HR Guideline TCK Care and Education Staff Screening Guideline

Table of Contents

Introduction

Principles

Minimum Requirements

Criminal Background Checks

Interview Policy for Child Safeguarding

Professional Reference

Orientation and Annual Child Safeguarding for Staff in Any Childcare Role

Applicable to

Responsibility for these Guidelines

Reference Documents

Administrative Control Table

Introduction

As an organization, SIL has a duty of care to ensure the families of staff who work for SIL and the children who access SIL services can do so with minimal risk. In addition, as a Christian organization, SIL has a Biblical mandate to care for the least in society and stand up for truth and justice.

These elements are all clearly at play when we consider the safety and wellbeing of children associated with SIL. This guideline outlines the approach SIL uses to ensure we meet the required standards and policies related to the care and wellbeing of our staff, and their families. It is the responsibility of the local (OU or Area) HR Director to ensure compliance, and is part of fulfilling SIL’s legal Duty of Care Standard  and ensuring compliance with the Staff Behavior Standard .

Principles

The Strategic Vision for Child Safeguarding within SIL identifies specific goals, covering the child and their immediate environment.

  • The Child is safe, nurtured and growing in order to reach his/her optimal growth and development
  • The Family feels adequately prepared and supported when parenting; is able to access good quality resources across a wide range of topics; and feels comfortable with recognizing, responding to and reporting concerns
  • The Community is mindful of their interactions with children; seeks to create positive experiences and supportive social networks for children; and feels comfortable with recognizing, responding to, and reporting concerns.
  • The Organization values children, integrating their development and well-being into everyday operations and decisions; proactively identifies and minimizes potentially harmful situations, and manages concerns in a consistent, comprehensive, and compassionate manner.

Inherent in these goals is an acknowledgement that there are many departments within SIL and other external organizations, e.g. international schools, directly involved in the care and nurture of SIL-associated children. We recognize that children are holistic beings and are impacted both positively and negatively by not only their families, but also the communities around them, the organizations they interact with, and the societies they live in.

The safety and wellbeing of children is predominantly the responsibility of parents. However, since many children in SIL face higher risks of harm due to their locations, frequent transitions and living in high trust environments, the organization also has a significant role in supporting parents.  In addition, we know from the evidence of what keeps children safe, that the more aware and involved the communities around a child are, then the less harm our children are likely to experience. This is especially true in relation to promoting safe environments for our children who are in the care of SIL providers.

Minimum Requirements

All work with children should be planned to minimize risks as much as possible. Care and Wellbeing in SIL (represented in this context by the HR Strategic Leader for Child Safeguarding Prevention) is responsible to develop childcare procedures to ensure quality care and safety for children involved in any group function where care is provided. This includes childcare provided during workshops, meetings, or conferences, regular SIL child care programs, and any other event where SIL is responsible for childcare.

SIL requires that screening programs include the following:

  • Criminal Background Checks for All Staff Working with Children
  • Child Safeguarding Interview
  • Professional Reference
  • Child Safeguarding Training and Annual In-service Training for Staff involved in any work with Children
  • Local Unit Child Safeguarding Coordinators and/or HR managers should ensure all safeguarding training taken is recorded in the appropriate place in the organization’s HR Information Systems, regardless of whether they keep their own local records.

Criminal Background Checks

All volunteers, members, or employees over 18, must have a Criminal Background Check (CBC) done before working with children, if possible.

For locations where this is not possible, procure a reference from a village elder, police clearance, or what is appropriate to your area.

The CBC is long-term for those continuing in their role. Staff that leave the area for a year or more are required to have a new criminal background check done before beginning to work again with children.

Adult staff will be asked about prior criminal convictions during screening. A prior conviction of child abuse or verified report from former ministry or employment regarding any inappropriate behavior involving children will disqualify the person.

Teen volunteers, fifteen to eighteen, cannot look after children without direct supervision from an approved adult childcare provider. This group of volunteers are differentiated from younger volunteers by the fact that they can legally be considered “caregivers” for the purposes of staff-to-child ratios. Teen volunteers will be asked to supply two references as part of the screening process, since background checks may not reveal delinquent juvenile history if record is sealed/removed.

Young persons under the age of fifteen may help with childcare but are not to be counted as “caregivers” for the purposes of staff-to-child ratios and must be supervised at all times. Because they do not have responsibility as caregivers they are not legally required to attend any training, but as part of their orientation SIL does expect them to take the Child Safeguarding training.

Interview Policy for Child Safeguarding

All volunteers, members, and employees must complete and pass the Child Safeguarding Interview before beginning their work with children. The interview is done one time and is good for returning staff. If a staff member is gone for three years or more, a new interview is required. Interview questions will need to be contextualized (in consultation with the Strategic Leader for Child Safeguarding) to be culturally sensitive, when appropriate, in overseas settings. Additional Helps for Interviewer will assist the interviewer to understand the rationale for the questions.

At the OU level, the Director or their designee, the HR Director, and Child Safeguarding Coordinator will review any interviews that raise concerns such as: child sexual abuse, intentional harm of children or intentional viewing of pornography. Sexual abuse of a child disqualifies staff from service with our organization.

If the applicant has been intentionally viewing pornography, they will need to clearly identify what safeguards they have used to help them remain clear. This plan of action may include an understanding of the root cause/s of their usage, monthly accountability arrangements, and technical safeguards. An ongoing accountability plan may be contingent on the tenure and responsibilities the applicant will have in regards to children (i.e. one-time Refuge 139 staff vs. ongoing childcare worker or teacher, etc.).

If the Unit Director and / or HR director cannot recommend the person interviewed for service, a letter will be sent to the applicant stating the plan of action that is required, the timeframe, and what must be completed before beginning to serve. If the applicant is a minor, a letter stating there has been an issue in the CS interview will also be sent to the parents.

Professional Reference

All volunteers, or employees working with children, must submit a reference from someone who is familiar with their work as part of the approval process.

See suggested professional reference.

Orientation and Annual Child Safeguarding for Staff in Any TC&E Assignment

Each unit is responsible for ensuring that all TC&E staff are oriented to their assignment at the unit level.  In addition (where needed) they must complete Child Safeguarding Training  and Global Education and Care Orientation prior to their arrival.  

Each unit is responsible for ensuring that all TC&E staff complete child safeguarding training annually. This can be done through online training or face-to-face training using the materials on the Child Safeguarding Wiki.

Applicable to

These guidelines cover all staff, employees, and volunteers working in SIL TC&E assignments or in environments where SIL is the legal agent. (e.g. childcare during local unit conferences, teachers, youth workers, boarding home parents, etc.)

Responsibility for these Guidelines

These guidelines have been drawn by Specialists in the Care and Wellbeing Team (Safeguarding; TCK Care and Education) and reviewed by the Area HR Directors.

Reference Documents

HR Dictionary

Staff Wellbeing Policy

Staff Wellbeing Standards

Staff Behavior Policy

Duty of Care Policy

Child Safeguard Standards

Interview Form