Children and Youth Health and Safety Policies
Health and Safety Policies and Guidelines for The Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene Children & Youth Programs
Table of Contents
- General Information
- Program Times and Pick-up
- Health Concerns
- Injury and Accident Prevention
- Injury and Accident Response
- Fire and Other Emergencies
- Behavioral Guidelines
- Field Trips
- Personal Safety and Prevention of Abuse
- Youth Group Policies and Procedures
- PWR / UUA Social Media Policies
Forms and Additional Sections available at the RE Office:
Program Registration Accident/Injury Report
Fire Evacuation Plan Fire Extinguisher Locations
Visitors Sign In Field Trip Permission Slip
Field Trip Information Field Trip Driver Data
Code of Ethics
Youth Agreement for Attending Overnights
Job Description/Agreement for Religious Education Teachers/Advisors
Information/Agreement for Caregivers at UUCE
Volunteer Recruitment and Screening Process
1. General Information
The Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene (UUCE) is concerned with the health and safety of children and youth, as well as with spirituality, religious education, and community building. The Religious Education Committee (REC) has developed the following policies and procedures to ensure a safe, healthy, and respectful environment.
- “Caregivers” are individuals aged 18 or older, who volunteer or are hired by church staff to care for children (generally age 11 and under) for a specific time period or event.
- “Assistant caregivers/volunteers” are persons age 12 and up who are hired to care for children or assist volunteer teachers. Persons under age 18 must always be in the room with an adult and must not be left alone with children.
- “Teachers” are individuals who contract with religious education staff to teach designated classes of children and youth.
- “Advisors” is another term for teachers of high school and middle school youth.
- “Mentors” are adults, age 25 or older, who have been screened, interviewed, and matched with individual youth as part of the “Coming of Age” program.
- “Sponsors” are adults, age 25 and over, who serve in the role of chaperone at youth classes, meetings and events. Sponsors must be approved by the DRE.
- “Youth leaders” are youth enrolled in the RE program who have significant influence on, or responsibility for, other youth enrolled in the program.
All adults who volunteer or are hired by RE staff to care for children and youth are screened which includes a criminal background check annually.
2. Program Times and Pick-up
Early drop-off is available for children age 5 and under, 15 minutes prior to service. All children/youth are welcome in the service. Children/youth in Kindergarten – High School begin Sunday programming in the Sanctuary with the rest of the congregation, unless supervised by an adult in the classroom. Teachers are not responsible for children until the program begins. Approximately 15 minutes after the service begins, children and youth will be dismissed to their classes.
Children ages Pre-K age 5 and under are to be escorted to their appropriate class by parent/guardian/designee. Unregistered newcomers/visitors of all ages should also be brought to class and checked in until they have completed the registration form. (See Guest section L)
The RE Program runs approximately 15 minutes after the start of service to 15 minutes after the scheduled end of service. Parents/Guardians are also invited to visit their child’s class at any time. Please allow the classes to finish their closing before picking up your children/and youth.
Dismissal and pick-up for children will work as follows:
- Ages Infant through 4th grade will be held in their classes for parents to pick up. On some occasions, the teachers/volunteers may bring the children to their parents. Children must be picked up by 15 minutes after the service.
- 5th Grade through Middle School will be released to their parent/guardian approximately 15 minutes after service lets out.
There is no supervision for children and youth after the end of class. The expectation is that children/youth will not leave the building without expressed parental consent. Families are responsible for communicating these expectations.
Parents/guardians who, on occasion, will not be on the premises while children/youth are attending RE or other church-sponsored activities are required to communicate with the teacher/sponsor and leave a phone number where they may be contacted, or a name and phone number of an alternate contact person. Children in 5th grade and younger, must either be with an older sibling or paired with another family or individual who will be the on-site adult contact.
3. Health Concerns
Parents of children and youth who have serious medical concerns and allergies are requested specify issues on the program registration form. Please discuss your child/youth’s condition with the teacher(s). Parents are responsible for providing updates to insure information is current and accurate.
We wish to take steps to limit the spread of contagious diseases among children and youth attending RE. Therefore, parents are requested to keep children home when they display the following symptoms:
- diarrhea, vomiting or fever (above 100.4°F) within the past 24 hours;
- thick greenish-yellow mucus or pus draining from the eye;
- sore throat, especially combined with fever or swollen neck glands;
- rashes unrelated to diapering, heat, or other known non-communicable diseases;
- unusual tiredness, paleness, lack of appetite or irritability.
(excerpted from the “Good Growing” newsletter of Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Fall 1997)
When a child or youth has a serious illness, which may prevent the child from attending RE for two or more weeks, parents are requested to inform the Director of Religious Education (DRE) or the child’s teacher. Parents/Guardians are also requested to let us know if there is any support or assistance which can be provided to the child, youth or family by the religious education staff.
