Our CM Policies don’t cover check-in

Your Question:

“The kids aren’t checked in or protected at checkout.  How do I find the right check-in system, and launch it?”

The Issues:

The process of securely checking children into and out from their CM areas must be one of the top priorities for your safety policies. Child predators have used this dangerous time to gain access to children.  Without a detailed, specific system for guaranteeing that each child is checked out by the same person who checked him/her in, the CM team can only rely on knowing each child’s parent or legal guardian.  This is not a realistic expectation.  The secure check-in process usually comes with an increased cost, so this addition must be “sold” to church leadership.

Scripture Foundation:

Keep watch over yourselves and the entire flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. I know that…savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number, men will rise up and distort the truth to draw away disciples after them. Therefore, be alert…” Acts 20: 28-31

Short Answer:

Not protecting the check-in and checkout of the children is like a parent making sure her child eats a good breakfast before school, but then sends the child out in the snow without a coat or shoes to catch the bus.  The time of checking in or checking out from a CM program is when the children are possibly the most vulnerable.  Even in a smaller church, this time is usually busy with the hallway filled with parents who all want to get to the service or get in the car and go home.  There is a pressure to move quickly.  If there are lines at the doorway, the pressure to move children into the room or out to their parents becomes extreme.  In this extreme situation, a CM team member may be pressured or tempted to release a child to an adult without any verification that that adult is the child’s parent or legal guardian.  A strong policy regarding check-in or checkout protects the children, your CM team, the parents, the church leadership, and YOU from lawsuits or grief!  Even with a strong checkout process the CM team members may still face the situation in which an adult comes to pick up a child without the approved ID tag or sticker.  A strong check-in / checkout process demands that the CM team member not release the child to ANYONE without the approved ID item, no matter what story the adult may tell (“I lost the sticker,” etc.).  A strong check-in / checkout policy demands that the CM team member contact a supervising CM leader who will ask to see the adult’s ID to verify that the adult can check out the child.  The CM leader may call the number on file for the child to verify this as well.  Creating a strong check-in / checkout policy and process will add a layer of complexity to your CM, but it will also strengthen your protection of the children. For more help, click on the links below.

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