Safe Sanctuaries Policy

CUMC aspires to be a safe, loving atmosphere to share the love of Christ with everyone who participates in our kid and youth programs. To best care for our kids, youth and volunteers, CUMC requires everyone working with children and youth to complete our Safe Sanctuaries process.

Our Safe Sanctuaries Policy includes screening and background checks on all adult volunteers and staff working with young people in any capacity, training on preventing and recognizing abuse and reporting procedures, and building usage guidelines to ensure the safety and security of each child.

PA State Laws Regarding Child Abuse

In 2014, the Pennsylvania Legislature enacted sweeping changes to the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL). In Spring 2015, additional state laws were discussed particularly around payment for clearances for volunteers. Our process and policy reflect the latest changes as written into law.

Law Highlights

1. As of July 1, 2015, all volunteers will need:

  • a PA State Police Background Check
  • a Department of Human Services Certification (formerly the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance)
  • a FBI Criminal History Report (fingerprint) OR a notarized affidavit if you have lived in PA for 10 consecutive years

2. All clearances must be updated every five years

3. All volunteers are now considered Mandated Reporters; required to report suspected child abuse directly to the Department of Human Services child abuse hotline (former Childline). To educate volunteers in roles, responsibilities, identifying and reporting suspected child abuse, Susquehanna United Methodist Conference requires an online training.

For volunteers, the PA State Criminal Background Check and the Department of Human Services Certification are both free. If you volunteer in a local school district or another organization with kids, copies of your clearances can be accepted but you must do the training below.

If you need to complete the FBI Criminal History Report, the church will reimburse volunteers for half of the cost of the clearance process. Please submit your receipt with your clearance reports.

safe sanctuaries checklist

It is best to print this checklist out for directions as you complete each step.

completing clearances & training

To complete each step, you MUST HAVE access to a printer or save them electronically and email copies to CUMC Office, .

1. Read new Safe Sanctuaries Policy
Print/sign Participation Covenant - Appendix 1

2. PA State Police Clearance
Free for volunteers (be sure to choose VOLUNTEERS ONLY box)
Save or print 2 copies of the certificate form (has state seal in background)

3. Department of Human Services
Free for volunteers (create a log-in with the Child Welfare Portal then proceed for background check)
Save or print 2 copies of the certificate. This may take up to 14 days to process and will be sent via email.

4. FBI Criminal History OR Affidavit
FBI Criminal History - fingerprinting (Register online and pay $23.85. See additional information in the Checklist). 
Affidavit - for those living in PA the last ten years. This must be notarized (Affidavit link)

5. National Sex Offenders Registry required for all staff, Little Lights volunteers and receptionists based on current laws governing child cares in church buildings. Free to complete. 

6. Training
Training is required for all staff and volunteers. The training takes about 1.5 hours via nine online videos followed by a quiz. Email  to begin training. A link will be sent via Ministry Safe, the national company used by the Susquehanna Conference UMCs. All staff and volunteers must complete this training.

renewal process

Every five years in compliance with PA State Law, clearances and online training MUST be updated for everyone who works with children and vulnerable adults. Follow the steps 2-6 above.

completed the process?

Turn in all your receipts and certificates (can be emailed or printed copies) to the Church Office,   for approval to begin volunteering!

making a report

  1. Contact Child Line - 800.932.0313 or online
  2. Complete the CY-47 Form within 48 hours (make a copy for your personal records and one for the church)
  3. Complete CUMC Reporting Form (make a copy for your personal records and turn one into the Lead Pastor)

additional resources

Safe Sanctuary Binders with all pertinent forms and a reporting checklist if a report has to be made are located in the Church Office and Nursery Suite Office.

Indicators of Child Abuse 

I have questions...

Contact Pastor Mira at