If a child comes down with a communicable disease (i.e., chicken pox) shortly after attending RE, please notify the RE staff.
Information about the health or abilities of any child or youth, or a family’s status will be considered confidential. Such information will only be shared with staff or volunteers as necessary to meet the needs of the child/youth, or upon family request.
5. Injury and Accident Prevention
Well-stocked first aid kits are stored in each classroom. These are well marked with a red cross symbol. Notice should be given to the DRE if any items need to be restocked. Ice is available in the freezer in the kitchen.
A first aid kit shall be carried by each driver on church-sponsored field trips. If the driver does not already own one, he/she may borrow a to go kit from the RE office. These must be returned after each event. Notice should be given to the DRE if any items need to be re-stocked.
Regular Religious Education Staff and paid childcare providers shall have up-to-date CPR and First Aid cards.
All caregivers must be 18 years of age or older. Younger caregivers (under 18) must always be assisted by an adult and never left alone to care for children. (see exception Section N)
Emergency telephone numbers, as well as information about the location of the church, are posted by the telephone in the main office. (send back to Emergency Comm for specifics)
Toddlers and young preschoolers are requested not to bring toys with small parts into the classroom.
Toys and supplies in the classrooms of infants, toddlers and preschoolers are reviewed, sorted and cleaned periodically. Those which are broken or unsafe are discarded.
Alcohol and illegal drugs are not permitted at any events for children and youth. If alcohol is served at a family or intergenerational event, it is the responsibility of parents, teachers, caregivers, other adults in attendance, and sponsors to insure that it is not served to minors.
6. Injury and Accident Response
Occasionally, accidents and injuries do occur despite close supervision of children and youth. In such cases, the following steps shall be taken by the teacher, sponsor, or caregiver:
- Determine if the injury is an emergency (i.e., severe bleeding, possible neck or spine injury, compound fracture, difficulty breathing, etc.). If so, call 911 as quickly as possible. Do not move the victim in cases of possible head, neck or spine injury.
- Administer first aid if qualified.
- In case of injury, notify the parent/guardian or contact person. The parent will make the decision regarding how to handle the injury (i.e., they will come to get the child/youth, they will request transport to a hospital or doctor, etc.).
- In the case of a head injury, please notify the parent even if the child/youth seems to be okay.
- Complete an Accident/Injury Report form. Give one copy to the parent and one to the DRE or the RE office. Reports should be completed for all accidents, even minor scrapes and bruises, and possible poison oak contamination.
7. Fire and Other Emergencies
Fire extinguishers are installed in four locations on the ground floor. (need congruent language from Safety Comm)
A map showing the location of telephones, first aid kits, fire extinguishers and fire exit routes is posted in each classroom, as well as in the RE office.
Fire evacuation plans are reviewed at teacher training, and a fire drill is conducted during RE once per year.
In the event of a fire or fire alarm, teachers shall lead children out of the room, taking the Daily Sign-In Sheet with them. They shall ensure that all children are out of the room. Teachers and children shall gather in the designated meeting place. The DRE or his/her designee shall check in with all teachers prior to a return to the classroom or, in the event of a serious fire, at a designated safe location.
UUCE’s fire extinguishers and the fire alarm system are maintained by the custodian or administrator.
UUCE is a non-smoking facility, and is posted as such.
If it becomes necessary to evacuate the building, children will be taken out according to the fire evacuation map if circumstances permit.
Children will be released only to parents or guardians.
8. Behavioral Guidelines
The Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene principles respect the uniqueness of each individual and support the resolution of conflicts through peaceful means. Our RE classes and church-sponsored activities endeavor to provide engaging opportunities for young people with a wide range of temperaments, interests, and learning styles.
We expect children and youth to behave in ways which respect the feelings, opinions, and actions of others, as well as any property belonging to others and to the church community.
A concern for safety predominates. Behavior that risks or inflicts physical harm to oneself or to others is never an acceptable choice.
Teachers, sponsors or caregivers who see children or youth making inappropriate choices of behavior shall discuss it with them. Alternate choices may be offered, along with potential consequences. Sometimes the only effective means of intervention is to empathize and then to re-state behavioral expectations. If necessary, the individual may need to be separated from the group and brought to their parent/guardian/family.
We will make reasonable accommodations as appropriate to meet the needs of children and youth with special needs.
Teachers, sponsors and caregivers shall bring to the attention of the DRE and the parent any patterns of inappropriate behavior on the part of a particular child or youth, so that they may work together to seek a mutually acceptable solution to the problem.
