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Abuse Prevention Policy Birch Run United Methodist Church Revised 2016
Vulnerable adults, children and youth Abuse Prevention Policy Birch Run United Methodist Church / Birch Run UMC.
All persons are created by God. God intends all persons to have worth and dignity in their relationships. We are one connected body, and when one part of this body is injured physically, emotionally or spiritually, the entire body is rendered less than God intended. Misconduct of any kind violates a person’s wholeness and is an unjust use of status and power and a sinful behavior against God and one another.
The Scripture witnesses to a God who brings about justice, mercy and grace. The Church is called to express God’s love in concrete actions of compassion and healing for all God’s people.
This document hereafter shall be referred to as the Abuse Prevention Policy or simply, this Policy.
The goals of this Policy include:
2. Protecting our care providers from false accusations of abuse.
3. Protecting the vitality of our ministries.
To reach these goals, Birch Run UMC has adopted and implemented this Policy. This Policy is intended to supplement and not replace the continuing need to minister to the spiritual and emotional needs of both victims and perpetrators of abuse.
All Birch Run UMC sponsored functions, events and activities shall be in compliance with this Policy and the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the State of Michigan Camp Licensing Rules and Regulations.
[The definitions of terms used in this Policy may be found at the end of this document.] SECTION 1: Care Provider SELECTION
A. POLICY STATEMENT
B. Anyone who does not satisfactorily complete the required screening and training process shall NOT be permitted to work with or provide any services involving any vulnerable adults, children or youth.
C. SCREENING DOCUMENTS:
All persons working directly with vulnerable adults, children and/or youth shall before the function, event or activity:
1. Be at least 17 years of age
2. Complete a Care Provider Application
3. Provide three written references (non-relative)
4. Submit written permission and pertinent information for a criminal record check to be pursued with local, county, state and/or federal law enforcement agencies.
All potential care providers will complete the Care Provider Application prior to the function, event or activity. Training will be provided by the Abuse Prevention Team or its designee [See Section II: Care Provider Training and Education.]
The applicant must complete and sign an Application for Care
Provider Certification using a form approved by the Abuse Prevention
Team. The application shall include an affidavit.
Background Check –The background checks will come from the Michigan State Police. The processing of the application, references and criminal background checks shall be the responsibility of the event director or designee. The applicant shall not be held responsible for the financial cost of such checks.
Six-Month Rule: The applicant shall be a member of and/or participant in a ministry setting for a period of at least six months immediately prior to application
Personal Interview: The applicant must be personally interviewed by the at least 2 individuals, one being the event director or designee.
Consent by Parent or Guardian: When a care provider is 18 years or younger, the care provider shall have the written consent of the parent or guardian for each vulnerable adult, child or youth for whom he/she will be providing care services. This consent shall be on a form approved by the Abuse Prevention Team.
Other: The applicant shall submit to any other screening requested by the event director or designee.
No one shall be permitted to serve as a care provider or leader who may represent a significant risk of committing abuse or neglect, or violating any part of this Policy.
No one shall serve as a care provider if she/he is known to have been previously convicted of, or pled guilty or no contest to, any crime arising out of any act or conduct involving sexual abuse, or any act or conduct which is of a sexual, molesting, seductive, or criminally deviant nature, whether or not such conduct involved a child. This includes but is not limited to, crimes involving pedophilic behavior (molestation of a pre-adolescent child), incest, rape, assaults involving vulnerable adults, children or youth, murder, kidnapping, and the physical abuse of a vulnerable adult, child, or youth. This qualifying rule shall be applicable no matter how long ago the crime occurred.
No one shall serve as a care provider who has had a verdict rendered against him or her in any civil action arising out of any personal act or conduct related to abuse and/or neglect of a vulnerable adult, child or youth. This qualifying rule shall apply if the verdict has been rendered less than 7 years prior to application.
No one shall serve as a care provider who has acknowledged or admitted that she/he has participated as a perpetrator or any previous act of sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult, child or youth. This qualifying rule shall apply no matter how long ago or whether a civil or criminal verdict was rendered.
