Q&A: Preventing Child Abduction in Your Children’s Ministry

How do we make sure every child leaves with the right adult?

What can we do to prevent a child abduction from happening in our children’s ministry at church?
The best strategy starts with the word “diligence.”
This means diligently sticking to the two-adult rule. A volunteer will notice when a co-worker attempts to leave with a child not his or her own. But this only helps if volunteers are trained to question anything that doesn’t look right.
Diligently require every child leaving the children’s ministry area to go through a security check that matches that child with the correct adult using an identification system. If an adult loses his or her piece of the identification match, then make that adult wait in the room until all children have checked out. While waiting, have the adult complete paperwork and show a driver’s license for identification. Prepare to endure complaints about the inconvenience.
Diligently assign adults to work check-in and check-out positions. A teen helper can be easily intimidated by a persistent adult. Make sure your greeters follow procedures every time—no exceptions. It’s easier to consistently enforce a “no exceptions” policy than to become strict only with unfamiliar people. If a line forms, consider assigning more people to that station.
Keep in mind that many parents who see news reports about child abductions that occur at churches, silently audit your security procedures, and form an opinion about their effectiveness. Give them peace of mind that their children are in good, careful, and diligent hands. You’ll never regret it.

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