The “two person” rule applies when diapering children and during bathroom trips. Diapers should be changed in the nursery, where two unrelated adults are present. Under no circumstances should one volunteer take a child into a bathroom or other separate room for a diaper change. For children over a certain age (usually around 4 or 5), parents are required to handle all bathroom needs.
It is exceptionally important to develop a policy and stick to it for the purpose of preventing both the probability of and the perception of abuse. There have been situations whereby having preventative policies in place, a church has been shielded from both merited and unmerited accusations.
Also, it’s important to train children’s ministry volunteers on how to change a diaper in the most sanitary way possible. Many young people are eager to serve in children’s ministry, but they may not have much experience with young children. It’s essential to train, equip, and prepare them. Many congregations have policies that do not allow volunteers of staff to change the diaper of children over age 5 who are not potty trained. When a child with special needs requires additional toileting assistance, their parents or another certified guardian should be located. Often church insurance companies are careful to only allow a certified nurse or guardians to provide this kind of intimate care to children who are particularly vulnerable.
Resource for Including Children with Special Needs
- Special Needs Ministry Bathroom (and Toileting Policies) from The Inclusive Church