Monday, March 29, 2010

The 4-1-1: Child Protection Training & Background Screening

Child Protection Training and Background Screening
Children are a precious resource entrusted to us and their care and protection is a top priority. In a world where sexual and physical abuse of children is a sad reality, many churches are taking steps to assure that the children related to their ministry are safe and secure from sexual and physical abuse. The IMB is joining the growing number of churches in implementing a child protection process. Because almost everyone serving on the mission field interacts with children, we are asking that all short term mission trip participants ages 18 and older, have child protection training and go through a background screening process.
Many churches have training in place for those who work with children and youth. Child protection training materials are also available free of charge at the IMB’s Web site.  Each person should participate in their church’s training or review the materials provided by the IMB.

Many churches utilize a screening process that includes a criminal background check, an interview, and confidential references. The IMB is requesting that this three part process be utilized for those participating on a short term mission trip. The sending church (or other sending organization) should interview each potential team member, gather and evaluate personal references and secure a company to conduct a criminal background check for each team member. The check should include a county, state and national record check.

Many churches already have engaged a company to conduct criminal background checks. For churches or partner groups that do not have a process in place, the IMB has established a relationship with Protect My Ministry to facilitate the criminal background check process.
The IMB offers sample interview questions and a sample confidential reference form that can be used to complete the other two parts of the background screening process. If a church uses Protect My Ministries, the interview is built into the background check process and need not be separately repeated.

More detailed, step-by-step procedures for completing the training and background screening components of the child protection process are available on the IMB Web site.

Team leaders should confirm in writing to their host contact on the field that each short term mission trip participant has completed the child protection process. The training and screening only needs to be completed every four years, no matter how many trips a person may make.

For short term mission trip participants under the age of 18, the sending church or entity should conduct a reference check only. The training and the other elements of the background screening are not required.

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