If the Abuse Prevention Team determines that the person is unsuitable to serve, the application shall be disapproved and the applicant shall be notified. Birch Run United Methodist Church reserves the right to not accept any person for volunteer or paid service. If at any time the applicant is found to be unsuitable, Birch Run UMC has the authority to review or revoke participation.
E. SCREENING PROCEDURES:
1. The event director or designee shall be responsible for receiving, reviewing, confirming and processing all applications and related documents.
2. The event director or designee shall document the results of all interviews and reference checks of applicants.
3. After all the screening documents and information have been obtained, the event director or designee shall make a determination as to whether the applicant is qualified to serve as a care provider. This determination may be appealed to the sponsoring agency who shall give written notification to the applicant of its decision in a timely manner. The appeal will be a written request submitted by the applicant and directed to the Abuse Prevention Team within 30 days of notification of the denial. Thirty days after the appeal is received, the applicant will have a decision by the Abuse Prevention Team which will be final and binding.
4. All documents and records obtained from applicants not approved to serve as a care provider shall be returned to the applicant. All related documents not received directly from that applicant shall be destroyed.
5. The event director shall document a record of the names of applicants who did not satisfactorily complete the screening process. The list shall include the dates of the screening process, the name of the group sponsoring the related function, event or activity, and the name of the person who conducted the screening. This individual will remain on this list for a period of 5 years before they can re-apply. This list shall not be distributed.
6. As the status of a care provider changes, she/he must satisfactorily complete any additional screening requirements that may be appropriate as provided about under “Screening Requirements.”
1. Except as otherwise provided herein, all documents and information obtained on all care providers shall remain confidential.
2. No Consent by Parent or Guardian, or any file containing such Consents shall be confidential.
3. Notwithstanding the above, all documents and information obtained during the screening process may be disclosed when it is reasonably necessary in the context of any criminal or civil litigation involving the care provider. In addition, a care provider’s records, documents, files, and information may be disclosed with the written consent, or at the written direction or request of that care provider.
4. All confidential records shall remain in the pastor’s office for a period of three years.
SECTION II: CARE PROVIDER TRAINING AND EDUCATION
1. The Abuse Prevention Team shall be responsible for providing training to care providers for certification.
2. The Abuse Prevention Team shall be responsible for training those responsible for implementing this Policy.
3. The Abuse Prevention training and education for Certification shall be designed to create and raise awareness of and sensitivity to the issues of abuse. The Abuse Prevention Certification shall include knowledge, understanding, familiarity, and agreement to implement the Abuse Prevention Policy of Birch Run UMC. This training and education shall include how to avoid incidents and the appearance of abuse as portions of the strategy to prevent false accusations.
SECTION III: CARE PROVIDER SUPERVISION
GENERAL STATEMENT – Proper supervision of certified care givers is necessary to avoid creating the opportunity for both actual abuse and false accusations of abuse to occur. Proper supervision includes providing care providers with Abuse Prevention Certification. Supervision during the care providers’ performance of their responsibilities shall give special attention to high-risk settings such as nurseries, restrooms, and overnights.
GENERAL RULES AND PROCEDURES
ADDITIONAL OVERNIGHT PROCEDURES:
There should be two certified care providers except for the following exceptions:
1) The certified care provider is an adult and there are at least three (3) children over 14 years of age present;
2. 2) Cabin or tent sleeping during a function, event or activity in which there is only one adult care provider and there are at least three (3) vulnerable adults, children or youth present
3. 3) One (1) certified care provider remains while the other certified care provider temporarily leave the area or room for a medical, family, or other reasonable necessity, i.e., escorting a vulnerable adult , child or youth to the restroom.
4. 4) One (1) adult certified care provider remains when the other certified care provider has to leave for an unexpected medical, family, or other reasonable necessity.
5. 5) A certified care provider is taking a vulnerable adult, child or youth to or from a Conference-related function, activity, or event.
