framework of our church's Child Protection and health and safety policy. In doing this I will take an analytical view drawing upon my own thoughts and reflections throughout. Furthermore, the professional insight of others will be added.
Due to being a Baptist youth worker my main observations of Child Protection will be drawn from the Baptist Union "Safe to Grow" Guidelines. These in it self are developed by using the CCP AS "Guidance to Churches" summary of code of practice (You may also refer to Appendix 1). Before I go any further I believe it would be beneficial to examine what child protection is and why it is so important: CHILD PROTECTION; WHAT IS CHILD PROTECTION? Child Protection is about ensuring the well-being and safety of all children and young people in our care. WHY IS CHILD PROTECTION SO IMPORTANT? Over recent years' policies have been developed in response to the upsurge in awareness of child abuse across this country.
It is a sad fact and truth that we live in a violent and abusive world, which leaves us with the responsibility of protecting those that cannot protect themselves. For many churches there is an underlining sense of immunity from the problems of child abuse. This is likely to be based on the premise and hope that a church is a safe environment. I would suggest that sadly, in many ways, the problem of child abuse in churches is not surprising. One facet of church life is to welcome and encouraged all people to be apart of church life. This means that people from different walks of life (good or bad) will be coming through the doors.
This can makes church a vulnerable and unsafe place for children and young people to be apart of, unless there are child protection guidelines in place and active. STATISTICS The figures and statistics on child abuse in this country are truly horrifying and shocking. A statement taken from the NSPCC web site reads: "At least one child dies every week as the result of an adult's cruelty. Thousands more endure abuse and neglect at the hands of their carers. Yet the known facts reveal only a fraction of the problem. This is because most cases of abuse go unreported, leaving children to suffer the pain and misery of abuse in silence" NSPCC, 2003 This If anything should open up our eyes to the reality of child abuse.
This is something that we must take seriously and not ignore or avoid. OUTLINE OF OUR CHILD PROTECTION POLICY Here is the framework and outline of our churches child protection policy statement, which can be found in Appendix 2. The policy starts with the churches joint agreement of the policy, which has also been dated. WHOSE RESPONSIBLITY The first three bullet points outline that child protection is the job of the whole church and not just on a few individuals. It further states that any indication of abuse must be reported. SUPPORT, TRAINING AND RESOURCING The 4th bullet point expresses the required commitment to supporting, training and resourcing those that are, and will be, working with young people.
CHOICE OF POLICY AND GUILD LINES Point 5 indicates what code of practice they are following: i.e. an adapted version of the Baptist union's "Safe to Grow" guidelines and policies. PUTTING THEORY INTO PRACTICE The policy stresses in point 6 that the agreed guidelines and procedure must not only be read and understood by every worker and volunteer, but also, implementing and observe them. CHILDRENS AND YOUTH ADVOCATE The last bullet point (point 7) states whom the children and young persons advocate is - as well as their role and responsibility. CHURCHE'S STATEMENT The end statement reads: "Children and young people are part of (or belong to) our church today. They have much to give as well as to receive. We will listen to them, as well as nurture them in worship, learning and in community life, we will respect the wishes and feelings of children and young people".
CRITIQUE OF CHILD PROTECTION POLICY GOOD POINTS: This policy clearly shows the importance of children and young people. The statement at the end indicates how young people are the church of today and not just tomorrow. They are vital to the life of the church and must be safe guarded. DISADVANTAGES / IMPROVEMENTS: I have found it hard to find any real disadvantages with this policy. However, I believe an innate problem with any child protection and health and safety policy is the restrictions that lead to a lack of spontaneity. For example: you can no longer decide to meet with a group of young people and go for a dusk walk.
You now need all the necessary forms like: parental permission, medical forms, risk assessment, etc. This can mean more time spent preparing and less time doing actual youth work - although I do recognise there are clear benefits of advanced planning. HEALTH AND SAFETY WHAT IS HEALTH AND SAFETY? It is a legal and moral responsibility to provide a safe and healthy work surroundings for employees, volunteers, and vistors. WHY HAVE HEALTH AND SAFETY? Doug Nichols expresses the meaning well by stating: "Youth and community workers work in vulnerable, usually unsecured premises and often with groups of young people, or adults, prone to behavior variations...
