Thank you for entrusting your child/children into our care as they participate in one of our many programs, activities or events for young people.
The safety and well-being of all children is important to the Presbyterian Church of Queensland (PCQ). We are committed to transparency in our interactions with children. The following information is what to expect when your child (i.e. anyone under 18 years) participates in a ministry of a local PCQ Church. Please contact your local church’s Ministry Coordinator or Minister if you have any concerns that these expectations are not being met.
NB: A ‘leader’ is someone who has been given oversight of a specific group of young people. They may be a paid staff member, or a volunteer. All leaders must go through a section process which includes holding a current positive Working With Children Check (or exemption) and undertaking child safety training.
Your permission is required for your child to participate in an age-appropriate ministry and related activities at your local Church.
Your consent will be sought for:
- Your child’s participation in the program, activity or event.
- Method of communicating with your child.
- Transport arrangements.
- Current personal and/or medical information for your child.
PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEO
Occasionally, as part of some children’s ministry activities, photographs and video may be taken and published, including via social media platforms. Please advise the Ministry Coordinator if you do not want this to occur for your child. Leaders will be made aware of your preferences regarding the use of images or videos which include your child. The local church social media platforms are monitored. Leaders will respect your child if they do not wish to be photographed. Personal information of your child will not be made public in any social media. Offensive or embarrassing photographs are prohibited.
Leaders, particularly those in high-school aged groups, are encouraged to be in contact with young people outside of the program. This is in place to appropriately care for and support young people. However, there are three important principles guiding how we safely communicate with children and young people:
- Parental Permission – we require your permission to contact your child outside of a ministry program, event or activity. No direct contact with your child should be occurring without your consent.
- Transparency – Leaders are to advise their Ministry Coordinator of all communication with young people outside the program. They are encouraged to transfer any significant pastoral conversations to an open in-person meeting, unless this would cause needless discomfort to the young person.
- Age Appropriate Means of Communication – the table below sets out the approved means of contact and content of communications with your child.
Leaders must not be contacting your child via SnapChat, WhatsApp, or any similar platforms where messages are encrypted end-to-end or are automatically erased. Nor may they make private video calls to your child. Any secretive communication that is clearly meant to avoid your knowledge should be immediately reported to the Ministry Coordinator.
Encourage your children to tell someone if they receive unwanted communication from any person. As part of their safety, we encourage you to teach them how to take a screenshot or recording of any communication that makes them uncomfortable.
Church email addresses will be used wherever possible to send information to you or your child. Where a leader uses their own personal email address, the email will also be sent to their Ministry Coordinator or to another leader for transparency. If you have any concerns regarding the amount, type, or content of contact with your child, please discuss this with the Ministry Coordinator.
Your permission is required for your child to travel with leaders or helpers. These persons must be appropriately licensed (no learner licensed drivers). The vehicle must be fit for purpose, and driven according to road rules and road conditions. Children are not allowed to travel alone with a leader unless this is approved by the local church leadership (Session) at the specific request of the Parent or Guardian.
You and your child will be advised of the expected standard of behaviour of those attending the Children’s Ministry. In general, children are expected to be courteous, follow instructions, and be respectful of other children. Any behaviour that is unable to be managed will be referred to the child’s parent/guardian.
REPORTING UNSAFE BEHAVIOUR OR ACTIONS
If you or your child need to report any unsafe behaviour or actions of someone involved in the program, please do not hesitate to contact the Ministry Coordinator of the program. If you are unable to do this, contact can be made with the Minister of the Church, or the PCQ Child Safety Administrator (firstname.lastname@example.org). Alternatively, contact may be made with the Department of Child Safety (1800 177 135) or the Police (131 444).
As a result of our commitment to the safety of children, any disclosures or allegations of harm to a child will be recorded and referred to the PCQ Child Safety Administrator who will report to the Department of Child Safety or Queensland Police Service.