Safe Church Policy
Safe Church Policy
First Christian Reformed Church of Rock Valley, Iowa
Safe Church Policy
In accordance with the recommendations of the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), First Christian Reformed Church of Rock Valley, IA (First CRC RV) has developed this safe church policy. This policy is adopted to create a safe environment for worship, learning, and fellowship by those involved in all activities of First CRC RV.
This policy will be in affect when approved by the council of the First CRC RV. This policy will be reviewed and approved at least annually by the council of First CRC RV.
The Safe Church Committee
A safe church committee will be assembled at the request of the council of First CRC RV. The members of the committee will serve at the will of the church council. A current elder will be assigned as the chairman of the committee.
The safe church committee will make the safe church policy available to the congregation and be available to answer questions from the congregation.
The safe church committee will also lead annual training for leaders and teachers of all ministries involving the youth of the congregation, regardless of whether the ministry is within the church facilities or other facilities.
The safe church committee will make recommended changes to this safe church policy as often as the committee deems necessary. Any changes to this safe church policy will only become effective when approved by the council of First CRC RV.
Current members of the First CRC RV Safe Church Committee are:
James Vanden Bos (chairman and current elder) 712-470-3682
Kevin Jansma (previous chairman and previous elder). 712-541-5729
Kyle Hoogendoorn (Education Coordinator of First CRC RV) 712-460-0166
Haeley Faber – 712-451-9442
Sue LeLoux – 712-470-0611
Background checks will be ordered for all paid staff of First CRC RV, as well as any person that is involved in the education programs for the youth of the church. This is to include all Sunday School and Catechism teachers, youth group leaders, GEMS and Cadet Councilors, and all adults who volunteer in our nursery.
Subsequent background checks will be ordered on those mentioned in the previous paragraph as often as determined by the safe church committee. The length of time between the initial and any subsequent background checks will not exceed five years.
All background checks will be ordered by the church secretary. These background checks will be given confidentially and reviewed by the safe church committee. Any concerns by the safe church committee regarding any background check will be brought to the executive committee of the church council. The executive committee of the church council will make the final determination of a volunteer or paid staff member’s eligibility to serve in any capacity within First CRC RV.
Special attention will be given to volunteers who have been members or who have been in fellowship with First CRC RV for one year or less.
Any member of First CRC RV that will not subject themselves to a background check will not be allowed to volunteer for any position within First CRC RV.
Definitions of Abuse:
Physical Abuse – Any non-accidental act that violates the dignity of the image of God in another person, inflicting dehumanizing pain or injury. Physically abusive behavior also includes physical neglect, which means not doing what one is supposed to be doing to meet the physical needs of someone in his or her care.
Emotional abuse – Any attempt to control another person’s life through words, threats, fears, and/or deprivation in such a way that it impairs a person’s God-given sense of self-worth.
Sexual abuse – Any sexual experience forced on one person by another, which may or may not involve physical contact between people. Sexual abuse also includes any role-inappropriate sexual encounter, even if consensual at the time.
Responding and Reporting of Abuse
Examples of Mandatory Reporters are those in health care positions, social workers, teachers, police, emergency medical technicians, licensed foster parents, etc. Any mandatory reporters shall immediately report any reasonable suspicion of child abuse to the proper civil authorities. The reporter of the suspected abuse shall also notify any current member of the safe church committee as soon as possible.
Non-mandatory reporters may also immediately report a reasonable suspicion of child abuse to the proper civil authorities. The reporter of the suspected abuse shall also notify any current member of the First CRC RV safe church committee as soon as possible.
Any non-mandatory reporter who is unwilling to report their suspicion of child abuse to the proper civil authorities may consult with a member of the safe church committee. The member of the safe church committee may report the suspicion of child abuse to the proper civil authorities if the non-mandatory reporter is unwilling to do so.
It is the responsibility of the proper civil authorities to notify the alleged offender of the allegations against him or her. Neither the reporter of the suspected abuse nor any member of the safe church committee should communicate with the alleged offender until the proper civil authorities have interviewed him or her.
All suspicions of child abuse should be reported to:
Sioux County Department of Human Services – 712-737-2943 or
Iowa Hotline for Suspected Abuse – 1-800-362-2178
Iowa State Law protects persons from liability when they report actual or suspected abuse, as long as they do not act maliciously.
Additional resources are available to First CRC RV and the Safe Church Committee through the Classis Iakota Safe Church Committee as well as through the Christian Reformed Church Safe Church Coordinator. These resources will be used by the First CRC RV Safe Church Committee, and especially in cases where allegations of abuse are brought against a staff member or volunteer of First CRC RV.