Volunteers at Houston’s First are truly difference makers as they serve our church family. For years, our church has taken measures through a child protection policy to ensure that these volunteers create environments of safety and security to protect children, youth, and special needs adults (CYSNA).
Now known as the Safeguarding Protection Policy, this policy focuses on eliminating misconduct, assault, or abuse of the CYSNA community. This policy is enforced at any program or event at Houston’s First where children, students, or special needs adults are invited to attend. The policy is a living document that our Safeguarding Department is committed to regularly reviewing and strengthening even further as we continue our commitment to cultivate a culture that cares and provide safe spaces for our most vulnerable populations.
All Houston’s First staff and volunteers will be accountable to our Safeguarding Protection Policy through a six-step screening process and required training.
Statistics demonstrate that a simple background check alone is not an adequate level of protection. Therefore, our church adheres to these additional layers of protection to properly screen all Safeguarding volunteers. This method allows us to carefully process volunteers who have the right intention in serving with our CYSNA community.
Staff members at Houston’s First are also required to attend yearly training, provided by experts from our partners at Ministry Safe and Darkness to Light. This training includes topics such as sexual abuse awareness, child sexual abuse prevention, skillful screening, and more.
New and existing staff—including pastoral leadership—and volunteers are required to go through the approval process in this revised policy.
“I have completed the required training, just as Executive Pastor Stephen Trammell and our Campus Pastors have. Nobody is an exception to these requirements. I know the volunteers at Houston’s First love the people we serve. They are sure to appreciate these additional measures we’re taking to provide a safe and secure place for children, youth, special needs adults and their families.” -Pastor Gregg Matte
Anyone can view the Safeguarding Protection Policy document by downloading or viewing the PDF here. This document is used in training sessions with staff and volunteers, and serves as a resource for everyone. The content includes:
As a parent, we want to make sure you have access to resources you may need to keep your children safe. Ministry Safe provides the training our staff and volunteers complete, and they’ve created a training just for parents. This training equips parents with facts and information to recognize how to keep your child safe before they experience anything harmful. For information on how you can access this training, email Safeguarding@HoustonsFirst.org.
We have many fun play areas and spaces for children and families to gather at all campuses, and we love for families to make Houston’s First a regular part of their week! No matter the day, we ask that you always supervise your children and students while on campus unless they are checked into age-specific programming. This includes playgrounds/play spaces, bathrooms, outdoor spaces, dining areas, and elsewhere. Additionally, we ask that you take notice of and comply with all posted signs for closures and spaces where minors are not permitted.
We appreciate your partnership in ensuring all children, youth, and special needs adults experience safety and protection as they grow in their faith and enjoy community at Houston’s First.
The Safeguarding Department is made up of Central Support personnel assigned by the Director of Operations to oversee, audit, and train Houston’s First staff and volunteers in the Safeguarding Protection Policy.
Safeguarding Advisory Committee