Teachers, sponsors and caregivers shall bring to the attention of the DRE and the parent if the child/youth leaves or “disappears” from a class, meeting, event or activity. (See also section J.5)
Groups of children and/or youth shall not be left unattended in a classroom.
There shall be at least two adults present at every church-sponsored youth event, with a recommended ratio of one sponsor per every 10 youth. (Exception: The “Coming of Age” program offers opportunities for youth and mentors to meet on a one-to-one basis with parental permission.)
Rules and guidelines have been developed with regard to events and activities for middle and high school youth. See the following forms and handouts at the back of this manual:
- Youth Events Rules and Guidelines
- Parental Permission Slip
- Youth Agreement for Attending Overnights
Any social event taking place outside the church, attended by church youth, that does not have approved sponsors is not a church-sponsored event. Parents retain responsibility for their own youth in these situations.
If a child or youth leaves or “disappears” from a class, meeting, event or activity, a reasonable attempt will be made to find him/her. If a child in 8th grade or under has not been found within 10 minutes, parents will be contacted and, if necessary, the police will be called. If a youth in 9th grade or older has not been found within 30 minutes, parents/guardians will be notified.
RE classes, meetings, events and programs are designed primarily to benefit and engage the children and youth of UUCE members and friends. Parents are requested to register their children and youth once per year to attend our church-sponsored programs.
Guests (children and youth who are not registered) are welcome to visit 3 times. Parents/Guardians are asked to bring visiting children to their class and sign the visitor’s log each visit until they have completed and submitted a registration form.
Guests are expected to conform to the same policies, procedures, and code of conduct as those who are registered for UUCE programs.
Guests must register before attending overnights for children or youth.
Guests may only attend off-site church-sponsored events with written consent from the parent/guardian, the DRE, and the event leader.
11. Field Trips
A Field Trip Permission Slip signed by a parent, guardian, or other adult responsible for the child, is required for each child or youth to participate in an off-premise event. (Note: some RE classes may have an “ongoing” permission slip for short walking trips away from church on Sundays.)
The destination, time of departure, and expected time of return shall be posted in the church school office (or on the office door). A list of children/youth attending, drivers, and chaperones, along with vehicle descriptions and license plate numbers, shall also be posted. (See “Field Trip Information” form.)
Each driver shall carry copies of the permission slips for each child/youth in his/her car. The designated leader for the trip shall carry originals of all permission slips for the entire group participating, as well as names, vehicle descriptions, and license plate numbers of all drivers and chaperones.
Children 60 pounds and under shall be restrained in age-appropriate car/booster seats. All passengers and drivers must wear seat belts. If the front passenger seat is equipped with an automatic air bag, young children shall not be seated there. (To be safe, front seat passengers need to be tall enough to see over the dashboard, or approximately 4 to 41/2 feet tall, depending on the vehicle.)
All drivers shall have a current driver’s license and personal automobile liability insurance which meets or exceeds the requirements of Oregon State law. Drivers shall sign a Field Trip Driver’s Data form and Safety Agreement, which will be kept on file. Teachers will be responsible for ensuring that a form is on file for all drivers for a particular trip.
Written parental permission is required for children or youth to ride with any driver under 21 years of age. It is recommended that parents arrange for youth to be transported to/from church-sponsored functions, conferences at other churches, and district youth events by adult drivers.
At least two adults, when possible, shall be present on each field trip. In cases where there is only one adult per vehicle, it is recommended that vehicles travel in pairs, keeping within sight of one another at all times.
Children or youth must have attended RE regularly (average of twice per month) for 3 months before they may attend a field trip or out-of-town trip without a parent/guardian.
12. Personal Safety and Prevention of Abuse
The Children & Youth Programs RE Committee and the religious education staff are committed to creating and maintaining a church community in which all people can worship, learn, and play together in an atmosphere free of all forms of discrimination, harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. Such behavior is unethical and will not be tolerated within our programs.
We seek teachers, advisors, caregivers, mentors, and sponsors who promote a spiritual community that affirms the UUA principles and demonstrate personal integrity. We seek individuals who nurture, care for, respect, and support children and youth, and are worthy of our trust.
All people engaged in children, youth, and family programs at The Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene are responsible for knowing the possible impact of their words and actions upon the individuals with whom they engage.
With the above guidelines in mind, we have developed the following policies and procedures relative to personal safety:
- All teachers, advisors, caregivers, mentors, and sponsors are interviewed in person or by telephone and approved for service by the DRE. Caregivers, Mentors and persons who have been attending UUCE less than six months must provide references.
- All youth advisors, caregivers, and mentors are required to complete a Criminal History Background Check form.
