In a new letter to Church leaders, the First Presidency has reiterated the policies, guidelines, and practices the Church has in place “to ensure the safety of all participants and protect the Church and its volunteers.” To read the online letter, click here and make sure you are logged in to your ChurchofJesusChrist.org account.
The letter also includes a bulleted list of general guidelines for Church activities and a link to section 20 in the General Handbook on “Activities.”
Safety.ChurchofJesusChrist.org also contains guidelines on adult supervision, protecting children and youth, chainsaw safety, swimming safety, overnight activities, and many more, as well as permission and medical release forms for various activities.
The bulleted list of guidelines in the new letter includes the following:
- Adults serving children and youth must complete the Protecting Children and Youth training every three years (see General Handbook, 20.7.1 and 38.6.2). At every activity, follow these key principles of children and youth protection:
a. At least two adults must be present at all Church-sponsored activities attended by youth or children, either in person or virtually (see General Handbook, 20.7.1).
b. Adult or activity leaders should avoid one-on-one situations— including contact through phone, texts, social media, videoconferencing, and so on—with a youth or a child unless other leaders are included or they are clearly visible to nearby leaders.
c. Adult or activity leaders should be alert to any signs of abuse or neglect. If they become aware of any kind of abuse or neglect, they should report it to appropriate legal authorities and contact the bishop immediately (see General Handbook, 38.6.2).
d. If a bishop or stake president learns of any kind of abuse, he calls the Church’s 24-hour abuse help line in countries where it is available (see General Handbook, 126.96.36.199). In other countries, bishops contact their stake presidents, who seek guidance from area legal counsel.
- Follow all local and national guidelines and Area Presidency guidance regarding COVID-19 protocols.
- Take care to promote the spiritual, moral, emotional, and physical safety of those who participate. All conduct and interactions should be consistent with Church standards and exemplify Christlike behavior.
- Teach parents and participants that an activity is a privilege, not a right. The privilege can be revoked if participants behave inappropriately or pose a risk to themselves or others. Leaders should also counsel about how to address concerns that may arise.
- Prayerfully plan safe activities. Good safety planning not only protects participants but also protects the Church, its members, and local leaders. When activities require specific physical skills or experience, additional planning, organization, and preparation are required. It may be necessary to obtain specialized training or to use skilled professionals. Leaders instruct all participants in safety practices unique to the activity. Activities should be appropriate for the participants’ ages, abilities, and maturity. Make activities appropriate for the fitness levels of both leaders and youth. Carefully consider individual medical risk factors, including allergies. (Visit the Planning a Safe Activity website for more information and video.)