Keeping Your Kids and Staff Safe

Steps to assist youth ministry organizations in protection policies and organizational liability.

By Alison Burkhardt

1. Perform annual background checks on all adults interacting with youth, including parent chaperones for trips.

2. Check in annually with your insurance provider to make sure your protection policies (and emergency procedures) are in compliance with their requirements for coverage.

3. Consult organization’s lawyer annually to learn of any changes to state youth mandated reporting policies or updates on legal issues pertaining to youth safety and ministry staff. Ensure your policies are updated and staff informed.

4. Utilize tools like Youth Ministry Management Tools, by Ginny Olson, Diane Elliot, and Mike Work, which includes a CD-rom with templates for permission slips, health waivers, etc.

5. Check in with your denominational offices to see what recommendations, forms or procedures they have in place for you to use in your context.

6. Regularly communicate with senior staff regarding any potential issues, and have a clear understanding of emergency procedures if/when an instance comes up with youth or youth ministry staff.

These are just a few recommendations to help keep your organization healthy and focused on the mission of youth ministry, rather than getting surprised by an unforeseen issue. The most important thing to remember is that the purpose of all the seemingly tedious details are to keep everyone in your ministry safe, happy, healthy, and growing in Christ.