First Congregational Church UCC
of Elgin, IL
SAFE CONDUCT POLICY
Screening Process: All adults who work with children, youth and vulnerable adults will be required to complete a screening process, which includes a background check. Completion of relevant training and other requirements may also be warranted. Adults that are subject to this screening process include but are not limited to FCC clergy, all FCC employees, Christian education teachers, and Youth Group leaders and chaperones.
Never be alone with a child or vulnerable adult: Teachers, advisors, aides, pastors or anyone else working with a child, youth or vulnerable adult should not place themselves in a compromising situation by being alone with that person. If meeting one-on-one, always do so in a public place in full view of others. Persons working with vulnerable adults shall not seek financial remuneration or other material rewards for service to that person.
Adult-Child Ratios: Every effort shall be made to maintain an adult-child ratio of 1:5 with nursery- and preschool-aged children (with an additional helper) and 1:15 with elementary-aged children. Adults are considered to be 18 years or older. An employee or volunteer leader under the age of 18 working with minor children shall be under the supervision of an adult.
Bathroom Supervision: Anyone who accompanies a child to the bathroom should remain outside the bathroom while the child is inside. If a child needs assistance using the restroom, two adults need to be present, one of whom may be a youth aide, whenever possible. If, for any reason, a teacher or aide is left alone in a classroom, the teacher in the nearest or neighboring classroom should be so informed.
Parental Consent for Child and Youth Activities: Child/youth Registration/Permission forms must be obtained for off-site child and youth activities.
Discipline: No child, youth or vulnerable adult shall be disciplined by the use of physical punishment. Verbal reprimands shall not include destructive criticism, insult or shouting. Teachers and helpers in the classroom are encouraged to listen to the child and communicate expectations of appropriate behavior.
Child and Youth Group Activities: No adult leader, staff or volunteer should initiate or encourage inappropriate contact with children or youth. Setting boundaries is the responsibility of the adults. Avoid situations where one adult and one child or youth are left at the facility waiting to be picked up. Adults in charge must stay until all children and youth have been picked up.
Overnight Rule: All adult chaperones supervising overnight stays at our facilities or on congregational sponsored trips will have a background check completed prior to the event. If husband and wife are chaperones, a third adult advisor is to be present. A signed permission slip is required for all participants.
Recognizing Abuse: Our church is against all forms of abuse; abuse can be physical, sexual, mental, or financial in nature. While one may witness actual abuse, it is sufficient to suspect abuse based upon observation of general health, physical condition, patterns of irregular behavior and environmental factors.
Reporting Responsibilities: Any known or suspected inappropriate conduct or relationship between an adult and a child, youth or vulnerable adult shall be immediately reported to the Senior Pastor. If the alleged abuser is the Senior Pastor, report the allegation to the Moderator.
Clergy Misconduct: Clergy serving the congregation in any capacity (active, retired, employee, volunteer) shall not use their power or authority to exploit others (financially, sexually, emotionally, or physically). In the event that Clergy are suspected of abuse, the witnessing person should contact the Moderator who will contact the Fox Valley Association of the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ. If the suspected abuse is between the Moderator and the Clergy, the witnessing person should directly contact the Fox Valley Association (ph# 708-344-4470).
Sexual Harassment: Congruent with the Illinois Human Rights Act, we understand sexual harassment to mean any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favor or any conduct of a sexual nature.
Substance Abuse & Weapons: The use of any illegal drugs, marijuana, alcohol or weapons on or in congregation facilities or at congregation-sponsored youth events is strictly prohibited, whether in the presence of a child or outside of the view of a child.
Transportation: Transportation for off-site activities must be provided by staff or adult leaders who are at least 21 years old. Each driver shall have the permission forms for those who are in their vehicle. Volunteer drivers will be required to complete a Volunteer Driver Form.
Financial Exploitation: No minister, staff or volunteer will use their relationship with a member of the congregation to unfairly exploit a relationship for personal financial gain through gifts, loans or being provided for in a will or trust.
Sex Offenders: All persons are welcome at FCC. All behaviors are not. All people are required to act in a manner which ensures the safety of vulnerable adults, youth and children. In particular: Registered Sex Offenders shall make themselves known to the Clergy who will inform them of our Registered Sex Offender Policy. Their participation would be subject to their adherence to the Registered Sex Offender Policy and their completion of the Limited Access Agreement. To review these documents please visit www.fcc-elgin.org/SafeConductPolicy. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to the Pastor or the Moderator.
Ad-Hoc Committee on Church Safety - This committee will be established each year at the annual ministry onboarding event in February. The committee will include the Moderator, Vice Moderator and Chair of the Governance Committee. The committee will advise clergy as needed regarding safe conduct issues as they arise.