Church security related to children’s ministry has never been more important. In the past several years, child abuse reporting has become more common place because laws have been instituted which force anyone working with children to report suspected abuse of children. No longer are churches allowed to use internal discipline when a child has been hurt under their care.
In the past, churches have been hesitant to report child abuse due to the fear of poor public relations, and many denominations have had to later pay huge settlements as a result of the emotional damage done.
With these concerns, churches have turned to increased vigilance to protect the children attending their worship center, including background checks of staff involved in children’s ministry, as well as physical/plant security enhancements which help protect children from mistakenly being given to the wrong person, and alerting childcare workers to specific concerns with each child.
One company that is especially well versed in issues of child security within the church setting is Parent Pager. On the outside, it may be tempting to believe this company only offers a simple paging system, however, CSA’s research into this company and their products reveals so much more.
When a parent is checking in their child to the nursery, they are assuming the childcare staff is trained and knowledgeable, and that the protection of their child is at the highest level. Given today’s threats against churches, many churches provide substandard protection which opens the church to legal liability.
The Parent Pager check in system provides child security through the use of picture name badges for parent and child, pager communications to contact parents immediately, record keeping for registration and follow-up, as well as traffic and access control technology for the child care nursery/ministry area.The Parent Pager system interface is very simple and easy to use. Your church can offer self check in with the use of touch screen technology, fingerprint ID readers, or proximity cards. The check in screen is user friendly and provides immediate information such as child’s name, parent’s name, picture of child, and pictures of “approved” adults.
The children’s ministry volunteer can then assign a pager to the family, so if there are any problems, the parent may be notified immediately, and the proper care can be given to the child. All this information is tracked by Parent Pager.
Once the child is checked in, the label printer prints an ID tag for the child. The ID card provides specific information for the child, where the parent will be, and any special instructions for the child’s care.
Parent Pager offers a flexible system to address the needs of the small or large church. The packages are versatile and offer not only registration and paging services, but the company also has options for physical plant security.
Church nursery ministries should consider a basic three prong approach to child protection. The first is physical protection – making sure limited people have access to the children’s ministry area. First through an organized and orderly check in process. Families should be met by someone working in the area who can provide information and assistance with the check in process.
Secondly, the child can be dropped off within the children’s ministry area, but outside the inner core of classrooms. There should be a physical barrier, like a security door, to prevent access to the classroom/nursery areas without identification and pre-approval with tagging or access proximity readers.
Thirdly, there should be a person present to confirm the parents have proper access to the area (with registration), and to check identifications of anyone in the area, confirm the right person is picking up the right child, and provide any assistance necessary.