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Children & Young People

The Duke Street Church (DSC) work with children and youth includes Sunday School and Holiday Bible Club for children, Youth Group activities, and Mother and Toddler groups through the week.  In the following, guidelines are given for each of these activities.

Leadership is as follows:

Sharon Byamungu:  Senior Ministry Leader for Children (Toddler to Year 6)

Sarah Suddock:  Administrative Support for Children’s Ministries

Henry Young:  Youth Pastor (Year 7 to 13)

Jono Borsley:  Elder with oversight of children 

Philip Long:  Elder with oversight of youth.

Safe recruitment, support and supervision of workers.

The church will take proper care in recruiting workers with children and young people whether paid or voluntary.  Ministry leaders must be church members and the elders will be responsible for their appointment.  They must not be new Christians.  This will involve:

  • Application form: potential ministry leaders & team members must read the Duke St Church Safeguarding Policy and Guidelines and fill out ‘Application form for involvement in children’s work’.

  • Interview: the interviewer will ask about the candidate’s Christian belief and previous experience. The candidate will be asked if they have ever been asked to leave a post working with children or they have ever had children taken into care.

  • References: two references, which does not include the interviewer. If the candidate has been in the church less than 12 months, one reference will be from a previous church leader.

  • DBS check: Since DBS checks can now be processed quickly all candidates should have a DBS check before starting volunteering. DBS checks should be renewed every 3 years.

  • Training and support: Ministry leaders and volunteers should be provided with a clear job description and clear line manager. They should receive the support and training they need for the job. They should attend the next possible safeguarding training event.

  • Review after first 6 months: In the rare event that an unsuitable person has been appointed the ministry leader in consultation with the elder responsible will decide what to do.


Appointment of temporary team helpers

Ministry Leaders may appoint Temporary Team Helpers who must sign a Temporary Self-Disclosure form.  Before first helping, the Helper must be briefed on our Safeguarding policy and guidelines by the Ministry Leader.  He/she must never be left in sole charge of a group of children.

If a helper is to participate in more than 4 activities in a year, then they should be treated as a “Team Member” and the appointment procedure outlined above will apply.

Appointment of young helpers

Young helpers may be appointed by the Ministry Leader in discussion with the Youth Pastor and with the knowledge and permission of their parents.

The young person must be at least in secondary school year 10 (aged 15 or over).

He/she may help out in no more than two Sundays in a month unless approved by parents and Youth Pastor and must otherwise regularly attend Sunday church services when not serving. 

He/she must never be left in sole charge of a group of children (although it is permissible for them to supervise a safe group activity providing there is a qualified team member in the room at all times.)

Safe Behaviour

The church will observe codes of behaviour that ensure that all children and young people are shown the respect that is due to them.

Respecting Children and Young People

  • Treat all young people with dignity & respect

  • Respect personal privacy

  • Be sensitive to their needs & likes / dislikes

  • Avoid questionable activity e.g. rough or sexually provocative games & inappropriate language

  • Challenge unacceptable practice or behaviour

  • Avoid being alone with one child

  • Be very careful with physical contact

  • Don’t undermine parents.


Young Children’s Toileting

  • All adults taking children to the toilet should be qualified as team members (and thus have an up-to-date DBS check).

  • Adults should inform other helpers that they are taking children to the toilet

  • Whenever possible, adults should take children of the same gender

  • If a baby or toddler has a soiled nappy or toddler has wet or soiled clothes a parent should be called unless a parent has left nappies or spare clothes and a helper has agreed with a parent to change the child.

  • In Mother and Toddler groups during the week, a parent may change his/her own child, but should not be otherwise be a part of the Creche team.

  • When changing a child, it is good practice to balance the privacy of the child (i.e. not changing in a completely open area) with the safety of the helper and child (i.e. perhaps changing in an area with the door ajar and other helpers knowing where you are).


Managing and Administering Medicines on Residential Trips

It is the parent/carers responsibility to ensure they inform the first aider/adult responsible for administering medicines prior to the trip about any medical conditions, food allergies, care plans and medicines needed by their child.  


Ideally the adult responsible for collecting, storing and administering all medicines, including travel sickness tablets, should be the first aider.  However, when this is not possible, another responsible adult should be given this task.  The first aider/responsible adult should not be given other responsibilities during the residential trip – their sole, primary focus should be administering medicines.  Children should not be given medicines to store and administer independently.  


All medicines handed directly to the first aider/responsible adult should be prescribed by a GP and be in the original packaging in a clearly named bag.  The parent/carers should complete and sign a form providing written instructions of meds, dosages, storage and timings.  The first aider/responsible adult should ensure all the medicines are stored securely during the residential trip.


Ideally, the first aider/responsible adult should have another adult shadowing them when meds are administered as a witness/back up.


