When working with youth, we each have the responsibility to protect those we serve from abuse, neglect and exploitation. This resource will provide skate ministry leaders and volunteers with an overview of child protection. We will explore the risks and strategies for your local skate ministry and tips to strengthen your policies and the systems within your ministry structure.
Our Child Protection Pledge
Our team pledges to:
1. Make sure our own behavior is calm and respectful and be clear about the standards of behavior that we expect from children, young people, and families that we work with.
2. If there is anger and disagreements between children and young people, we pledge to call a time-out and try to resolve the issues calmly and biblically.
3. We will not ignore a child or refuse to allow them access to basic necessities.
4. We will not try to punish a child by mocking, teasing, or laughing at them or trying to embarrass them in front of others. If a leaders or volunteer, witnesses any child being put in jeopardy, they must immediately report the incident.
5. In no case will will a leader behave sexually towards a child (under the age of 18) or touch them in a sexual way. If a leaders or volunteer, witnesses any child being put in jeopardy, they must immediately report the incident.
6. In no case is it ok for a leader to hit or strike a child as a punishment. If a leaders or volunteer, witnesses any child being put in jeopardy, they must immediately report the incident.
7. All leaders must be trained on first-aid, know where to get help to treat sports injuries safely, and how to minimize further harm or infection.
8. Leader must make sure that the physical environment where the children are skating is as safe as possible at all times. Back safety instruction and rules should be posted and shared verbally often with participants.
9. When working with youth, it is ALWAYS encouraged that you work in pairs. Always have more than one leader present for the safety, well-being and accountability of the leader and participants.
10. Although Christian Skaters is a faith-based organization, we love and include all people regardless of their religious beliefs, background, social status or diversity. Leaders should show love to others regardless of their differences.
Leadership and Partnership Code of Conduct
All skate ministries we work with have agreed to follow our code of conduct as stated below:
Part One: The Organization
Christian Skaters will:
1) Provide an introduction on the work of the Organization, its staff, roles and the information each leader needs to meet for the responsibilities of this role in leadership.
2) Supervision and support will explain to leaders the standards we expect and encourage them to achieve and maintain them.
3) We will do our best to help leader and participants have a positive experience with Christian Skaters.
Part Two: Our Volunteers ad Staff
Leaders, whether paid or volunteer, will help the Organization carry out its mission and meet its goals. This work is designed to provide a full range of opportunities to children, young people, and families. he leader's commitment to Child Protection becomes active upon their first day serving with Christian Skaters and will extend to the when they leave the organization. At the discretion of the Christian Skater’s leadership and consulting board, any violation of the expectations outlined below may lead to the termination of your involvement with Christian Skaters.
As an leader of the organization, all individuals agree to:
1) Perform their role to the best of their ability with the best interest of each student considered in every action taken.
2) Follow Christian Skater’s procedures and standards, including health and safety, and security.
3) Act in a culturally appropriate manner, and follow the advice from the Christian Skater's leadership on proper conduct while working both in the skatepark/location and when representing the organization externally. Leaders understand that if any of their actions or conduct put the organization’s security or reputation at risk that they may be let go.
4) Leaders must meet time commitments and standards agreed to and give reasonable notice so other arrangements can be made when this is not possible.
5) Leaders agree that their personal information may be screened at the discretion of the Organization for security purposes and child protection. All leaders are urged to submit a background check to be kept on file at their local project locations. This background check should be renewed annually as a partner in the Christian Skater network. Failure to comply will result in dismissal of the project's partnership
6) Leaders must abide by the instructions and advice of the international and local organization management.
7) Leaders must remain part of the team in all aspects, and not leave the organization during designated work hours without informing my supervisor.
8) Leader must conduct themselves in a manner that is in the best interest of the organization and the children we serve.
9) Leader must have respect the dignity and privacy of all students. There is zero-tolerance for physical or verbal abuse at Christian Skaters.
10) Leaders must never be intoxicated (drugs, alcohol) before or during work hours.
11) Leaders must seek and accept the advice of local or regional leadership in cases of conflict, with staff or students.
12) Leaders should seek prior approval from the International offices in the case of publicity in association with my activities at a Christian Skaters associated event or project.
13) Leaders should be diligent to use the internet for work related activities only during work hours.
