As Wesleyans, we consider children to be a gift from God and the future of our church. During their tender formative years, it is very important that we make a concerted and educated effort to safeguard children in our care and supervision from harms all too present in the world today. The General Church is committed to do all that it can to keep children safe and asks each District and local church to do likewise. Becoming educated about child abuse, instituting procedures to minimize incidents of abuse, and knowing what to do if abuse is suspected is the core of these Guidelines. Adoption of Guidelines for Child Protection (“Guidelines”) by all organizations whose work includes children such as local churches, camps, daycare centers and schools is strongly advised.
The General Church recognizes and respects the autonomy of the districts, local churches and other Wesleyan entities. Nonetheless, the faith, actions and concerns of the local churches are intrinsically intertwined with the districts and General Church especially regarding liabilities that stem from any local occurrence that results in harm to a child.
As such, the General Board of Administration has approved these comprehensive Guidelines for Child Protection in template form for possible use by local churches. Though the national church encourages but does not require each local church to adopt these Guidelines, it is our hope that by providing these Guidelines in template form, sample forms, child protection training resources and sources for background checks, the tasks associated with adoption of such guidelines will be lighter for the adopting local churches and Wesleyan entities. This template has been designed to be specific in its guidance at the local level while allowing for flexibility given the differing circumstances and makeup of each congregation and Wesleyan entity. It is important to note that each jurisdiction has its own child protection laws. These laws and perhaps a local attorney should be consulted to ensure that any guidelines adopted by a local church are in compliance with that State’s laws.