6. 6) A certified care provider temporarily remains with a vulnerable adult, child or youth while waiting for others to arrive at, or while the vulnerable adult, child or youth is waiting to leave, a Conference-related function, activity, or event.
7. 7) One (1) adult certified care provider is acceptable when a parent or guardian for each of participating vulnerable adult, child or youth signs a Consent of Parent or Guardian, using a form approved by the Abuse Prevention Team.
An identification procedure shall be used so that each vulnerable adult, child or youth is released only to a properly identified and pre-authorized person.
1. State official I.D.
Only in exceptional circumstances with Abuse Prevention Team advance approval and a signed “Affidavit of Non-Certified Care Provider” in advance of the activity or event may an adult without care provider certification be present on any overnight with vulnerable adults, children or youth.
No males shall sleep in the same sleeping areas as an unrelated female vulnerable adult, children or youth.
3. No females shall sleep in the same sleeping area as an unrelated male vulnerable adult, child or youth.
E. TRANSPORTATION PROCEDURES – shall be in compliance with the Camp Licensing Rules from the State of Michigan. Other events shall refer to the suggested guidelines as outlined in the Conference support documents.
SECTION IV: POLICY FOR REPORTING SUSPECTED ABUSE OR NEGLECT INVOLVING VULNERABLE ADULTS, CHILDREN OR YOUTH
PERSONS REQUIRED TO REPORT:
The care provider shall immediately report the known or suspected
abuse or neglect to the event director.
All care providers and employees who have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult, child or youth shall report all known and suspected cases of abuse or neglect which (a) occur on the church premises; (b) are disclosed during a church-related function, activity or event. All other persons may report known and suspected case of abuse or neglect in accordance with this Policy and the laws of the State of Michigan.
If any vulnerable adult, child or youth arrives at a church-related
event with signs of abuse or neglect, the event director shall
immediately implement this Policy’s reporting procedures.
Under Michigan law anyone reporting in good faith a known or suspected case of abuse or neglect to the Children’s Protective Services or the Adult Protective Services is immune from civil or criminal liability which might otherwise be incurred thereby.
REPORTING WHEN THE ALLEGED PERPETRATOR IS THE CARE PROVIDER OR EMPLOYEE:
When the event director becomes aware of or receives a report of alleged abuse or neglect by a care provider or employee, or the care provider is the known or suspected perpetrator, the event director or the person who received the disclosure or the one witnessing the abuse or neglect shall report the abuse or neglect as outlined in this document.
1. Name, age and gender of the alleged victim and other family members;
2. Address, phone number and/or direction to the alleged victim’s home;
3. Parent’s place(s) of employment (if known);
4. Name and address of alleged perpetrator;
5. Description of the suspected abuse;
6. Current condition of the alleged victim.
Within 72 hours, the event director, with the person initiating the
report, shall submit a completed State of Michigan “Report of Known
or Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect” to Children’s Protective
Services, or its equivalent to Adult Protective Services in
accordance with the directions given at the time of the oral report.
When it is determined that a parent or legal guardian shall be notified, the event director shall call the parent or legal guardian informing him/her of what has been observed, and what steps have been taken in response to those observations. Unless otherwise instructed by Children’s Protective Services or Adult Protective Services, the event director shall follow the parent’s or legal guardian’s wishes regarding the continued participation of the involved vulnerable adult, child or youth.
As much as possible, the event director and all other shall keep matters of the known or suspected abuse or neglect completely confidential. The incident is not to be discussed with persons other than those involved in the reporting.
REPORTING WHEN THE ALLEGED PERPETRATOR IS THE EVENT DIRECTOR:
REPORTING WHEN THE ALLEGED PERPETRATOR IS A MICHIGAN AREA CLERGY
PERSON OR DIACONAL MINISTER:
6. REPORTING WHEN THE ALLEGED PERPETRATOR IS ANOTHER VULNERABLE ADULT, CHILD OR YOUTH:
1. If suspected or alleged perpetrator is on premises he or she is to be isolated from the program and have no contact with vulnerable adults, children or youth and follow the procedures outlined in this document.
