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Child & Youth Protection Policy


It is in the best interest of the Gathering to adopt policies, procedures, and practices to assist the Gathering in protecting the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of the children and youth who participate in house of worship sponsored activities at the Gathering.



The Gathering through its people, believe it is in our best interests to adopt policies, procedures, and practices to assist in protecting the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of our children and youth when they participate in Gathering sponsored activities. These policies, practices, and procedures proceed from the following core decisions:

1.  Adults convicted of sexually or physically abusing a child will not be accepted for volunteer or paid service in any Gathering sponsored activity or program for children or youth.

2.  At least two (2) adults, non-related preferred but not required, or one adult and one teen leader will always be present at all Gathering children’s classes.  At least two adults, non-related preferred but not required, will always be present at all Gathering youth events.

3.  Background checks will be required for each adult serving in the children’s or youth ministry.

4.  Drivers to off-campus events will not be one-on-one with a young person of the opposite gender.


I.  Incident Reporting

All allegations of incidents involving improper touching, physical abuse, or sexual abuse of a child or youth during any and all Gathering sponsored activities must immediately be brought to the attention of the elders or their wives who are mandatory reporters.



1.     Volunteers and Paid Staff will qualify if:

a.     They complete an Employment Application Form; and

b.     They permit a criminal records check; and

c.      They indicate prior positive experience, skill, training, or work related to children and/or youth; and

d.     They have a positive personal interview with a Gathering staff member and one (1) other person or authorized members of the Ministry Team Representative.

2.     Satisfactory Completion of Screening Requires:

a.     No known history or criminal record of or relating to child abuse or molestation or other findings of a criminal record involving injury to another; and

b.     Positive references; and

c.      Experience working with children or satisfactory demonstration of ability to learn and understand the position for which the individual applied; and

d.     Successful completion of a personal interview (interview does not reveal information of concern to interview team).

3.     Unsatisfactory Completion of Screening and Exclusion from Service with Children or Youth includes:

a.     Prior history, conviction, Alford plea (nolo contender), or guilty plea for child abuse or molestation.

b.     Other findings of a criminal record.

c.      Negative personal reference or interview: (evaluation on a case-by-case basis, with additional references, interview or follow-up information sought to confirm or disprove suspicions as necessary).

Individuals who do not satisfactorily pass screening may be offered opportunities to volunteer their services or work in other areas of the organization. Pastoral guidance and counseling should be offered to these individuals to assist them in understanding the Gathering’s obligation to provide the highest level of protection to its children, its youth, and its members.

Authorization of Approved Volunteers and Paid Staff

Volunteers and paid staff may be authorized, upon successfully completing screening, to work with children/youth in activities where there will be two (2) or more adults, non-related preferred but not required.

Volunteers and paid staff for high-risk settings may be authorized, upon successful completion of screening, to work with children and youth in the following settings:

a)     Any overnight activity with youth/children

b)     Any one-on-one activities or sessions with a child or youth

c)     Any work with infants; and

d)     Any positions involving transporting children or youth for any distance.


II.  Worker Supervision Policies

A.  Team Approach

Gathering activities involving children and youth will be supervised or conducted by two (2) adults, non-related preferred but not required, or one adult (21 or over) and a non-related youth helper.


B.  Parental/Guardian Permission

Any time a paid staff member or volunteer is required to be alone with a child or youth, parental/guardian permission should be obtained. If contact with a parent/guardian cannot be made, another adult should be notified. Parental/guardian permission forms will be made available for other Gathering sponsored settings enabling parents/guardians to approve their child being alone with a teacher or leader.

C.  Overnight Rule

Only volunteers or paid staff members who have been authorized for high-risk positions will be allowed to chaperone overnight activities.

D.  Nursery/Toddler Identification

1.     All infants will be signed into a designated room anytime they are left in the nursery room(s) for any childcare activity (Sunday or other times childcare is offered).

2.     Parents/guardians will be given a claim check at the time they leave their child.

3.     A parent/guardian can only pick up a child when a claim check is presented.

4.     Youth nursery attendants must have written parental/guardian permission for supervising children.

E.  Children in Classrooms Shall be Visible from Outside the Classroom

Children participating in indoor activities in classrooms should be visible from outside the classroom. If a door does not have a window, the door should be left open and be gated, if necessary. Doors should never be locked while people are inside the room.

F.  Prohibited Behaviors

1.     A volunteer and/or paid staff member shall not place himself or herself in a situation where he or she is alone with a child absent proper parental/guardian authority.