- If a once-active individual ceases to participate in the church community for a significant period of time and then wishes to re-establish a relationship in the church community with responsibility for children and youth programs, steps 1 and 2 may be required anew.
- Youth advisors, mentors, and sponsors must be 25 years of age or older and an active “member,” or “friend,” of the church in good standing. Care givers and lead teachers must be 18 years of age or older. Care givers and teaching assistants under age eighteen must always be in the presence of an adult. Written procedures and expectations of length of affiliation with UUCE for volunteers has been established. (See “Volunteer Recruiting and Screening Procedures)
- Teachers, advisors, caregivers, mentors, and sponsors must review and sign a Code of Ethics on an annual basis. The Code of Ethics specifically prohibits verbal, emotional, and physical abuse and sexual involvement with children and youth. If there is an alleged violation of Code of Ethics, the DRE will consult with the Safe Congregation Committee (see Teacher Handbook or The UUCE Policy Book), or take other appropriate actions.
- Supervision standards:
- RE classes are generally taught by a team of at least two persons.
- Every attempt shall be made to assure that at least one male and one female adult are present at church-sponsored overnights.
(Note: See additional standards for supervision in Section L, Field Trips and Section N, Childcare.)
- Training on preventing, recognizing, responding to, and reporting child and sexual abuse and harassment shall be offered each year. All persons working with children and youth, whether staff or volunteers, are considered mandatory reporters, and as such are expected to contact protective services.
- The “Our Whole Lives” program is offered to children in Kindergarten/1st grade, 4th/5th grades, and middle school and high school youth on a rotating basis. Leaders will be screened by the DRE and the district training team and must have satisfactorily completed a District or UUA-approved training program.
Church-sponsored childcare is provided by paid and volunteer caregivers as follows:
- To infants and/or toddlers and/or pre-schoolers during Sunday morning church services,
- To multi-age groups of children during church events such as meetings, membership orientation classes, adult education classes, and adult-oriented social events.
Caregivers shall be at least 18 years of age and shall be screened according to the procedures stated above (see section M. Personal Safety).
Assistant Caregivers under 18 must be supervised by an adult and will not be left alone with children. An exception is when a youth is caring for four children or less and the parents are in the very next room. If no other childcare provider is available to assist, the youth may care for the children if the door is kept open and/or a frequent check-in is made by an adult from the group. Two youth may care for 8 children if no more than one child is an infant. Parents must be informed if someone under 18 is caring for their children.
There shall be a minimum of two caregivers in all situations, at least one of which must be 18 years or older. An exception shall be made for small groups of children (numbering four or fewer) when childcare is provided on the premises within hearing range of the parents or guardians. Minimum ratios for children: caregivers shall be as follows:
- One provider — not include more than one infant/toddler, or more than 5 children. Childcare must happen in the next room and members of the group must make a visual check on the provider once per hour.
- 4–10 children, with no more than two under age 2: two caregivers.
- 4–10 children, with two or more under age 2: three caregivers.
- 10 or more children: three or more caregivers, based on ages of children enrolled.
In the case of one provider, parents/guardians are expected to make a visual check at least once per hour.
Church-sponsored childcare shall utilize the following procedures, detailed above:
- Visitors Registrations (for non-registered children), and Accident/Injury Report forms.
- Caregivers shall have easy access to a telephone and first aid kit.
- Field trip policies and procedures shall be followed by caregivers.
- Caregivers shall receive information about childcare and emergency procedures at the church. A summary information sheet for caregivers shall be readily available.
Snacks for Toddlers through High School will be provided each Sunday. Snacks are not to be considered a meal.
Parents/Guardians are responsible for alerting the program to special allergies or dietary needs. There is a place on the registration form and the Guest Log for this information. If information changes throughout the year, parents/guardians are to contact the DRE. Families of children/youth with special dietary conditions should bring their own snack, or communicate easy to purchase alternatives to the DRE. The DRE may ask the family to supply the snacks if the dietary needs are complicated.
15. Youth Group Policies and Procedures
The following criteria are for middle school and high school young people registered with our church school program.
A parental consent form is needed for each and every event sponsored by the church outside of regular church school hours. No youth may participate in any event unless a church school registration or guest slip and a parental permission slip is on file with the church.
A field trip permission slip is needed for each and every event away from the church during church hours. Some classes may have an ongoing “open” permission slip for short walking trips away from church on Sunday mornings and evening gatherings.
All church-sponsored events have adult sponsors in attendance at all times. A sponsor is an adult who is over age 25 and serves in the role of chaperone. The ratio shall be one adult to every 10 youth, with a minimum of two adults. Any social event occurring off-premises with church youth in attendance that does not have these designated sponsors is not a church-sponsored event. Parents are responsible for their Youth in these situations.
