To maintain a safe environment, volunteers and staff in a position of trust with anyone who is vulnerable go through a screening process.
Screening is simply a process used to help create and maintain of safe environment. The process evaluates volunteers and staff who may be in a position of trust with anyone considered vulnerable. A vulnerable person is anyone who may have difficulty in protecting themselves from harm from a person in a position of trust and who is at risk because of age, disability, or emotional distress.
A risk assessment should be completed for all volunteer and staff positions. Based on the risk assessment, the level of screening can be determined. Faithful Footsteps, under Downloads, below, outlines the risk assessment process and levels of screening. Committees that may use this resource include:
- Ministry and Personnel
- Christian Education
- Pastoral Care
Congregational ministries may also be interested in reviewing A Tender Trust (under Downloads, below), which discusses duty of care from a broad perspective. Ministries with more of a community focus—such as camps and community ministries—will find similar information in Trustworthy Care.
The highest level of screening involves a police records check. The police records check should be the last step in the screening process. The resumé or application, interview, and reference checks are all critical pieces of the screening process. The police records check should follow these other important steps. The Police Records Check resource outlines the requirements for ministry personnel and police records checks. For any United Church ministry where the risk assessment deems a police records check is required for volunteers and non-ministry personnel, the ministry determines the policy.
Plan to Protect
Are you looking to develop or enhance your own program for due diligence and screening? In addition to the United Church resources under Downloads, below, check out what Plan to Protect® has to offer your ministry.
The United Church of Canada recommends Plan to Protect’s abuse prevention and protection tools and the training programs it offers. United Church congregations and ministries are eligible for a 10 percent discount when they become a member. Visit the Plan to Protect website or contact 1-877-455-3555. Mention coupon code UCOC12.
Plan to Protect offers a holistic approach to abuse prevention and offers programs for child/youth protection as well as other vulnerable populations.
- Faithful Footsteps: Screening Procedures for Positions of Trust and Authority in The United Church of Canada (363.17 KB) (PDF)
- Faithful Footsteps: Sample Consent for Criminal Records Search (20.79 KB) (PDF)
- Faithful Footsteps: Sample letter to police departments (30.31 KB) (PDF)
- Faithful Footsteps: Sample confidentiality pledge (18.76 KB) (PDF)
- Duty of Care with Children's Ministries (374.86 KB) (PDF)
- A Tender Trust: Helping Churches to Provide Safe Service (73.52 KB) (PDF)
- Trustworthy Care: Helping Organizations Provide Safe Service (77.15 KB) (PDF)