2. The event director shall inform the parents or guardians of both parties unless instructed otherwise by the local enforcement agency.
REPORTING ALL OTHER SUSPECTED CASES OF ABUSE OR NEGLECT:
SECTION V: FOLLOW-UP PROCEDURES AFTER REPORTS OF KNOWN OR SUSPECTED ABUSE OR NEGLECT:
A. GENERAL GOALS AND OBJECTIVES:
1. Protection for the alleged victim and other vulnerable adults, children and youth from any continued exposure to abuse or neglect.
2. Care for the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator.
3. Respect and preservation of the legal right of both the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator.
4. Safeguarding the privacy of all parties involved
5. Care for the spiritual and emotional well-being of the congregation
6. Protection of the legal and financial interests of the congregation
1. Church employees and volunteers shall not conduct any investigation of reports or accusations of abuse or neglect.
2. Following the guidance of an attorney representing the church, Birch Run UMC shall cooperate in any proper investigations by the Children’s Protective Services, Adult Protective Services, law enforcement agency, liability insurer and the parties involved.
When the alleged perpetrator is a Michigan Area United Methodist clergy person, the Michigan Area Clergy Sexual Misconduct Policy shall be implemented.
D. RESPONSE TO THE VICTIM(S) AND THE ACCUSED:
1. Pastoral care shall be extended to the victim, the accused, and their families.
2. The church shall continue to express and share its Christian care, love and support for both the victim and the accused, as well as their families. It will be a difficult time for all parties involved and may be when they need the love and support of their church family the most. Although the practice of abuse, neglect or the making of false accusations are not to be condoned, we will continue to acknowledge that God’s grace is available to all. All persons are valued as human beings in God’s image.
SECTION VI: REVISIONS:
1. This Policy shall be reviewed by the Administrative Board / Church Council a minimum of every three years or more frequently if it is deemed necessary and appropriate by the local church.
SECTION VII: IMPLEMENTATION:
This policy shall be effective immediately upon revision and approval.
DEFINITIONS for this Policy, the following definitions will apply:
“Abuse” means harm or threatened harm to the health or welfare of a vulnerable adult, child or youth by any person responsible for the health or welfare of a vulnerable adult, child or youth that occurs through non-accidental physical or mental injury; sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or maltreatment [ see State of Michigan Compiled Laws Act No. 238, Public Acts of 1975, Sections 722.622.2(c)]; sexual harassment, sexual contact, sexual molestation, disseminating, exhibiting or displaying sexually explicit material.
“Abuse Prevention Certifications” refers to the training and education of Abuse Prevention Certified care Providers.
“Abuse Prevention Team” means all persons, individually and collectively, including the pastor, all the trained care providers, and those responsible for implementing this Policy.
“Adult” means a person at least 18 years of age.
“Adult Protective Services” refers to the Adults Protective Services Division of the Department of Health and Human Services in the State of Michigan which guards the safety and welfare of persons in Michigan over the age of 18 years.
“Applicant” means a person who is applying to be approved as a care provider “Appropriate” means conduct that one could reasonably assume would be acceptable and permissible by the child’s parent or guardian.
“Child” or “Children” or “Youth” refers to a person less than 18 years of age [see State of Michigan compiled Laws Act No. 238, Public Acts of 1975, Section 722.622.2(b)].
“Care Provider” means anyone (including employees, volunteers, lay and clergy) charged with the supervising vulnerable adults, children and youth during a church-related function, event or activity. A certified care provider has completed the Abuse Prevention Certification.
“Child Neglect” means harm or threatened harm to the health or welfare of a vulnerable adult, child or youth by a parent, legal guardian or any other person responsible for the health or welfare of a vulnerable adult, child or youth that occurs through either of the following:
1. Negligent treatment, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care and protection from abuse; or,
2. Placing a vulnerable adult, child or youth at an unreasonable risk to the health or welfare of a vulnerable adult, child or youth by failure to the parent, legal guardian or any other person responsible for the health or welfare of a vulnerable adult, child or youth to intervene to eliminate that risk when that person is able to do so, and has or should have knowledge of the risk. [see State of Michigan Compiled Laws Act No. 238, Public Acts of 1975, Sections 722.622.2(d)].
