The following code of conduct outlines expected standards of behavior of TFI members responsible for the care of children and teenagers at TFI fellowships, programs, classes, camps, activities, or in projects or programs related to TFI member works that involve minors. It has been developed with the best interests of children as the primary consideration, and should be applied with common sense.
Any TFI member responsible for the care of children and/or teenagers at TFI events or mission-related works should:
- Treat all children and teenagers with dignity and respect in attitude, language, and actions.
- Be inclusive and involve all children without exclusion on the basis of gender, culture, disability, ethnicity, or race.
- Be fair in their relationship with children. Avoid favoring particular children to the exclusion of others.
- Never develop relationships with children or teenagers that would be deemed inappropriate or abusive.
- Be particularly careful, as a male adult, of any interactions with forward young females. Female adults similarly need to be careful with forward young males.
- Whenever possible, have two adults present with a group of children.
- Avoid being on their own with a child or teen. When confidentiality is important (e.g., counseling a child or a teen), ensure that others know that the session is taking place and that someone else is in the vicinity.
- Avoid taking a group of children off the premises with fewer than two adults.
- Allow responsible teens (under the age of 18) to assist only under the direct supervision of an adult responsible for the oversight of the children.
- Be wise in their physical contact with children. Physical contact is discouraged in circumstances where an adult and child are on their own.
- Avoid doing things for children of a personal nature that they can do for themselves (such as dressing, bathing, etc.).
- Never smack, hit, or physically discipline a child. A child may be restrained only if there is an immediate danger of personal injury to the child or another person.
- Avoid behaving in a manner which could be construed as inappropriate or sexually provocative.
Safety and environment
- Be mindful of the safety of the children at all times, and in all circumstances.
- Develop clear rules to address specific physical safety issues relative to the local physical environment of a project or program (e.g., for programs based near water, heavy road traffic, railway lines, etc.)
- Never condone behavior of children which is illegal, unsafe, or abusive.
- Be aware of the potential for peer abuse (e.g., children bullying, discriminating against, victimizing, or abusing other children).
- Be aware of high-risk peer situations (e.g., unsupervised mixing of older and younger children).
Every child is precious in God’s eyes, and whenever children are in our care, they deserve quality and responsible care and loving attention.
Children are our only hope for the future, but we are their only hope for their present and their future.
Zig Ziglar (1926–2012)