5 Actions for Safety Success

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The KidzMatter Blog/5 Actions for Safety Success

Leading a children’s ministry can be all-encompassing and require superhuman amounts of strength, energy, and patience. There are so many balls to juggle and things to do, often with few resources. With so much going on, it can be challenging to focus on child safety, however, ministry directors and their teams can still successfully prioritize safety and meet the expectations of families.

Taking action on these five insights can make a big difference, helping you focus on continuous improvement and achieving your long-range safety goals.

1. Set the Vision

Most ministries have a vision for where they’re going, but not all set goals for child safety. It’s important to know your strengths and challenges regarding the safety of the children’s program. Having a vision for child safety helps ensure you’re taking steps to create a safe environment and set policies and guidelines that work. It also helps to share your vision for safety. Having everyone on the same page helps with transitions to new processes and ensures people understand why you’re taking action.

2. Prioritize Connection

Connecting with families, staff, and leadership provides important feedback and direction. By opening a dialogue with other stakeholders, you will learn what’s working or not and areas for improvement. In addition to providing specific direction around safety, these connections also foster an environment of open communication, transparency, and trust. All elements which increase parent peace-of-mind and satisfaction.

3. Build an Extended Team

It’s natural for leaders to think of their team as only direct reports or those they see daily, but the truth is securing your environment is a big job. You don’t have to do it alone. If there’s an opportunity to leverage the expertise of others (internally or externally) to help you reach your child safety goals, you should do it. Look for people with skills beyond what you have to offer. Examples include a security team, CPR trainer, HR professional, first responder, executive, or a business owner. Utilize the skills of your staff and volunteers, as well as being open to looking wider through the congregation as well.

4. Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Families function in a new reality; one that dictates keeping kids safe is a 24×7 job. There are high expectations and parents are always watching. It’s to your advantage to create a proactive and preventive culture families can see and experience. Keep in mind, your check-in process is the front door to your organization, and if it’s chaotic and doesn’t clearly show child safety and security, more than likely, they will choose not to return.  Good check-in and out processes are extremely valuable, capturing key contact and emergency information, providing reports on attendance and more, and helping to ensure your team is releasing children only to an approved guardian. Utilizing a check-in system creates a great first impression, demonstrates safety is a priority, streamlines your process, and has multiple benefits both for the families and your ministry.

5. Communication as a Core Competency

Work to increase and improve the content and frequency of communication with staff, volunteers, the leadership team, and families. This applies to child safety or really any topic people should be aware of. Good communication contributes to a proactive and preventive culture. Consider making it a weekly priority to provide updates, performance metrics, training information, policy and guideline reviews, etc. Whether you send an email, hold a 10-minute standing meeting, or present to leadership once a quarter, keep sharing what you are doing to improve child safety. People like to be in the know and good communication creates a positive experience for all parties involved.

​Implementing these five actions can help your ministry focus on child safety, as well as set you apart from the rest. You’ve got this! After all, you are in children’s ministry, where superhuman amounts of strength, energy, patience and juggling multiple balls is all in a day’s work.

Angela Lewton is KidCheck’s child protection specialist. KidCheck provides secure children’s check-in systems. Angela focuses on the latest child safety research and trends. She is passionate about equipping organizations to improve child safety.

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