Child Protection Policy
Orphan Outreach is committed to protecting children in its care and ensuring that everything is done in their best interest and does not put them in harm’s way. A child’s well-being and safety is of utmost importance.
The following are policies that we expect all Orphan Outreach staff, leaders and volunteers to closely follow and uphold without exception. They are to protect not only the children we serve but also our staff, leaders, volunteers and the mission of Orphan Outreach. These policies are also enforced to avoid the appearance of abuse and help reduce the risk of adults being falsely accused of improper or unprofessional conduct.
- Participants will follow the “two-adult” rule, wherein at least two adults supervise all activities where children are involved.
- Never be alone with a child. Trip participants will not be alone with one or more children who are not part of their immediate or extended family, nor will they take one or more children into a private place out of view of other adults. It is important that all interaction between children and trip participants happens in a visible location where others can observe for safety and accountability purposes.
- Physical contact in any form should be above reproach. The personal behavior of all participants must foster trust at all times.
- Do not force physical contact, touch, or affection on a reluctant child. A child’s preference not to be touched must be respected.
- Participants will not force a child to sit in their lap. No one may have a child over the age of 5 years sitting in his/her lap. Rather, one can gently redirect and encourage a child to sit next to him/her.
- Orphan Outreach recognizes that appropriate touch is part of a positive, nurturing environment. The following guidelines are to be carefully followed.
Using good judgment, the following are appropriate ways to touch kids:
- An arm around the shoulder
- Walking hand in hand
- Carrying small children piggy-back
- Short congratulatory or greeting hugs
- A brief, assuring pat on the back or shoulder
- Handshakes, high-fives, and knuckles
The following are actions that should NEVER be taken:
- Never touch a child in anger or disgust
- Never touch a child in any manner that may be construed as sexually suggestive
- Never touch a child between the navel and the knee
- Never touch a child’s private parts
- Participants need to be cognizant of the fact that they may interact with children who, because of circumstances and abuses they have experienced, may struggle with appropriate boundaries and seek to obtain special attention from a visiting participant. In this situation, the adult is responsible for ensuring all interactions are appropriate even when faced with the inappropriate actions of a child. Trip participants will avoid placing themselves in compromising or vulnerable positions.
- Inappropriate behavior toward children, including failure to adhere to Orphan Outreach’s policies and procedures, is grounds for discipline, up to and including removal of trip participant from any and all ministry activities and return back home at the trip participant’s expense.
Orphan Outreach supports and maintains a zero tolerance policy against child abuse and neglect. Child abuse and neglect include physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, negligent treatment, or maltreatment. Sexual abuse is defined as the use, persuasion, or coercion of any child to engage in any sexually explicit conduct (or any simulation of such conduct) for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct or rape, molestation, prostitution, or incest with children.
- It is against the law and against Orphan Outreach’s policy for any staff, leader or volunteer, male or female, to physically, sexually, or mentally abuse or neglect any child.
- Orphan Outreach reserves the right to refuse participation on a mission trip or to dismiss any trip leader or trip participant who is or has been convicted of child abuse or neglect of any child.
Orphan Outreach will neither condone nor tolerate:
- Infliction of bodily injury upon any child or physically or sexually abusive behavior towards a child.
- Physical neglect of children, including failure to provide adequate safety measures, care, and supervision.
- Emotional mistreatment of children, including verbal abuse and/or verbal attacks. Verbal interactions between children and adults should be positive, encouraging, and uplifting.
Reporting Child Abuse
- With the knowledge that the welfare of the children we serve must come first, the trip leader and trip participants are responsible for reporting suspected or known abuse when it has either been observed or brought to your attention.
- All such suspected abuse will be reported immediately to the in-country staff and trip leader. They will then inform Orphan Outreach staff who will be responsible for taking the appropriate action in reporting the matter to the local authorities and decide on other appropriate steps.
- If there is an allegation of abuse by a trip leader or trip participant, the in-country staff will immediately report to Director of Missions by phone, who will then take the same action as listed above. The trip leader or trip participant will be removed from the trip and sent back home at his or her expense.
- An alleged perpetrator of child abuse will be suspended from his/her normal relationship with Orphan Outreach during investigation of allegations.
- An allegation of child abuse is a serious issue. In following Orphan Outreach’s Child Protection Policy, it is essential that all parties maintain confidentiality. Sharing of information, which could identify a child or an alleged perpetrator, should be purely on a “need to know” basis. Unless abuse has actually been proven to have occurred, one must always refer to “alleged abuse.”