VBS is hands down, one of the best times of the year. Boys and girls are hearing the Word of God, making memories, spending time with their friends, and having fun. It could easily be the highlight of a child’s summer.
But parents aren’t going to bring their kids to a place they don’t feel is safe, no matter how amazing the program is.
Making safety and security a top priority will reassure moms and dads that their child is safe in your care and that you can prevent an incident that could be harmful later on.
- Background Checks: Every adult working at VBS needs to have a current background check on file. No exceptions. There are many great options out there for this service, but do your research first. Some background check searches only cover one particular state, not a nationwide search.
- Check-In/Check-Out System: You need to know when a child is at VBS and who has been picked up. A misplaced child is something no parent should experience! Whether you use the digital check-in tool that comes with Answers VBS Digital Pro or old-school pen and paper, make sure children are being checked in and out.
- Two-Adult Rule: An adult should never be alone with a child at VBS. There should always be at least two adults present with a child or group of children. This protects not only the child but also the adult in case of an accusation. Even if these are your church kids or family friends, enforce the rule of twos for everyone's safety—especially at bathroom time.
- Emergency Response Plan: What happens if a fire or tornado occurs during VBS? What do you do if an intruder enters the premises? You need a clear and detailed plan in place for all emergencies. After creating a written plan, ensure the entire VBS team knows it. (What does each area do in case of a fire, train derailment, etc.)
- Communication Plan: Many issues pertaining to individual students need to be communicated to the different area leaders. How will you get information such as custody issues, allergy information, and medical needs communicated to all areas, ensuring the health and safety of the child?
- Allergy Information: If there is food at VBS, there is a good chance of an allergy. Make sure that allergy information is clearly communicated to all workers, not just the snack leaders. (What if they give out a treat at crafts and don’t know the allergy information?)
- Photo and Video Permission: Some parents may not want their child’s photo taken at VBS. You need to respect their wishes. There may be a custody situation that threatens the child’s safety, or the child may be in foster care. How will all team members know and abide by parents’ wishes regarding photos and videos?
- Security Team: Have a security team in place, even if it’s just one or two people monitoring your facility. They can lend a hand in the event of an emergency, spot a hazard before it happens, and create a safe and welcoming environment right from the start with friendly, smiling faces as kids enter.
With all of the prep that happens for VBS, sometimes safety and security is overlooked. Or we get complacent, thinking, “Nothing has ever happened before.” If you want boys and girls to hear the life-changing message of Jesus, then moms and dads need to feel comfortable leaving their kids with you. Make safety and security a priority for your VBS.