Child Protection Policy


First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Policy Statement on Child Protection
June, 2004 (revised February, 2011)

People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms and laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

~Mark 10:13-16

First Christian Church in Paris, Kentucky has a long tradition of welcoming, loving and valuing members of all ages, including children. This community has been a sanctuary and safe place for children to develop their faith in God through Jesus Christ. To assure that this tradition continues, a plan for the preservation of child safety, and for the response of the church should this safety be compromised or alleged, has been established. The plan has four parts: selection and screening, supervision, reporting and response. At the heart of this policy is the safe, adequate and caring supervision of our children. More specifically, the church will follow the “rule of three.” This rule will see that children are not alone with an adult—three people will be present.

As a participant in First Christian Church’s ministry with youth and children, you have an extremely important ministry in the life of the church. You are not alone in this venture: your number one partner is God. As God’s partner you will feel the need to call on God regularly in prayer and in your preparation and study. You are also a partner with the ministerial staff and the Family Ministry Team. You should feel free to call on them for guidance and resources as needed. In any work with children and youth, you are also a partner with parents.

First Christian Church is genuinely concerned that we provide the safest possible place for our children and youth as they learn of God’s love for them. We have adopted some procedures for screening and supervising that have been recommended to maximize the sharing of God’s Good News and minimize possible problems. Your ministry is extremely valuable to the church. Your contribution to the lives of our young people may never be fully known to you, but it is very real and lasting.

Telephone numbers to know and use:


Church Office


Bourbon Community Hospital


Bourbon County Health Department




Fire Department


Police Department


Cabinet for Families and Children

(Cash Assistance—Food Stamps—Medical Assistance)


Cabinet for Families and Children

(Adult Services—Adoption—Child Care—Foster Care)


Abuse Hotline

859-246-2282 or 800-422-4453


This policy applies to all persons who desire to serve in ministry involving children or youth. It applies to employees, including ministers, and regular volunteers. It applies to those who desire to serve as childcare attendants, as church school teachers or aides in youth ministry, in summer programs and in any other program of the church involving children and youth.

Oversight and Responsibility
Oversight of this policy is to be carried out by the Christian Education Team. This team shall be responsible for the review of applications for volunteer service, to oversee the supervision of all persons who serve with children and youth, to report to the Board Moderator and Senior Minister any violation of this policy and to direct the church’s response to any accusation or claim of child abuse. The Christian Education Team shall also ensure that all volunteer workers and employees involved with children and youth are trained in the prevention, recognition, reporting and response to child abuse. This will include ongoing assessment through conversation and other means of communication with those in the congregation and community.

As used in this statement, unless the context otherwise requires:

  • Abused or Neglected Childmeans a child whose health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm when any person inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon a child physical or emotional injury by other than accidental means; or commits or allows to be committed an act of sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation upon the child.
  • Childmeans any person who has not reached their eighteenth birthday.
  • Dependent Childmeans any child who is under improper care not due to an intentional act of the parent or guardian.
  • Emotional Harmmeans harm to the mental or psychological capacity or emotional stability of a child.
  • Sexual Abuseincludes, but is not necessarily limited to, any contacts or interactions between a child and an adult in which the adult uses or allows, permits or encourages the use of the child for purpose of sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or another person.
  • Regular Volunteershall be a person who is engaged in a teacher/mentor role with a child or group of children and whose relationship brings them into contact with the child or children on more than three occasions over a 180 day period. The relationship with the child or children shall be on more than a mere proximal basis. Any doubt as to whether an individual is a regular volunteer shall be resolved by finding the individual to be subject to the regular volunteer requirements.

Part I: Selection and Screening

The process of selection and screening applies to both employees and regular volunteers. This process involved the following steps.