2.     A volunteer and/or paid staff member shall not use profanity, vulgarities, or emotionally abusive language, drugs or alcohol.

3.     A volunteer and/or paid staff member shall not strike, hit, spank, or otherwise physically direct a child or youth.

4.     A volunteer and/or paid staff member shall not touch, fondle, or kiss a child or youth or physically or verbally engage in any inappropriate or sexual manner with a child or youth.

III.  Incident Reporting

All allegations of incidents involving improper touching, physical abuse, or sexual abuse of a child or youth during any and all Gathering sponsored activities must immediately be brought to the attention of the elders or their wives.

The reporting person shall:

1.     Inform the Elders or other individual in the authority chain as set forth above if he or she has not already been informed.

2.     Assist the Elders or other individuals in the authority chain as set forth above in investigating the allegations following the Incident Report guidelines.

3.     Cooperate with the Elders or other individuals in the authority chain as set forth above in insuring that the Incident Report Appendix C (Elders have forms) is completed and properly executed. The person signing the report will be trained to know that he or she, the Elders or the individual in the authority chain as set forth above, is responsible to see that proper notification is made to the following: parents/guardians, legal and social welfare authorities as may be mandated by state law, insurance company (in accordance with the insurance contract), or other authorities. The person notified should assist to ensure that the proper procedure is followed, and the necessary notification made, but because the person notified is not bound by this Policy, the person making the notification should clearly request all appropriate assistance to make sure the proper notification procedure is followed.

IV.  Response to Allegations

It will be the policy of the Gathering to deal with all allegations of improper conduct involving children and youth with respect and dignity for all parties involved. The Gathering will remain unbiased and supportive to all parties involved, recognizing that incidents of abuse allegations are devastating to both the accuser and the accused. Therefore, the above policies and incident reporting will be carried out tactfully, discreetly, and without bias on the part of the reporting agent.

Upon learning of the allegation of sexual abuse by any employee or volunteer of the Gathering, the Committee shall take steps to see that the person making the allegation is provided with information concerning:

1.     The process of inquiry the Committee will follow; and

2.     The availability/identity of counselors experienced in working with victims of abuse.

All reasonable attempts will be made to keep reports of allegations of misconduct confidential. Reporting agents will be instructed to maintain the confidentiality of all parties, to the extent allowed by law, with the following required reporting exceptions:

1.     Parents/guardians

2.     Legal and social welfare authorities

3.     Gathering insurance and legal counsel

V.  Procedures for dealing with a Registered Sex Offender:

Each case will be evaluated based on relevant facts, and a specific course of action will be determined. Any person having been placed on a sex offender registry as the result of a sexual misconduct or molestation offense will be allowed to attend church services under the following conditions:

1.     The conditions of their parole allow them to do so.

2.     They agree to periodic meetings with the Elders or his designee for the purpose of imposing conditions and reviewing compliance with such.

3.     They agree to be accompanied by an assigned Gathering attender in active service whenever on Gathering property.

4.     They are not allowed to use the Gathering restrooms, unless accompanied by an Elder, Deacon or their assigned attender in active service.

5.     They are not allowed off-premises social interaction with any Gathering children or youth.

6.     They are not allowed to ask for or have Gathering keys in their possession.

7.     It is understood they will never work with the Gathering’s children or youth in any way.

8.     The registered sex offender is to be presented with a written copy of their restrictions and by their affixed signature, must agree to abide by these conditions. It is also understood that if they violate any of these conditions, their attendance privileges may be revoked.



Appendix B


By signing this document, I am stating that I have read and understand the Child/Youth Protection Policy of the Gathering Inc.

I further agree that I accept the policy and will abide by it. If incidence of child abuse or criminal activity is proved, I understand my role as volunteer and/or paid staff member will be terminated.


___________________________          _________          ___________________________          ________

Signature of Staff or Volunteer                       Date                Signature of Witness                          Date

___________________________      ___________________________

Printed Name of Staff or Volunteer    Printed Name of Witness



Appendix C



Date of report:


Name of person(s) issuing this report:          


Alleged perpetrator(s):           




Date, time, and location of incident: 


Written description of incident:          






____ I am a mandatory reporter.

____ I choose to remain anonymous regarding this incident.

____ I have reported or intend to report this incident to criminal authorities.



Signature of person generating this report



Signature of person issuing this report to the receiving person (may be same as above)



Signature of person receiving this report