Guidelines for Supervising Those Working with Children and Youth

Promulgated August 22, 2003
Revised December 15, 2008

We believe that safety of children and young people is primarily the responsibility of adults. One of the most effective ways to ensure the safety of this vulnerable population is through consistent application of these supervision guidelines for all personnel including volunteers (referred to as “worker(s)” in this document) who have regular contact with children and youth.

1. At least two adults should be present when working with children and youth. This would minimize the opportunity for anyone to have private, isolated contact with a minor, something that child predators need in order to perpetrate. This would serve to keep our children safe from those who would do them harm and, at the same time, reduce the chance of a false allegation being made against one of the workers.

2. An adult eighteen years of age and older who has

  • completed high school
  • been active in the parish
  • had the foundational Safe Environment training
  • had adequate reference checks completed and
  • had a criminal background investigation run

may serve as the second adult in a classroom with children in elementary and middle school grades, up to and including eighth grade. The other adult, in these cases, should be over 21 years of age.

3. Church leaders should randomly visit classrooms and other areas of church buildings that are isolated from view. Supervisory visits and occasional drop-in visits need not be announced. When possible, classroom doors should be kept open when children and youth are in the room.

4. Provide an adequate number of adults (21 years of age and older) to supervise high school events, especially all overnight activities. Be sure to involve both male and female workers in programs that include overnight activities.

5. Workers should be required to actively participate in the parish for a minimum of six months prior to working with children and youth. This enables the parish and specifically the supervisors of parish programs to get to know the volunteer.

6. Workers should have read and understood the Diocesan Guidelines for Those Working with Children and Youth. Supervisors should review these guidelines to ensure that the worker understands their practical applications.

7. Corporal punishment (hitting or spanking) and other forms of punishment involving physical pain are not appropriate in church activities. This rule holds true even if parents have implied or explicitly given permission for corporal punishment. Workers should consult their supervisor and/or pastoral leader if they need help with misbehaving children or youth, or with disciplinary techniques.

8. Notify the parent(s) before a planned one-to-one encounter between a worker and a child or youth. When time and circumstances allow, obtain permission for this meeting from the parent(s).

9. Workers should not give gifts to children or youth, since these could easily be misinterpreted.

Exceptions to this guideline would include church-sponsored, church-purchased gifts.