Child Protection

The Board of Youth and Children's Ministry (YAC) adheres strictly to the third edition of the Child Protection Guidelines, approved by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and published in a loose leaf format under the title Taking Care.

All new children's and youth workers, together with any individual with any contact with children or vulnerable adults from 1st April have to be POCVA checked (implementing the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults NI Order 2003). YAC actively promotes this as of the utmost seriousness.

The Board of Social Witness looks after all Child Protection issues for the PCI (including administrating the POCVA checks) and all enquiries should be directed there.

Tel. 028 90 322284


The landscape in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and that in other denominations, has changed dramatically in the past 10 years or so due to the changing nature of ministry with young people in particular, and changing demands on serving members of our congregations.  Once only a “privileged few” employed any kind of Additional Pastoral Personnel (APP). At the end of 2007 over 70 different Presbyterian churches had youth and children’s workers or family workers and other posts.  This represented over 15% of those employed in our congregations.  Several youth workers in particular have worked in that capacity for over 10 years.  Permanent contracts are not unusual and church based work is now seen as a realistic and respected career.  This has presented challenges to employers and employees alike and, although much has been learned, there are still situations of poor practice and congregations can find it difficult to negotiate the maze of legislation and procedures. 

As a denomination PCI has responsibilities to respond to this changing climate in a manner which facilitates best practice without unnecessarily restricting congregations’ individual discretion and vision. Peninsula Business Services has been appointed by the General Assembly to provide both legal and personnel advice regarding job descriptions, terms and conditions etc. to Congregations and Presbyteries. Congregations should contact Peninsula for approval of all paperwork related to employment matters, as detailed in the up-to-date "Guide to recriting Local Church Employees" which was reissued to all Ministers in the summer of 2008.

This should be used in conjunction with the Union Commission's "Guidelines for Congergations Regarding the Employment of Additional Pastoral Personnel" which was issued in June 2008.  This details how to create a post, how to make an appointment, what is involved in a commissioning service, moving towards best employment practice and personal and professional development. 

It is vital to consult both these doccuments before begining any employment process.  In addition, congregations considering the appointment of Youth Workers or Children's Workers may wish to contact Graeme Thompson at YAC for advice either by phone or email.  He will be happy to consult regarding the ministry perspective of drawing up a job description or other aspects of seeking an specialist employee in this field.  Tel: 028 90322284

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