Rules for all youth overnights include the following:
- All youth will stay in the church building during an overnight event. There will be no leaving or entering of the building without sponsor permission.
- All youth will respect the property of others and the church.
- Youth will not engage in the use of weapons, drugs, alcohol or tobacco, nor bring these things, nor paraphernalia related to these things, onto church grounds.
- Youth will not engage in sexual activity on church grounds. (See UUCE Safe Congregations Procedures, Policy #2: Definitions of Harassment and Abuse, 6/25/2014.) There is a line between affection and sexualized behavior. Affection: Okay. Sexualized: Not okay. Neither non-consensual nor consensual activity is appropriate in a church setting.
- All youth will help clean up the church so it will be left as it was prior to use.
- All youth will follow all reasonable requests of sponsors.
- All youth will be respectful of one another.
Each youth is to sign an agreement regarding these rules prior to attendance at an event, and the youth group will read them aloud in unison at the beginning of each overnight. Quiet time and sleep curfews in specific rooms are established at each of the overnight events by the sponsors.
If a youth attending church-sponsored or district events does not follow the accepted rules, parents/guardians will be contacted and the youth will be removed/sent home if necessary. If the event is on the church premises, the parents/guardians will be contacted and may be requested to pick up the youth from the event. A group may be formed at each event (size to be decided at event) of adults and youth who will help decide consequences.
Any youth not registered in the UUCE church school program are considered “guests” and are expected to conform to the same “Youth Group Covenant” as church youth. Guests are not permitted to attend youth overnights unless prior arrangement has been made with the DRE and advisor.
Youth are expected to be on time to all church events and field trips. This is for the convenience of the sponsors and other participants and contributes to the overall success of the event.
If any youth leaves or disappears from any event, a reasonable effort will be made to find the youth. If he/she is not found within 30 minutes, parents will be notified. If necessary, police will be contacted.
It is recommended that adults over the age of 21 provide transportation for youth to church-sponsored events, as well as to events at other churches, youth conferences, and district events. Anyone of legal age may drive youth, however, written parental permission is necessary for a youth to ride to/from a church-sponsored event with any driver under the age of 21.
Youth group gatherings provide an opportunity for the sharing of experience, thoughts and concerns. For that reason, information shared in this forum shall be considered confidential. Under most circumstances, such information will not be shared with parents. However, if information pertaining to mandatory reporting of suspected abuse is disclosed, such information will be reported. If a youth discloses behavior or intent that constitutes a risk of significant harm to him/herself or others, this information will be shared with parents/guardians or the appropriate authorities.
Youth and youth advisors choosing video/movies for the group to watch should keep in mind the following criteria:
- Choose movies that are PG-13 or under, that support Unitarian Universalist ideals and principles.
- Movies rated R may be shown to only to youth in 9-12th grade with permission from a parent or guardian (not middle school or younger). These movies may only be shown if they deal with a social justice issue that can be discussed by the group and if they do not contain extreme violence or overt, crude or violent sexual content. No movies that contain blood, gore, or violent action may be shown.
- The youth advisors or DRE should ok all movie choices requested by the youth and the adult in charge or DRE must have recently (within the last month) viewed/reviewed the video before showing it to the group. If the movie has not been recently viewed by the adult in charge or DRE, the group must watch a different choice.
16. PWR / UUA Social Media Policies:
2017, Adapted from UUA Guidelines by Jennica Davis-Hockett
Online communication between youth and adults can be complicated, and thus this document is geared to set expectations and clear boundaries for such interactions.
No one youth should be alone or sending/receiving private messages/pictures with one adult online (youth in this case includes people under 18 and people who are 18 and serving as youth staff). The reason for this is because if there were any allegations of misconduct, there would be no third party witness to corroborate – which puts both the adult and youth at risk. This also applies to in-person meetings.
If it is absolutely necessary to have a one-on-one interaction between a youth/adult online, please:
Let other people know (staff and/or parent guardian) that you will be communicating, around what time, and what about.
And, make sure there is a record of the conversation (that’s why Slack, text, email, fb messenger are optimal).
If it’s a phone call, please record it (Apps exist that allow you to do this). There aren’t very many instances where having a one on one phone call is necessary!
Regarding Facebook: Adults in youth ministry may accept friend requests from youth, but do not actively seek to friend youth. We are all encouraged to have lives outside UU youth ministry and we are all allowed to have our privacy respected. It is also critical that adults maintain healthy roles as mentors and do not cross boundaries into perceptions of friendship / peership. There is a dangerous power imbalance between adults and youth, and our adult professionals and volunteers need to be especially mindful of their impact.