  1. Application
  2. Interview
  3. Reference Checks
  4. Six Month Rule for Volunteers
  5. Assessment


  1. Application:The application serves as both application and screening form. It is designed to provide the church with information concerning the applicant’s past conduct and also to identify any potential circumstance which would indicate a propensity to molest children. The application shall be filled out by all persons who desire to work or serve in any capacity with children from infancy through high school age. Applications are to be reviewed by the Christian Education Team and approved before any additional selection steps are taken. A copy of the application is available for download here. Completed application forms are to be retained in a locked file.
  2. Interview: Interview is required, using the application form as a point of reference. The purposes of the interview are to tell each person who desires to work with children or youth the steps we are taking to protect our children from abuse of all types, including sexual, psychological and physical. The interview will also serve to give the applicant an opportunity to discuss the matter. Applicants should be asked if there is anything they would add to what they wrote on the application form, particularly if they indicated that they had been abused as a child. The interview gives the Christian Education Team an opportunity to observe the applicant as well as to hear the applicant’s response. A written record of the interview is to be retained with the application in a locked file.
  3. Reference Checks: An attempt to contact listed references will be made in every case and a written record of the contacts kept in the locked file with the application and the record of the interview. Written references are preferable to oral references, although both are permitted. A copy of the written reference form is available for download here.
    In screening minors, either as volunteers or paid child care attendants, a written parental statement is required which states that the parent knows no reason why the child should not be permitted to serve in the position. References should also be obtained from two of the following sources:
    Other Youth Programs
    A School Teacher
    Youth Workers within First Christian Church
    Youth Workers outside First Christian Church
    In addition to checking references, a criminal record check is required for all applicants desiring to work in positions involving contact with children and youth. An information form for requesting a criminal records check is available for download here.
  4. Six Month Rule: Regular volunteers are prohibited from working with children or youth until they have been members or have been in regular attendance at the church for at least six months. The six month rule permits church members and staff to become acquainted with applicants prior to their beginning to serve with children. The period also serves to acquaint prospective volunteers with the church’s policy to protect its children.
  5. Assessment: An assessment must be made of the application, interview, reference comments and personal observations, and a specific determination made that the applicant has been screened and is considered suitable to serve with children and youth of First Christian Church. The record of this assessment is to be recorded on the downloaded form and is to be kept with other documents in the locked file. All of the findings during the application, interview and assessment stages will remain confidential. This information will be made available only to those involved with the application, interview and assessment stages.

Part II: Supervision

Supervision in the case of children or youth workers means establishing an environment and policies wherein people do not have an opportunity to abuse a child. Commensurately, the following procedures will be observed at First Christian Church:

  1. First Christian Church requires that at least two responsible persons are present at all times at activities involving children and youth.
  2. At least two adults shall accompany minors on field trips, outings or camping trips.
  3. At least two adults shall accompany minors on any program involving an overnight stay.
  4. A cleric, and employee or a regular volunteer must obtain the consent of a child’s parent or legal guardian before inviting a minor to visit in the adult’s home.
  5. If a minor needs a ride home after a meeting, two adults should be present.
  6. All classroom doors shall have windows, so that activities within can be clearly observed by persons in the corridor.
  7. Parental permission is required for a child or youth to have a private meeting with an adult, including a minister. If parental permission is inappropriate in a given case, the meeting shall take place where the adult and youth can be seen, through a window, an open door or in a room with another adult present who can see but not necessarily hear the conversation.

As part of ongoing volunteer supervision and training, each year the Senior Minister and the Associate Minister will spend time with all volunteers mutually reflecting on youth ministry experiences. This will seek to ensure the ministry of First Christian Church to youth and families is a deep and meaningful one.

Part III: Reporting

Kentucky Revised Statute 620.030 requires that any person who knows or has “reasonable cause to believe” a child is “dependent, neglected or abused” report this fact to the local or state police, the county attorney, the Commonwealth attorney, or the Cabinet for Families and Children. (See abuse hotline under “Numbers to Know and Use”) The law also requires that any medical, school, child care or law enforcement personnel or agency which knows or has reasonable cause to believe a child is being abused or neglected report this fact to one of the authorities listed above. In the absence of a clergy-penitent privilege the individual who discovered the alleged abuse is responsible to make the required report.

Any person who is a volunteer worker or an employee of First Christian Church who knows or has reasonable cause to believe a child is dependent, neglected or abused is required, in addition, to report it immediately to his or her supervisor. The supervisor is then required to pass the report up the supervisory chain to the Senior Minister and Board Moderator. It is imperative that the Senior Minister and appropriate church official be aware of the allegation of child abuse as soon as possible. It is the responsibility of the Senior Minister or Board Moderator to notify the appropriate church officials, including the chair of the Christian Education Team. The Senior Minister and Board Moderator are also responsible for notifying the Regional Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Kentucky, the church’s insurance company and the church’s attorney.
It is a requirement of the church that all regular volunteers and employees who work with children be provided with training to ensure that they know the symptoms indicating the possibility of child abuse.

