As I scan the online networks of Children’s Ministry leaders, I see common questions about what policies and procedures should be included in volunteer training. We all want our volunteers to be properly equipped, so I think these are great questions to make sure we don’t miss something important.
In our ministry, we supply volunteers with a Policy and Procedure Manual that includes 11 pages of important information. While every page is important, we know that this is only one part of a training event and therefore can’t all be explained in detail. So, for our Volunteer Orientation Training, we focus on the Top 5 Policies that every volunteer needs to know.
I thought it might be helpful to share those Top 5 Policies here. (If you would like to see a copy of the full Policy and Procedure Manual or learn more about what else we cover in our volunteer training, leave a comment with your email or email me.)
1. Two Adult Rule
At least two adults (or one adult and one High School student volunteer) should remain in a classroom at all times. No volunteer should ever be alone with children. Occasionally, leaders will find themselves without another adult present due to unforeseen circumstances. The following procedures should be followed.
- Immediately inform the Classroom Support Leader (CSL) or Fellowship Kids staff for assistance so that the policy may be maintained.
- Visible location–For any time when there is only one adult present, the group must be in a location that is visible to others with an unobstructed window, open door, etc.
2. Bathroom & Diaper Policies
Policies regarding diaper changing are as follows:i
- Only female adult volunteers may change diapers
- Diapers are only changed in classrooms with children 35 months and under
- Diapers are only to be changed on the changing stations
- NEVER leave a child unsupervised while on the changing table
- Always wear disposable gloves when changing any type of diaper
- All children should be checked and changed before parents return for pick-up
Policies regarding bathrooms located inside the Preschool classrooms are as follows:
- Allow only one child in the bathroom at a time
- If a child can go on their own, let them. Stand by the door ready to help if needed.
- Only female adult volunteers may assist children in the restroom
- If a child needs help or has not finished up after some time, talk through the door or slightly crack the door so you can talk without looking.
- If your assistance is required, ask another volunteer to stand at the door and watch you as you assist the child. NEVER be alone with a child in the bathroom.
Policies regarding bathrooms located in Preschool or Elementary hallways are as follows:
- Hallway bathrooms labeled KIDS ONLY should never be used by adult or student volunteers.
- Before allowing kids to enter bathrooms, check to make sure there are no adults or students in the room. While kids are using the bathroom, do not allow any adults or students to enter.
- Only allow as many children as stalls in the bathroom (4 toilets = 4 children in bathroom at once)
- Keep the bathroom door slightly propped open to monitor that only appropriate behavior is happening during the bathroom break.
- If a child needs assistance, only enter the bathroom with another adult or student volunteer in the doorway (with door open) watching you.
- Never be alone in the bathroom with a child.
3. Secure Check-In
Every child MUST be checked-in through an electronic kiosk. When the child arrives to class, they must be wearing their name tag. If a child arrives without a name tag, please direct the family to the nearest Check-In Desk for assistance.
Child Drop Off
Be sure to write the 4-digit alphanumeric security code on the classroom roster when a child arrives to the class. If a child should lose their name tag during the service, the roster may be used to match the parent pick-up tag.
- For Nursery & Preschool children, be sure to collect items and necessary information from parents that will help you care for the child during service. Make sure all items are labeled.
Child Pick Up
When picking up a child, the parent must show the pick-up tag with security code that matches the security code on the child’s nametag. ALL PARENTS must show a pickup tag.
- No child will be released to a sibling or family member under the age of 16, even with a pickup tag.
- Children 2 and under should be handed to parents over the door when possible. Avoid opening the door in a way that might provide children with an opportunity to run out of the classroom.
4. Lost Security Tag Procedure
If a parent or guardian has lost the security tag to be used for pick-up, they must be directed to the nearest assisted check-in desk to complete an Authorization for Release form. If any volunteer encounters a parent who has lost the security tag, the initial response can be:
“I am not authorized to release children to parents without a security tag. You will need to go to the check-in desk and they will be able to help you. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but we have this policy to protect every child and family.”
If possible, the Classroom Support Leader or volunteer will escort the parent or guardian to the nearest check-in desk. At the desk, the parent will be asked to show their Driver’s License to a staff member. If the parent does not have a photo ID, the staff member will verify the family information through the church database and a series of security questions. Once the information has been verified, the green Authorization for Release form with a Fellowship Kids staff signature may be used in place of the security tag for pick-up of the child.
If a child should lose their tag and the security code was not recorded on the classroom roster, contact the Classroom Support Leader or Fellowship Kids staff member. A new tag will need to be printed from the check-in area before the child is released to the parent.
5. Volunteer Identification
We make every effort to keep Fellowship Kids safe. Below are our policies concerning volunteer identification in Fellowship Kids.
- All volunteers are required to check-in via electronic kiosk. Only adults and students who are approved to serve will be able to generate a name tag. Please see the Policy Manual for instructions regarding a Visiting Adult or Substitute Volunteer.
- All volunteers are required to wear a volunteer lanyard for an added method of visible identification.
I would love to hear your ministry’s top policies and how you equip your teams through volunteer training. Leave a comment with your best advice so that we can all learn from you!
(If you would like to see a copy of the full Policy and Procedure Manual or learn more about what else we cover in our volunteer training, leave a comment with your email or email me.)