A Master Medicine Sheet for the entire duration of the trip should be created by the first aider/responsible adult and checked by their back up adult.  This sheet should be ticked and signed off as meds are administered.


Phone alarms should also be set as a reminder.


At the end of the trip, all medicines and care plans should be returned directly to the parent/carers.


Use of Social Media

Within our youth guidelines we have specific practical guidance on this area.

Online Safe Behaviour

The spread of COVID-19 resulted in an increase of online youth and children’s activities.  Post-COVID-19, this is expected to continue in some areas of ministry.

Please be aware that online safeguarding principles are the same as ordinary safeguarding – there are no differences.  However, these are the specific risks we need to be aware of:

  • The opportunity for grooming/sexual exploitation

  • Sharing of personal contact details of young people and youth workers

  • Inappropriate conversations between children/young people and workers

  • Potential allegations against workers

  • Use of apps with age restrictions (13 for Facebook and Instagram, 16 for WhatsApp)


Safe Practice in Work with Children under 13

  • All adults interacting on line must be DBS enhanced checked 

  • Parents/carers must be present during the time of the online activity

  •  A brief record must be kept of the online activity

  •  Activity must always be a group activity


Safe Practice in Work with Children over 13:

Code of conduct – ensure there is an agreement in writing about the online meeting which is shared with the young person, conforming to the bullet point outline following:

  • All adults interacting with young people must have an enhanced DBS check 

  • There must be no meetings with young people with just one adult

  • A record must be kept of meetings, who is present and the timings of the meeting

  • Permission of parents must be sought for recordings

  • Group meetings are always preferred to one-to-one meetings

  • Call organiser must have the ability to mute/block participants if there are inappropriate interactions

  • Organisational profiles for the online meeting must be used and not personal accounts


Online meetings with Children over 13 years:

  • Clothing, venue and environment must be acceptable

  • Times of the meetings will be appropriate – there will be no meetings after 9pm

  • Video camera must be on at all times

  • No hidden conversations in chat

  • Outline the purpose of the meeting/s and how long they will last


Safe Practice for Young People over 16+


Option 1 for work on zoom:

  • Specific permission must be obtained from parent/guardian for this unique form of one to one

  • Youth must be present with a parent in the room (not a bedroom, but a living room or kitchen).

  • They can use earphones. This doesn’t mean that parents listen to the conversation, but are at least present.

  • Youth leaders must have another adult present in the room during their conversation (not in the bedroom). However earphones can be used too.

  • Explain this practice to youth, and that they must agree to it.

  • Keep a record of when the meeting was


Option 2:

Another alternative is to have one-to-one recorded on zoom. Permission must be given from a parent and the young person. Recording saved on secure computer.


Safe Environment

The Church is committed to providing a safe environment for activities with children and young people.

No environment is free of risk, but the Church’s policy is designed to develop safe practices in all its activities with children and young people. An important element in this is close collaboration between those working with children, the Church’s trustees and parents.  It is important to provide clear information to parents or carers about the Church, its activities and its safeguarding policy and to have their consent for all activities.


Child Registration Form

Information held about each child includes any special needs, illnesses or allergies as well as contact details to be used in the event of an emergency.


Room Risk Assessment

The Church’s Health and Safety Policy recognises and seeks to minimise risks to young people by paying attention to child-specific risks. Rooms used for youth & children’s activities have a risk assessment. Leaders & helpers should be aware of safety of the room and potential hazards


Fire safety

Leaders and helpers should be aware of fire escapes and fire drills.


First aid

Equipment is in the main kitchen, kitchenette off the Fellowship Hall (crèche) and in the upstairs kitchen opposite room 104.


Lifts (Transportation)

Particular care must be taken when children or young people are transported to outside events or outings. Drivers must have comprehensive insurance which covers use of the vehicle for voluntary work. Anyone who regularly transports children or young people in their vehicles must have Enhanced DBS Disclosures, as required for leaders and workers. Seat belts must always be worn and vehicles must never be overloaded. It will be the responsibility of  parents/carers to provide a safety compliant car seat for any children to whom lifts are provided.


Overnight activities

Particular care is taken to ensure that the code of behaviour is followed by all workers and leaders on overnight events. Parental consent is essential and parents/carers are provided with the address of the venue and a contact telephone number. Careful consideration should be given to ensuring a sufficient number of leaders and workers, appropriate sleeping arrangements and the safety of the accommodation used. Special safety rules may be necessary for some activities.


Incident book

Incident forms are kept in a folder in the Sunday School cupboard in the LG4 store room. A form should be filled out immediately following the end of the activity so that it is a contemporaneous record of what happened. This should be discussed with the team leader and staff as appropriate. There should be appropriate follow up with the family.

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