Part IV: Response

If a report is ever made, report of the child abuse must be taken seriously. First Christian Church will deal responsibly with any allegation of child abuse. The Christian Education Team will serve as the response coordinating body within the church. All actions concerning the church’s handling of the incident should be thoroughly documented. The church’s response to a report of child abuse will depend upon the circumstances that exist in the case. Therefore, it is not possible to state all the specific steps that will be involved in every case. Nevertheless, certain minimum steps must be taken in every case, as follows:

  1. Where the abuse or neglect creates a substantial risk of physical or emotional injury, the case will be reported to the authorities as discussed in Part III. If an employee or volunteer detects evidence of abuse he or she must report it to the minister of the church. Likewise, if a person confesses to perpetrating child abuse and such confession is not made in a situation where the clergy-penitent privilege applies; it is to be reported to state authorities.
  2. Following the report to authorities, the Senior Minister and Board Moderator will form an investigative team of three to five persons from a list approved by the Christian Education Team. It is recommended that the Associate Minister and a representative from the Christian Education Team participate in this initial investigation together with other persons from the appropriate professional disciplines. They will exercise discretion and care in determining as soon as possible the necessary actions to be taken.
    From the very beginning, care shall be taken to be sensitive to the needs of all involved and to prevent the reputation of anyone from being unnecessarily endangered by this investigation. Care shall also be taken to ensure that Christian love is extended to all persons involved, including the alleged perpetrator. It is the ministry of the church to respond responsibly to the person or persons alleged to have perpetrated the abuse. Care shall also be taken to not interfere with any ongoing investigation being conducted by civil authorities.
    If the investigative team determines that it is clear the incident did not occur, the Senior Minister or Board Moderator will be so notified and the investigation process will then be suspended. The accused and the person who brought the allegation will then be notified of the decision of the investigative team.
    Should the investigative team determine that there is cause to believe that a valid claim exists, it will present a written report of the investigation to the Senior Minister and Board Moderator along with recommendation as to further action.
  3. In every case of alleged child abuse, or whenever a person claims that someone has abused him or her, the allegations must be reported to the church’s insurance company, the church’s legal counsel and the Regional Minister.
  4. If a church employee or worker is accused of child abuse, the accused person shall be immediately informed of the nature of the complaint and be removed from contact with children and youth pending further action.
  5. If a victim of abuse has been identified, the Senior Minister and Board Moderator shall talk to the victim’s parents. The parents should be informed that they have the right to anonymity, but that if the accused perpetrator has denied the allegation, anonymity will make the investigation more difficult. At all times care shall be taken to be extremely sensitive to the child, showing care and concern as to prevent harm. The care and safety of the child is the first priority. At all times let the child and the child’s parents know that the church takes the matter very seriously and that the policy of the church is to deal with the situation responsibly. In like fashion, care shall be taken to be sensitive of the accused and to treat the accused with Christian love.
  6. In some cases, it will be necessary to inform the church members of the occurrence of child abuse. A letter should be sent to the members so that they will hear it first from the Senior Minister and church officers, rather than the news media. The letter should go only to participating members and be marked confidential. The letter should be brief; for example, “(name) has been accused of an incident of child molestation in our church, and the matter is being investigated by the state Cabinet of Human Resources (or the Police, as appropriate.) (Name) denies any wrongdoing. We urge you not to discuss this matter with any person who is not a member of First Christian Church. We also urge you to remember this situation in prayer.” The church’s attorney should review the letter prior to mailing.
  7. It is probably that a case of child abuse will eventually be revealed to the news media. All comments to the media should be made by the Senior Minister and Board Moderator. Where appropriate, allegations should be frankly admitted insofar as the investigative process will permit. The response of First Christian Church should be that “we have taken every precaution to protect the children and youth who are involved in our many ministries.” The existence of this policy, Policy Statement on Child Protection, should be discussed to reinforce the church’s intent to create an environment that is as safe as possible for children and youth. Let them know that the church as acted responsibly in accordance with Kentucky state laws and the church’s policy. The church should report to the media the aggressive and extensive steps that are taken to reduce the risk and the response that the church has made to this reported child abuse.


CPP Application to Service in Ministry to Children or Youth

CPP Information for Criminal Records Check and Authorization

CPP Reference Report