Children’s ministries who implement check-in procedures desire for safety for kids and families who enter their buildings. It’s hard to believe that providing check-in at your church could actually be counterproductive to security. But here are seven ways check-in could actually make your children less safe:
1. Not collecting enough information on children/parents.
Collecting information on children and parents is crucial should an emergency arise. Be sure to collect parents’ names, cell phone numbers, as well as emergency contact information. Failure to do so could make you unable to get in touch with parents/guardians when you are counting on that information to be there.
2. No unique security codes printed on badges.
In order for check-in to function properly, it must be secure. If unique security codes are not included on your badges, there is likely no way of determining if a child should or should not be checked out by someone who may have a matching badge. The matching badge could have been from a previous week or simply reprinted from a check-in computer.
3. Not including allergy information for everyone with allergies.
If you put in allergy information on badges for some children but fail to do so on others, teachers and volunteers could assume some children have no allergies when they actually do. If you put in allergy information, be sure to collect it for all children with allergies.
4. Untrained teachers/volunteers.
Your volunteers MUST be trained on check-in/check-out procedures prior to the launch of your check-in system. They must know the check-in process as well as how to compare parent badges to child badges. It’s also a good idea for them to collect the badges of children who have been checked out, in order to provide a record of who has already been checked out, should another family member arrive later to pick-up the same child.
5. Allowing unmonitored reprinting of badges.
Allowing someone to reprint a check-out badge, without being monitored, defeats the purpose of security. If anyone can reprint a badge at any time, then anyone can check-out any child. Establish a designated place for reprinting of lost badges and be sure to collect information on the person wanting the reprint, such as name, driver’s license number and address.
6. Not making children wear their badges.
If children are not made to wear their badges, it could cause mass confusion at check-out time, especially for new volunteers who may not know the names of children. Encourage children to wear their badges at all times, and if necessary, put it on their backs where it is out-of-sight out-of-mind.
7. Allowing exemptions to check-out procedures.
Just because you may know every parent who picks up a child at your church now doesn’t mean you always will. If you want your children’s ministry to really be secure, don’t allow exemptions to anyone from the check-out procedures. It may cause some people to be frustrated in the beginning, but everyone will be thankful in the end when your children’s ministry is truly safe.
Can you think of any other security holes that could arise when using check-in software at your church? Maybe you have had an experience in the past where you have learned something like this the hard way. Let me know in the comments!