This publication is for the clergy and laity, both paid and volunteer, who actively minister to the youth of our Church. It was developed as a resource for parishes, deaneries, and dioceses and outlines specific procedures and guidelines, reagarding liability issues for use in the planning and implementation of all Church-sponsored young programs and activities.
In our efforts as youth ministers, we continually deal with emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of our youths' lives. It is not just our job, but our divine vocation to provide the healthiest emotional, physical, and spiritual environment in which our youth can grow in faith, stature, and wisdom. With the ever-increasing awareness of the vulnerability of our children and youth, we must develop, educate, and maintain a staff knowledgeable in safety and liability issues. To this end, all persons leading and planning youth activities (eg diocesan youth directors, parish youth co-ordinators, camp directors, youth organization advisors, etc) should review the guidelines suggested here and contact their local Deparment of Youth and Family Services (DFS), Child Protection and Family Services, or corresponding agency to find out, assimilate, and adhere to their state's safety and liability requirements.
The procedure and guidelines outlined here serve to establish certain basics involved in youth ministry safety and libailty issues. They identify the issues the youth minister must be aware of and be able to address. Some may view them as cumbersome and impractical. While they may make our jobs a little more difficult, we must face the fact taht adhering to these guidelines is simply 'doing the right thing.'
This resource is a guide to assist the dioceses, deaneries, and parishes of our Church and do not reflect an offical policy of the Orthodox Church in America.