Regarding Instagram: Adults in UU youth ministry leadership don’t follow youth and make sure that either their privacy settings are such that youth can’t follow them, or if they allow youth to follow them, it is from a professional / church youth ministry account only.
Regarding Snapchat: Youth can snapchat with youth, adults can snapchat with adults but youth/adults don’t snapchat with each other. The reason for this is that there is no long term record of the conversation and we aim to create mentoring relationships between youth and adults, not peer relationships, as mentioned above.
These are the Youth Inclusion Guidelines which inform our policy on youth/adult online communications. http://www.uua.org/sites/live-
This policy applies to youth and bridged young adults up to age 24. Any adult in a position of authority within a youth program in the Pacific Western Region, is advised to adhere to these procedures and be extremely cautious, particularly about their power and the psychological safety of our youth / young adults, when communicating with individuals in our programs, always erring on the side of transparency, healthy boundaries, and youth / young adult well being.
These policies are not in place because PWR doesn’t trust adult volunteers. These are in place because PWR leadership has a deep love for the ministry shared by our movement and we we are committed to doing this ministry in ways that keep youth safe(r). It is important that all stakeholders are functioning with a common understanding of how we communicate appropriately, and that all are dedicated to setting necessary boundaries.
Reporting and Responding Procedures
Child Abuse means the nonaccidental injury, sexual abuse (touching and non-touching), exploitation, neglectful treatment or the maltreatment of a child (from birth to 18 years) by any person under circumstances which indicate that the child’s health, welfare and safety are harmed.
1.1. Procedures for Previously Investigated Offenses or Charges
1.1.1. Anyone who becomes aware of child sexual or physical abuse charges made against an employee, volunteer, member, or attendee of the church should notify a Minister, the Chair of the Board of Trustees or the DRE. Of these, whoever receives the information shall be responsible for reporting to the others. In the event that the charges involve a minister, the next points of contact shall be the Board Chair, the District Executive of the Pacific Northwest District, or the UUA Department of Ministry.
1.1.2. The Minister(s), the Board Chair, and the DRE shall:
126.96.36.199. collect and review all pertinent facts regarding the incident or charges;
188.8.131.52. review the application and reference forms kept on the person;
184.108.40.206. determine what, if any, actions need to be taken; and
220.127.116.11. carefully document all meetings, conversations, information, etc. regarding this matter, and keep all this information as confidential as the circumstances warrant.
1.1.3. If the allegations have merit or cannot be disproved, actions to be considered shall include:
18.104.22.168. signing a limited access statement;
22.214.171.124. determining who in the church and the larger community should be notified, and means of notification; and/or
126.96.36.199. suspending or terminating employment, volunteer duties or membership.
1.2. Procedures for an Uninvestigated Occurrence
1.2.1. Any inappropriate conduct or relationships between an adult volunteer worker and a member of the youth group or a child should be reported immediately to the DRE.
1.2.2. Anyone informed of an incident of child sexual or physical abuse (whether the abuse may have occurred during a church activity or not) shall:
188.8.131.52. complete the Report of Suspected Abuse form included in all volunteer training packets or provided by the DRE; and
184.108.40.206. report the incident to either a Minister, the Chair of the Board of Trustees or the DRE. Of these, whoever receives the information shall be responsible for reporting to the others. In the event that the charges involve a minister, the next points of contact shall be the Board Chair, the District Executive of the Pacific Northwest District, or the UUA Department of Ministry.
1.2.3. Oregon state law, 419B.005-100, the Child Abuse Law, states that a mandatory reporter who has reason to suspect that a child under the age of 18 has been abused and/or neglected must make a report to the Department of Human Services within 24 hours. This law also states that any person making a report in good faith is immune from any civil or criminal liability.
220.127.116.11. In the presence of one of the above listed church leaders, report the incident to DHS (Oregon: 1-855-503-SAFE (7233), Lane County: 541-686-7555). Keep careful written notes of the telephone conversation and the name of the person you speak with. A follow-up written report may be required by DHS.
18.104.22.168. While you will be required to provide DHS with your name, they will keep your identity confidential if you wish.
1.2.4. The entire matter must be kept confidential from anyone other than the Minister(s), the Board Chair and the DRE until you are informed that an investigation has been completed.
1.2.5. The Minister(s), the Board Chair and the DRE shall carefully document the handling of the incident, and report the incident immediately, as appropriate, to the child’s parents, the church’s attorney, the proper civil authorities, and the church’s insurance company.
1.2.6. Do not prejudge the situation, but take the allegations seriously. The Minister(s), the Board Chair and the DRE shall reach out to the victim and the victim’s family. Extend whatever pastoral resources are needed. Remember that the care and safety of the victim is the first priority.
