Childcare Training and Background Checks
Dear Eastwood Family
This post is intended primarily for our nursery volunteers, but we invite all of you to read this and be aware of our efforts to care for and protect our covenant children. If you have been serving in the nursery or have graciously agreed to begin serving in the nursery, THANK YOU! Our covenant children are precious in the sight of the Lord, and it is no small thing to give your time, effort, and energy to serve them.
As most of you will already know, and as my wife recently communicated on behalf of the nursery directors, Eastwood has been making an effort to get our nursery, children's, and youth ministries up to speed on wise implementations of safety practices. As the Pastor to Families, part of my role has been to oversee and help implement this process. We were just beginning to roll out a new “safety system” when Covid hit, and our efforts screeched to a halt. Now, we are trying to renew our efforts to get this system in place and get everyone “onboarded” and on the same page.
Some will likely wonder “Is all of this really necessary?” Well, I certainly wish it wasn’t necessary, but sadly, the reality of the world we live in is that churches and child-serving ministries are often targets for those who seek to molest and abuse children. In just my short time in ministry, I have learned of at least five incidents involving PCA or Reformed churches where there have been allegations or convictions of child sexual abuse, and sadly, it seems that almost weekly there are reports of allegations and/or convictions of child sexual abuse in yet another church or ministry setting. I don’t mention this to make us paranoid or fearful, but rather to emphasize the need for us to take the appropriate measures to protect our covenant children.
Under the oversight of the Session and through partnership with a group called Ministry Safe, we have taken specific steps to implement the safety system I mentioned above. That safety system includes:
1) A set of policies and procedures that we are asking our volunteers and employees to read and acknowledge by signing off on them (you can access this document here); hard copies are also available in the nursery - just ask Joanna or Victoria if you would like one).
2) Abuse awareness and prevention training (which can be completed online)
3) Online background checks. PLEASE NOTE: the background checks are NOT intended to communicate suspicion or distrust for our volunteers and workers. Rather, they are standard safety practice for child-serving organizations and are a component of helping maintain our liability insurance.
Some of you may have already completed all the safety system steps, and if so, THANK YOU. For those of you who haven’t yet, over the next weeks and months, we’ll be trying to help get you on board. When you receive an email about Ministry Safe training or background checks, this is why.
Additionally, if you don’t think you’ll have the opportunity to do the online video training (just over an hour of material which can be completed in one sitting or multiple sittings), we can offer a class during the Sunday school hour to fulfill this requirement. However, I would encourage you to try and do the full online training if you are able.
Again, THANK YOU for being willing to serve our covenant children, and thank you for helping us protect the most vulnerable members of our Eastwood Family.
Finally, please join us in regularly praying for our covenant children and youth - that the Lord would protect them from all who would harm them, and that he would draw their hearts to himself from their earliest days.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions or concerns about any of these issues.
W. Ross Hodges
Pastor to Families
Eastwood Presbyterian Church
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May 13, 2022Childcare Training and Background Checks