Community of Christ upholds the worth of all persons and believes that all ages should be treated with dignity and respect. The church’s children and youth activities are an important expression of the mission of Jesus Christ and evidence the church’s commitment to the worth of all persons. It has long been a means by which children and young people can experience the love of God in community. Creating a safe environment in which they can worship and fellowship is also important.
Over the years various local policies/ expectation of conduct "contracts" have been drawn up to foster the safe and respectful environment we strive to create.
Legal Services recommends the following guidelines be followed in order to preserve safety and privacy for children and young people and staff at Community of Christ activities:
- All staff are Registered Children and Youth Workers or Registered Children and Youth Worker Assistants.
- All staff adhere to the 2 by 2 rule (no staff member behind a closed door with a child or young person) as laid out in the obligatory Core Training for Registered Youth Workers
- If a young person seeks personal time with a staff member (Registered Youth Worker) the latter should:
- Tell someone what he or she is doing
- Adhere to the visual 1 to 1 rule also as laid out in the required Core Training.
- Assign separate accommodations and changing, dressing, and bathing areas at children and youth events by gender.
- A specified area (bathroom, curtained space, separate part of the campgrounds) be designated for changing, dressing, and bathing/showering.
- All staff change, dress, and bathe/shower in a private place.
- Campers also change, dress, and bathe in a designated private space. (Staff should be close enough to monitor behavior but far enough away to protect privacy.)
- If separate places are not available for campers and staff to change, dress, and bathe/shower simultaneously, they should do so in shifts in the designated area.
- Bath houses/ showers for pools should be off limits except at supervised times. Campgrounds should aim to provide single-cubicle changing facilities and showers.
- During any activities for younger children bathroom trips should be made with two staff members or, as a last resort, in a group with a staff member who is a registered youth worker (not a registered youth worker assistant). Staff should not enter a stall with a child except in an emergency and then only with other staff present. (See also Core Training)
- During "sleep overs" in church buildings, etc. staff members should carefully monitor privacy and be vigilant about sleeping, dressing, and bathing arrangements.
- Should an adult escort an unrelated child to a church activity, such as reunion, permission to do so must be obtained from the child’s parents or legal guardian. If sharing accommodations the adult must be sure that neither his or her nor the young person’s privacy is violated in any way. Children attending with an adult escort other than a relative should be able to care for their own personal needs (bathing, dressing, bathroom care, etc.).
In addition it is not appropriate for staff (RCYW, RCYW Assistants) to share their intimate personal life experiences at children and youth events. Further guidance is given in the Boundaries and Camp Counselor courses. The parents of the children are entitled to know the nature of any such conversation. Staff are reminded that they are not professional counselors.