1.2.7. In the event that knowledge of the incident becomes public, the Minister(s) and the Board Chair shall designate a spokesperson for the church. The spokesperson shall use the text of a prepared statement to answer the press and to convey the incident to the congregation, taking care to safeguard the privacy of all parties involved.
1.2.8. The Minister(s), the Board Chair and the DRE shall determine how to address the incident within the congregation. While civil authorities are investigating the reported incident, this committee shall determine the appropriate actions to be taken regarding the accused, as specified herein under “Procedures for Previously Investigated Offenses or Charges”.
1.3. Procedures for Working with and Caring for a Person Against Whom Allegations Have Been Made
1.3.1. Treat the accused with dignity and support.
1.3.2. If the accused is a paid staff person or a volunteer, that person shall be suspended from all activities involving the supervision of children. This is true for an incident that allegedly occurred either within or outside the realm of the church. Suspension will continue pending the outcome of the investigation by the appropriate authority.
1.3.3. Regardless of where or under what circumstances the alleged incident takes place, if a paid staff person is involved and convicted, or a legal charge is brought but not acted upon for reasons that leave too many questions unanswered, it may be considered as job related and affecting job performance.
1.3.4. Reinstatement of a paid staff member or volunteer will occur only after all allegations have been cleared to the satisfaction of the Board of Trustees.
2. Restricted Access to Children
If it is determined that any person should have restricted access to children, he/she shall be required to sign a Limited Access Agreement, and shall not be allowed to have any further contact with children.
3. Monitoring of Policies and Procedures
Approximately six to eight weeks after implementation, the Board of Trustees will appoint a Board member plus at least two volunteers to give a written questionnaire to ministry leaders, staff and volunteers to gather additional feedback regarding these policies. Results of the monitoring process will be provided to the Board of Trustees for the purpose of making recommendations for policy changes if necessary.
To aid in the monitoring and enforcement process, a form will be posted outside the Nursery and Room 3, and on each floor of Karnan House empowering every adult to report to the Ministers or the Chair of the Board any observation that the SCPP have not been followed. In addition, in August of every year an insert will be placed in the newsletter and order of service reminding the congregation of the SCPP.
While complete enforcement of policies may not always be possible, screening procedures, reference checks and initial training must always be enforced. The success of these efforts will be checked by the Board regularly.
The Board of Trustees will conduct an annual review of the prevention program. The Board will assess how well the program has met its goals. Ministry leaders can report on the prevention efforts. A brief questionnaire can be given to workers and representative church members asking for their reactions and concerns.
Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene Safe Congregation New Member Packet Insert
For the Children
In recent years the topic of child sexual abuse has received much attention in the media. We would like to think that churches are immune that churches are immune from such harsh realities. However, they are not — not even our UU Church in Eugene.
Children can be sexually molested in their homes, schools, rec centers and churches. Certainly we can never guarantee full protection or absolute safety. The world is not a perfect place. But as a church we have a moral and legal obligation to reduce the risk of child sexual abuse in our church.
In 2000 a Safe Congregation Task Force developed and the Board of Trustees adopted guidelines for screening and training volunteers working with children, reporting occurrences of child sexual abuse, and dealing with any such charges in our congregation. If you have questions about those guidelines, you may speak with any one of us.
We are committed to making our church as safe as reasonably possible. We are committed to the care of our children and to the principles of fairness, kindness and forgiveness that have long been part of our religious tradition.
Minister Rev. Dr. Sydney Morris
Director of Religious Education Katy Siepert
Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene
4. Policy Statement
Child Abuse means the nonaccidental injury, sexual abuse (touching and non-touching), exploitation, neglectful treatment or the maltreatment of a child (from birth to 18 years) by any person under circumstances which indicate that the child’s health, welfare and safety are harmed.
The Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene recognizes the reality of child sexual and physical abuse in our society, its impact on children and families, and the need for a responsible means of addressing this issue. By overcoming the secrecy involved in this area and by providing a forum for possible problems and concerns, we will reflect our commitment to provide protective care for all children, youth and volunteers who participate in church sponsored activities.
We will achieve these goals through:
- Screening all church staff and volunteers who work with children.
- Supervising our children and those who work with them.
- Providing a specific process by which allegations of abuse are reported and investigated.
- Treating all persons with dignity and respect.
- Requiring those at risk of incident or accusation to refrain from contact with children.
While the main focus of these policies is directed to those most directly involved in working with our young people, all members of the UU Church in Eugene carry a responsibility to provide a safe and caring community in which our children and youth are respected, in which their self-worth is affirmed, and in which spiritual, social, and intellectual growth are encouraged.
