Good Shepherd Episcopal Church
Kingwood, Texas
 
 
Parish Handbook - Safeguarding God's Children Policy
RESOLVED, at its regular meeting on July 20, 2004, the Vestry of The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd (the Vestry) affirms and adopts as its policy the requirement of The Episcopal Diocese of Texas to require the Safeguarding God's Children training for the following groups and, in addition, background checks for those so indicated; that the training and background checks will be completed by January l, 2005, that volunteers after January 1, 2005 will complete the training and background check before beginning any youth ministry; and that new employees will complete the training within 3 months of their hiring dates. In addition, the Vestry adopts as the policy requirement that the 2004 Vestry be trained and have background checks by January 1, 2005, and that any new Vestry member be trained and have a background check within three months following his/her appointment.

1. All paid and unpaid staff members of Good Shepherd and of Good Shepherd School.
2. All aged 16 years and older who volunteer in any way to work with children/youth in Good Shepherd/ Good Shepherd School ministries/activities*
3. All leaders aged 16 years and older of groups/organizations from outside Good Shepherd who use the facilities of Good Shepherd and whose primary activities involve children, EXCEPT those who have completed a similar training through their organization and have provided proof of such training to Good Shepherd for its files.

(Background checks are required on groups 1 and 2.)

And be it FURTHER RESOLVED that Good Shepherd's Vestry authorize the expenditure for such background checks to come from the Good Shepherd budget for those individuals who are members of the staff and Vestry, and for those who are vo1unteers of The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd.

*Includes but is not limited to the following:
Sunday School teachers
Youth Group workers
Caregivers (paid and unpaid)
Acolyte leaders
Choir moms and/or dads
Confirmation mentors
Drivers and chaperones for school/church events
Classroom aides and other school volunteers
Vacation Bible School volunteers

Rationale:
The Diocese requires this Safeguarding God's' Children {SGC) training for the groups groups 1 and 2 the Resolution. I feel it important for Good Shepherd to affirm the importance of this program and for it not to be something required only by the Diocese. Additionally, the Diocese currently does not require this training of elected leadership. I feel the Vestry should have it for two reasons.

The first is simply that it sets a good example that the Vestry is not asking other volunteers to do something they are not willing to do, and reaffirms the importance of it. The second reason is very practical. As leaders, Vestry members are often asked to step into roles they don't normally assume. Lack of this training would prevent the Vestry from assisting in any of our youth activities.

FYI, the training is 3 hours. We (Father Stephen and Pam) will be offering it several times this fall and, of course, on an ongoing basis. We offered it to the staff in July, we'll do it again as an inservice for our school's teachers in, August, and we've scheduled it as a two-parter for two consecutive Wednesday evenings. September 1, and 8. We'll try to pick a variety of days and times for the: other offerings. And other churches are offering it too, so no one is limited to the session here.

Budget:
We need to authorize an amount to be spent on these background checks. Unfortunately, all we can put in is an educated guess as the cost of each background check will depend on how many counties the individual has lived in during the last 7 years. For the church alone, my estimate is that we have between 50 and 75 people who will have to be certified by January 1. At $16/county, that is a bare minimum of $800. I am suggesting we begin by authorizing spending, $1600 in 2004.