14) Leaders will not hold the Christian Skaters or its Employees, Volunteers or Participants liable for any damages or loss incurred during their time serving with the organization, including but not limited to theft and personal injury.
LEADERSHIP AND PARTNER GUIDELINES FOR ESTABLISHING A CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
What is Child Protection?
By definition, Child Protection is, "the prevention of and response to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence against children” (Source: Child Protection Working Group). Eglantyne Jebb wrote a document called the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. This was adopted by the League of Nations in 1924 and in 1959 by the United Nations. It states:
- A child must be given the means requisite for its normal development, both materially and spiritually.
- A child that is hungry must be fed, the child that is sick must be nursed, the child that is backward must be helped, the delinquent child must be reclaimed, and the orphan and the waif must be sheltered and succoured.
- A child must be the first to receive relief in times of distress.
- A child must be put in a position to earn a livelihood, and must be protected against every form of exploitation.
- A child must be brought up in the consciousness that its talents must be devoted to the service of its fellow men.
As ministries working with children this declaration is also our responsibility. We must always consider what are the best interests of the children we are serving.
Why is Child Protection Important?
Every ministry working with children has a responsibility to put safeguarding measures in place. Our main goal should always be to keep children safe, but it's also important to remember that the reputation and success of your ministry also depends on how well we protect those we serve.
When working with skaters, we often are also working with youth that come from difficult backgrounds. As a ministry, this can present extra challenges and responsibilities.
What is a Child Protection Policy?
A child protection policy provides guidelines for organizations and their staff to create safe environments for children. Also called a CPP, this policy is a tool that protects both children and staff by clearly defining what action is required in order to keep children safe. The CPP ensures consistency and clear guidelines so that all staff follow the same process. This policy is the responsibility of ALL staff and volunteers in a ministry.
A CPP will be slightly different for each ministry or organization but should contain common elements, such as defining key terms relating to child protection, policies for background check for staff and volunteer recruitment, behavior protocols for everyone involved in the ministry, visitor and media guidelines, policies regarding partnerships, and incident reporting procedures.
The following are the common requirements for ALL Christian Skaters partners who have a local ministry:
- Establish a staff and volunteer pledge: Require all staff/volunteers must sign a Child Protection agreement before beginning work within your ministry.
- Train new staff and volunteers: Every staff or volunteer should receive child protection training that working in accordance with you local governmental laws so they understand the laws, ministry policies and course of action for every possible situation. Everyone involved in your ministry must know this policy, even those not in direct contact with children.
- Review Your Policies Annually: An annual review of the child protection protocols, any changes in local laws and ministry protocol for incident reporting is important. Set an annual date to meet with key leaders to review this.
- Integrate Your Child Protection Policies into ALL Areas of Ministry: Consider Child Protection policies when communicating with others, when partnering from other organization and groups, and when hiring staff or bringing on new volunteers. All staff and volunteers should undergo a locally recognized background check, have references on file and go through proper channels before working with youth in your ministry.
- Partnership Policies: Potential partners must share a copy of their child protection policy or protocols. Partner should also receive a current copy of your ministry's CPP. It is always a best practice to have partners sign and date your CPP agreement before any collaboration begins.
- Visitor and Media Policies: With European laws tightening on minors in media, it is important that every person who is part of a media outlet, be present with your media and CPP policies. Before taking photos or video, these outlets should sign and date these policies. The policies should include the following stipulations:
- Only take photos that show children in a positive light, not singling out individual children, not using real names, ensuring parent consent before taking photos.
- Every guardian of a minor must also be approached in their native language and give their own permission before having their child's photo or video taken by any media personnel. When each student registers for your program, parents and/or guardians should be asked to sign consent for their child to appear in both externally- and internally-produced media. This should be kept on file at the ministry.
- Safety While Skateboarding: We must also consider safety policies as children skate. Safety gear should be provided and helmets should be worn by teachers and leaders as an example to the youth. Ministries must have a good leader/youth ration (ideally 8-10 skaters per leader). When possible, skaters should be broken up by ability. And, all staff should have annual first aid training and be equipped with a complete first aid kit.
If you don’t have one yet, create your own Child Protection Policy, and ensure your organization has relevant supporting documents like a Code of Conduct and Media Agreement.
Examples and Resources: