We acknowledge the tremendous responsibility churches have for the safety and well-being of children and young people attending their churches and programmes. We are strongly recommending that every church puts their leaders who work with children and young people through the PCANZ Safety Warrant of Fitness (WOF) once every three years.
Safeguarding our children, young people and leaders
Every week parents and the community at large entrust us with their children and young people. We hear many inspiring stories of local churches rolling up their sleeves and ministering in their communities in very positive ways. Sadly we also occasionally hear of incidents where young people have been harmed or treated inappropriately whilst in our care. Upon investigation we often find that most of these incidents could have easily been avoided, but those involved lacked the necessary training and structure. The church is coming under increased scrutiny and in order to maintain a respected place in the community, we need to work intentionally to maintain high ethical and safety standards.
To date the church has offered Ethics and Risk Management day courses which ministers are required to attend to stay in “good standing”. However there has been no regular, recommended specific training for those who work with young people.
We are committed to:
The care, nurture of, and respectful pastoral ministry with, all children and young people
– The safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and adults when they are vulnerable
– Ensuring all facilities and equipment meets Health and Safety standards
– The training of all those with any pastoral responsibility for young people, including the use of police vetting
– The establishing of safe, caring communities which provide a loving environment where there is a culture of ‘informed vigilance’ as to the dangers of abuse
We acknowledge the limited amount of time and resources available to our parishes and their volunteers and staff, but we also acknowledge the imminent need to have a baseline of training in the areas of ethical practice and risk management. Presbyterian Youth Ministry and Kids Friendly have consulted with experts in the field of ethical practice to develop a simple and affordable Safety Warrant of Fitness (WOF) for PCANZ children’s and youth leaders. We strongly recommend it for all leaders of young people.
- Regional or national training every three years:
The Youth and Children’s Safety WOF training day would include training on
1) AraTaiohi Code of Ethics (COE) for Youth and Children’s Work in NZ (this course was developed by Jane Zintl who currently delivers the PCANZ COE training)
– Values of the COE
– Youth development framework
– Application of the COE to practical youth work situations (using scenarios and activities)
– Specific focus on faith and the COE – with an emphasis on sharing of faith
– Privacy Act and confidentiality
– Human Rights Act
– Health and Safety
– Accountability to the COE
– UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
2) Risk Management Training (2 hours)
– Help identify and manage risks (physical, psychological, sexual and spiritual)
– RAMS forms. A RAMS forms now need to be signed off by church leadership, we look at how to read and complete a RAMS form
3) A police check (this is mandatory under PCANZ policy for all those who work with youth and children and will be incorporated into the WOF)
In-house refresher annually
Key leaders are strongly encouraged to:
– ensure that at least two people in their team have a current first aid training certificate
– take their children and youth leaders through the church’s health and safety policy
– ensure any paid staff attend external supervision (recommended monthly-6 weekly for a full-time employee)
In-house refresher 6 monthly
Key leaders are strongly encouraged to:
– take their leaders through two Code of Ethics scenarios (provided by PYM/KF/KF)
– Review RAM’s protocols for their current activities (review template provided by PYM/KF/KF)
**Volunteer Helpers are strongly encouraged to:
– A police check every three years (this is mandatory under PCANZ policy)
– The annual in-house church health and safety policy refresher
– The six monthly in-house Ethics and RAM’s refresher 6 monthly
First aid training
At every children’s or youth event you organise you want to ensure that you have at least one leader with a first aid qualification. Therefore we recommend that at least two of your leaders are trained as first aiders. We recommend a one-day first aid course as a minimum covering the following:
– Scene assessment
– Chest pain (e.g. heart attack)
– How to use an AED (automated external defibrillator)
– Broken bones
– Soft tissue injury
These courses are available from:
The Red Cross https://www.redcross.org.nz/first-aid/courses/
St Johns http://www.stjohn.org.nz/First-Aid/First-Aid-Course-Overview/First-Aid-Level-1-/
A1 First Aid http://www.a1firstaid.y9.co.nz/FirstAidCourses/Overview/tabid/60/Default.aspx
There are also private accredited first-aid trainers who can also offer group trainings, often these are more economical. Please contact PYM/KF or your regional youth coordinator for more information about those.
Estimated cost per children’s or youth leader to complete the WOF
Code of Ethics and Health and Safety training is provided FREE by PCANZ and regional staff, there may be associated catering costs with training events.
If leaders need to obtain a first aid certificate the cost is approx. $100-160 pp. (We recommend 2 to 3 leaders in the children’s and or youth ministry leadership team to have this qualification)
Estimated number of hours to complete the WOF
To get the certification, children’s and youth leaders will spend 5 hours in training, 3 hours on Code of Ethics and 2 hours on Risk Management.
We highly recommend that leaders spend another 3 hours per year in the following two years as a refresher.
Definition of Terms:
Children’s and Youth Leader
Someone who is in leadership (paid or voluntary) and pastorally cares for children or youth under the age of 18
The person who takes the lead role in the children’s or youth ministry, this could be a paid or unpaid (volunteer) position.