Therefor, there is some urgency about how we address health and safety". NICHOLLS 1997: 2 I believe this statement is very true and real since churches pose a vast array of health and safety issues; from child protection and food handling through to the use of hazardous buildings. The Law Local Authority Health Officers are responsible for enforcing health and safety legislation in churches. They have the authority to enter churches at any time to ensure that you are complying with the law. If we are to have a desire to safe guard children and young people we will need to be safety conscious. The buildings in which our activities take place aren't always the safest places for children.
Many churches were built before today's greater responsiveness of health and safety matters. The Baptist union "Safe to Grow" suggest that: "You should go round your church building with the eyes of a child, from their height and see what you notice". SAFE TO GROW 1994-p 19) My church placement doesn't currently have a working health and safety policy. They are currently putting one together. Below is what I believe should be included within a health and safety policy: OUTLINE OF A PROPOSED HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY 1) WHOSE RESPONSIBILTY? It is every individual's responsibility to report any fault or problem; which could be dangerous.
2) APPROPIATE STAFFING This is vital for both our safety and of others. The current ratio that our church follows is taken from the Baptist unions Safe to Grow policy, which stands at: 8 - 13 YEARS - 2: 15 (MALE AND FEMALE) PLUS 1 EXTRA ADULT FOR EVERY 8 YOUNG PEOPLE. 13 YEARS AND OVER - 2: 20 (MALE AND FEMALE) PLUS 1 EXTRA ADULT FOR EVERY 10 YOUNG PEOPLE. 3) MAINTAINING PREMISES AND EQUIPMENT All property and equipment must be maintained to the highest safety standards. This can include: Furniture, disabled access, electrics, Water-hot / cold, cleanliness of building, correct heating, lighting, building insurance, security, etc 4) SAFETY EQUIPMENT Equipment must be correctly placed on the premises, these include: . Fire extinguishers / Blankets/ Alarms / Exits etc...
Fire drill practices 5) FIRST AIDERS Sufficient number of trained first aiders of both sexes should be present at all activities. Well-equipped first aid box must be on the premises at all times. 6) RISK ASSESSMENT All events must be risk assessed as to minimize the problems that can sometimes be cause by not assessing the possible problems and difficulties that can arise during activities and outings. Travel must also be checked.
See a standard risk assessment form in Appendix 3 CRITIQUE OF HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY GOOD POINTS: This policy covers areas that most church may overlook. It opens our eyes to the fact that we must be prepared for anything that could go wrong. POINTS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Our Health and safety policy is still being put together, this supports my view that most churches tend to leave health and safety till last or maybe even not pay attention to it at all. This can be dangerous as health and safety is an area that affects everyone. I also believe that having 2 first aiders at any given event is very hard for some churches to do. Also refer to the critique of the child protection policy.
ARE BOTH POLICIES WORKABLE AND BEING PUT INTO PRACTICE? Both policies are up and running but I must stress that it takes time to adjust to its demands. It is all well doing the forms and giving out the policies but only when they are put into practice are they really serving their purpose. It is everyone job to make sure that we do not become lazy in following its guidelines. For example a few months our youth club had finished and a leader offered to take one of the young people home.
I had to quickly remind him that this is not good practice. Another problem we have come up against is the badly attended child protection training days. This is currently being looked at. VALUE OF CHILDREN-A BIBLICAL OUTLINE I believe that Jesus challenged the society of his times. In the day and age that Jesus was in his ministry years' children were not valued as much as they are today. They were left on the outskirts of society.
Jesus showed love and concern by welcoming and embracing them when people kept them at arms length. He delighted in them when others pushed them away. (Matt 18 vs. 6-10, Mark 10 vs. 13-16) As Jesus did, we want to welcome, accept, listen to, and encourage children. And that includes all children, what ever their age, gender, racial background, culture, or disability. CONCLUSION To conclude child protection and health and safety will help us minimize the chances or child abuse and harm to young people. I hope and pray that people and churches will realize the continuing need for development of good practice in our work with children and youth people.