The following selection procedure applies to all volunteers for child-related activities, such as Sunday School teachers, youth group leaders, creche workers etc
1. Job Description
- the job description, and in particular the child-related duties,
- the level of supervision required, by whom and when, and
- the selection criteria (e.g. experience)
2. Publish Position
Where volunteers may be coming from other congregations or organisations, details of the position/s and activities should be published. For example, a camp leaders’ handbook should include details of the position they will be holding and the activities in which they will be involved.
The publication must state that volunteers will, at a minimum, need to provide:
- nomination of referees with full contact details,
- a history of work, particularly working with children and/or young people, and
- signed consent to employment screening.
Where volunteers are being sought from within a congregation, for example through a newsletter or order of service, this information can be included in a more detailed hand-out provided to those who express an interest in participating.
Where a position is child-related there may be legislated requirements about who can and cannot apply and an employment screening procedure (such as a Working with Children Check) may be required. Please seek advice if you are uncertain of what is required.
3. Reference checks
Reference checks should always be conducted for people who are not members of your congregation or group, or who are new to your congregation, group or activity.
A copy of the reference documentation should be kept with the selection procedure material and initialled by the person conducting the procedure to indicate that it has been read and considered.
Speak to at least two referees who have direct and recent experience of the person’s work with children, young people and holding a position of authority over others. Contact each referee listed on the application and make a written record of each contact. Show the date and method of the contact, the person making the contact as well as the person contacted, and a summary of the referee’s remarks.
Where reference is made to experience in a church environment, contact each church in which the applicant has indicated prior experience in working with youth, and discuss the applicant’s suitability, ensuring that all comments are recorded and filed.
Occasionally, it will be necessary to interview volunteers. For example, leaders for a camp or school holiday programme that are not from your congregation.
During the interview, explore the person’s experience of working or contact with children or young people. Ask any questions about areas of interest raised during reference checks.
Good interviews use open ended questions, such as “Can you tell me about a time when you…?”. Applicants should be encouraged to be specific about what they have done, rather than talk in general terms of “What I would do if”.
All volunteers holding a child-related position or participating in a child-related activity should be formally appointed to their positions by the supervising body. This could take the form of a minute noting their appointment or a letter of appointment.
For NSW volunteers please use this application form – Application for Working with Children – Presbyterian Church . For other jurisdictions please click on the “Other forms and links” tab.
All leaders, and those working directly with children and young people, require a current Working with Children Check verified by the CPU.
If you work in NSW, you can apply for a Working with Children Check here. Once you have received your WWCC number fill out a registration form, and send this to Courtney Chan along with your clearance letter (email email@example.com or PO Box 2196, Strawberry Hills, NSW, 2012).
For other states, see the “Other forms and links” tab on this page or contact Courtney.
Don’t forget all leaders, and those working with children and young people, require Breaking the Silence training. More details here.