The congregation as a whole will be made aware of these policies and procedures, the screening process will be completed for every person working with our children and youth, and a statement about these policies will be included in the new member packet. We are committed to the care of our children and to the principles of fairness, kindness and forgiveness that have long been part of our religious tradition.
Limited Access Agreement
The Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene (UUCE) has reason for concern that your contact with children and/or youth in our congregation potentially places both you and them at risk of incident or accusation. UUCE thus stipulates the policy guidelines in this Agreement. Within these guidelines, UUCE welcomes your participation in worship services, committee meetings, adult discussion groups, and adult social events. The guidelines are as follows:
- Avoid all contact with children and youth on church property or at church-sponsored events including:
- refraining from any contact with children and youth.
- not volunteering or chaperone for children or youth events.
- remaining in the presence of an adult at all times when children are in the building.
- not entering into conversations with children.
- You may not enter the RE Wing of the church on Sundays. (before all children have been dismissed from Young Church.)
- You may not attend coffee hour or intergenerational events.*
- UUCE must provide safety for a variety of groups that use the building during the week. To that end, you are not allowed in the church building unsupervised when activities involving children are in session. You may not possess or borrow a key to the church building.
- You will have access to a Pastoral Care Associate for support and problem solving around limited access.
- UUCE will attempt to keep this matter as confidential as possible, while ensuring the church remains a safe place for our children. Please consider the Minister(s) and the Chair of the Board of Trustees as your contact persons should further questions arise.
* Should you already be under the supervision of a chaperone via parole, probation or state sexual offender program, attendance will be considered by the Minister(s), the Chair of the Board of Trustees and the DRE.
I have reviewed this policy and agree to abide by it or I will relinquish my participation and membership in this church.
NOTICE REGARDING THE SAFE CONGREGATION POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
All members of The Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene (UUCE) carry a responsibility to provide a safe and caring community in which our children and youth are respected, in which their self-worth is affirmed, and in which spiritual, social, and intellectual growth are encouraged.
We will achieve these goals through the implementation of the Safe Congregation Policies and Procedures (SCPP). A complete copy of the SCPP is posted on the Board of Trustees’ bulletin board. Some important highlights are:
- Staff and volunteers working with children and youth will have been attending UUCE regularly for at least 6 months and will have been through the appropriate screening and training process.
- Two appropriately screened adult supervisors will be present at all times in the Religious Education classrooms and during any church sponsored activity-involving youth.
- Classrooms will not be open to children nor youth for any activity until 2 adults are present.
- A roaming Staff Supervisor will be present during RE to provide supervision for children going to the lavatory or those removed from class for disciplinary purposes.
- No child in K-3rd grade will be dismissed from RE without an appropriate supervisory parent or guardian. Children in 4th grade and higher will be dismissed and are expected to find their guardian/parent in the Social Hall.
- Youth (middle and high school age children) will not be dismissed until service has ended.
- Church functions providing childcare require two DRE-trained supervisors, an open door and the presence of adults in the building.
If it comes to your attention that any of the Safe Congregation Policies are not being complied with, please inform one of the Ministers or the Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Please fill out this report of an accident or unusual occurrence, such as an escaped child from class, and return to the DRE, one of the ministers, or the acting supervisor.
Your name _________________________________
Your role in the Religious Education program______________________
The child’s name_____________________________________________
The time and date of the incident_________________________________
Where did the incident occurred _____________________________________________
Who else was involved_________________________________________________
How did the incident happen _______________________________________________
Understanding that there may be a time when my child would like to speak in confidence with one of the ministers of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene,, I hereby give permission for my child(children) to meet with a minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene without the presence of another adult. I realize by giving this permission slip, the Safe Congregation Policies and Procedures, which require that my child be in the presence of two adults during all church events, will not apply to any such meeting with one of the ministers.
Primary Screening Form For Children or Youth Work
This application is to be completed by all applicants for any position (volunteer or compensated) involving the supervision or custody of minors. This form is being used to help the church provide a safe and secure environment for those children and youth who participate in our programs.
Last First Middle
Present Address _________________________________________________________________________
City State Zip Code
Home Phone _____________________ When is the best time to reach you at home? ____________
Work Phone _____________________ May the DRE phone you at work? ______ When? ______
How long have you live at your present address? _______________________________________________
If you have not lived in your current town for 5 years, please list the cities and states where you have lived for the last 5 years __________________________________________________________________________
How long have you attended South Church? __________________ Are you a member here? ________
List (name and address) all other churches you have attended regularly during the past 5 years ____________
List all previous church and non-church work involving children or youth (name and address of each church/ organization, type of work performed, and dates)
List 2 references who you have known for at least 2 years and are not related to you