The Rio Texas Annual Conference is committed to the well-being of every person entrusted to its care as well as those persons entrusted to the care of the districts and local United Methodist Churches throughout our conference borders. Therefore, we will strive to create safe places for all of God's children. Our safety policy and procedures helps us to do this holy and hard work.

Four Pillars for Safe & TRUSTed ministry

Screening: Background and reference checks on all persons who work with children, youth, and vulnerable adults.

Resourcing: Resources to help churches create, adopt, and live into their policies. 

Training: online and interactive trainings that ensure all persons working in ministry with children, youth, and vulnerable adults will be prepared and equipped to do this important work.

Accountability: Churches, district, and conference staff working together to ensure that our ministries are safe. 

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These are the guidelines included in the Rio Texas Child, Youth, and Vulnerable adult safety policy. These guidelines reflect safe practices as identified by United Methodist Insurance and United Methodist Safe Sanctuaries as faithful ways to keep vulnerable persons safe.

  • Screening (every 2 years)

    • 6 month ministry participation prior to application (or applicant must provide additional references affirming their positive leadership with children, youth, and vulnerable adults)

    • Application

    • Three references to include:

      • Pastor and/or identified staff representative from organization for which person is seeking to work/volunteer

      • Clergy or vocational reference

      • Personal reference

    • Background check that includes but is not limited to a search of:

      • national criminal database

      • national and state sex registry databases

      • 7 year county of residence

  • Policy awareness and ministry training

    • annual review of policy in local church, district, or independent ministry

    • annual abuse training in local church, district, or independent ministry

    • TRUSTed con Confianza Certification training every two years

  • Supervision

    • 2 certified adults required at all times. Certifed adults must be

      • 18 years or older

      • non-related

      • 5 years older than oldest child/youth participant

    • 1 certified adult to every 8 participants

    • co-ed overnight events must have co-ed adults

    • Phone, Video, online communication with vulnerable participants requires:

      • two certified adult moderators/administrators for all groups or social media communications that include children, youth, and/or vulnerable adults as members and/or conversation participants.

      • parental/guardian permission  to communicate with vulnerable person online, through video, or via phone conversations.

      • Photo release form required for all pictures used online and/or in print

      • Drivers: must be 21 or older, have a valid drivers license and insurance, and legally allowed to drive

Reporting Abuse

Texas law says anyone who thinks a child, or person 65 years or older, or an adult with disabilities is being abused, neglected, or exploited must report it to DFPS. Every church should have a process for reporting abuse. Here are some steps to consider when your plan:

  • Create a clear plan for documenting the abuse

  • Report the abuse through the Texas Abuse Hotline.

    • Use the Texas Abuse Hotline Website to report abuse that does not need an immediate response (less than 24 hours)

    • Call the Texas Abuse Hotline (1-800-252-5400) if your situation is urgent and needs to be investigated within 24 hours.

    • Call 911 or your local law enforcement agency if you have an emergency or life-threatening situation that must be dealt with immediately.

  • Discern how to provide supportive and pastoral care for all persons involved in incident

  • If a statement needs to be made to the media please contact Will Rice (Conference Coordinator of Communications),