“Child Protective Services” refers to the Children’s Protective Services Division of the Department of Health and Human Services in the State of Michigan which guards the safety and welfare of children in Michigan under the age of 18 years.
“Church” means the local congregation.
“church-related” means any function, event or activity sponsored by, planned and/or implemented by person representing the local church. This definition includes all camp ministry functions, events and activities.
“District Superintendent” means the actin District Superintendent of the respective District of the Michigan Area of the United Methodist Church or his/her designee.
“Employee” means any individual receiving a wage, salary or other compensation from the local church for services, including all full-time and part-time employees.
“Event Director” refers to the person overseeing any programming at a church-related function, event or activity.
“Event site” means the location of a church-related function, event or activity. This does not exclusively apply to a United Methodist facility.
“Leader” means anyone directly responsible for supervising and overseeing the specific church-related function, event or activity.
“Parent or Guardian” means any parents, step-parent, foster parent, grandparent or appointed guardian who has the general responsibility for the health, education or welfare of a vulnerable adult, child or youth.
“Sexual Abuse” means engaging in any sexual conduct or sexual penetration with a child, the sexual exploitation of a vulnerable adult, child or youth, the harassment of a vulnerable adult, child or youth, the sexual molestation of a vulnerable adult, child or youth, and/or disseminating, exhibiting or displaying sexually explicit material to a vulnerable adult, child or youth regardless of whether such conduct is with or without the knowledge or consent f the vulnerable adult, child or youth [see State of Michigan Compiled Laws Act No. 238, Public Acts of 1975, Sections 722.622.2(k)].
In general, sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult, child or youth includes any form of sexual conduct in which a victim is being used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator. It may be violent or nonviolent. It includes sexual behaviors involving touching, such as fondling, as well as oral, genital and anal penetration, intercourse and rape. It also includes sexual behavior that does not involve touching, such as sexually suggestive comments, obscene phone calls, exhibitionism, displaying pornographic materials and allowing vulnerable adults, children or youth to witness sexual activity. It includes any conduct that involves vulnerable adults, children or youth in sexual behaviors for which they are not personally, socially, emotionally or developmentally ready.
“Sexual Conduct” means the intentional touch of the intimate parts or the clothing covering the immediate area of the intimate parts of a child, youth or vulnerable adults.
“Sexual Exploitation” means allowing, permitting or encouraging and vulnerable adults, child or youth to engage in prostitution or in the photographing, filming, creating electronic or computer generated images or any other form of depicting a vulnerable adult, child or youth engaged in actual or suggestive sexual conduct . [see State of Michigan Compiled Laws Act No. 238, Public Acts of 1975, Sections 722.622.2(1)].
“Sexual Harassment” means any unwanted sexual advance or demand, either verbal or physical, which is perceived by the recipient as demeaning, intimidating or coercive. [See the Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church 1996, p. 482].
“Sexual Penetration” means sexual intercourse or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of one’s body, or of any object, into any intimate part of the body of a vulnerable adult, child or youth.
“Sexually Explicit Material” means any printed, electronic or computer generated matter, picture, sculpture or sound recording which can reasonably be construed as being produced for the purpose of stimulating sexual excitement, arousal or gratification.
“Shall, Should, and May” were carefully chosen terms used in this Policy, given recognition to their different meanings. “Shall” is to be considered as mandatory, “may” is to be considered permissive, and “should” is to be considered a term of strong encouragement.
“Volunteer” means any person receiving no salary, wages or other compensation for providing any services, care, guidance, assistance or supervision for any vulnerable adult, child or youth in a church-related function, event or activity.
“Vulnerable Adult” refers to persons over 18 years of age who are mentally or physical impaired (e.g. mental illness or disability) or incapacitated (e.g. drugged or unconscious).
“Youth” [See “Child”].