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A Safe Place For Children

Children and Young People in the church: Safe and Welcome

Purpose of the material
This material has been developed to support people within the Uniting Church who are working with children and young people, through church-based activities, SRE and regional and national events and those responsible for managing physical spaces where children and young people will be present. It is intended to assist people in the implementation of ideas expressed in the policy document A Safe Place for Children.

The material can be customised for specific purposes, and handouts may also be used as a source of information aside from the training.


A Safe Place for Children

The Uniting Church in Australia is committed to provide:

  • Safe places where people are cared for, nurtured and sustained;
  • A safe environment for children to encounter God, to develop relationships as part of a community, and to grow in faith.

A Safe Place for Children is available in hard copy for a small cost from the NSW Synod and is also available in pdf format.

Why was “A Safe Place For Children” written?

  • To assist congregations as they review and plan their ministry with children.
  • Standards of care now expected as a matter of law and of community practice are higher than they were in the past, and are rightly being enforced.
  • Issues of care, protection and safety have always been complex, but are increasingly so.
  • It is intended that this document will be used alongside the children’s ministry policy workbook “On the Way Together” adopted by NSW Synod 1998 and in conjunction with other Uniting Church procedures to ensure that the Church is a safe place for all children.

Where does the document come from?

  • The document was prepared in response to a UCA Assembly request for such a document.
  • “A Safe Place for Children” is an official document of the Uniting Church in Australia.

Uniting Education, appointed by the UCA Assembly to undertake the work on “A Safe Place for Children”, appointed a Project Team based in Canberra from the Kippax Uniting Church. The team included parents, lawyers, social workers, Ministers of the Word, policy writers and editors.

How is this document to be used?

“A Safe Place for Children” is written for congregations, and includes materials specific to NSW State laws and UCA NSW Synod by-laws. It includes answers to the most frequently asked questions and discussed issues.

The most frequently discussed issues, asked questions & where you can find the answers.

What does my congregation have to do?
(Chapter 1 Introduction, page 1) Steps for a congregation to take, page 5

What is our duty of care?
(Chapter 5 Children in Uniting Church programs, page 25)

  • There are three key areas – providing:
    • appropriate safe places and spaces page 26
    • proper planning and implementation of programs page 28
    • suitable personnel page 27
  • A registration form for a program, which must be completed and signed by a parent or guardian page 32 & appendix 1 – Permission Form.
  • Insurance review page 33
  • Appendix 2 – Driver Declaration Form.

Who is an appropriate leader?
(Chapter 6 Uniting Church people in ministry with children, page 37)

  • What to include in a job description? page 40
  • Screening of applicants – declaration forms, references, police checks page 41 & 42 & appendix 3 – Volunteer Leader Form.
  • Employed Leader Declaration Form – appendix 4, to be used in conjunction with the job description and NSW Synod Lay Worker policies.
  • Refer to The Working With Children Check: Guidelines for Employers, NSW Commission for Children and Young People, May 2000.

What do we need to know about child abuse?
( Chapter 7 Children, Friendships and Health, page 47 )

  • Importance of awareness of child abuse page 48
  • Mandatory reporting page 49 (refer to Child Protection: Your New Responsibilities, Procedures for notifying the NSW Ombudsman of child abuse allegations and convictions against employees, NSW Government Publication, 1999, pages 11, 12)

What to do if an emergency or accident occurs?

  • There is a great need to develop procedures, page 55 to 57.
  • People directly responsible for children’s health and safety should have first aid experience.

How do we know if our property is safe?
(Chapter 8 Children and Uniting Church Property, page 59)

  • Common features of church property that might pose a danger to the safety of children, page 60 to 63
  • Develop procedures for minimising risks, page 63 to 64
  • Development and use of a property checklist, page 64 to 65

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