Child and Youth Protection Policy
Adopted by the Board of Trustees, March 11, 2014, Revised May 2014
General Purpose Statement
Chalice Unitarian Universalist Congregation (hereinafter referred to as “Chalice”) seeks to provide a safe and secure environment for the children and youth who participate in our programs and activities. By implementing the below practices, our goal is to protect the children and youth of Chalice from incidents of misconduct or inappropriate behavior while also protecting our staff and volunteers (workers) from false accusations.
While Chalice is a loving community, parents/guardians should be aware that the campus is open to the general public and the safety of unsupervised minors cannot be ensured. Therefore, Chalice expects all parents/guardians to be responsible for the safety of their children and youth (under the age of 18) on the Chalice campus when they are not under the care of designated workers, such as teachers or childcare providers. Specifically, parents/guardians should keep children through middle-school age within sight. Parents/guardians of older minors should remain attentive to their safety and actions.
- For purposes of this policy, the terms “child” or “children” include all persons who are not yet in high school (9th-12th grades).
- The term “youth” includes those in grades 9 through 12.
- The term “worker” includes both paid and volunteer persons who work with children.
- The term “incident report” refers to reports that are forwarded to the insurance company.
- The term “injury report” refers to reports that will only be kept on file at Chalice.
Selection of Workers
All persons who desire to work with the children participating in our programs and activities will be screened. This screening includes the following:
- Six Month Rule
No applicant will be considered for any position involving contact with minors until she/he has been involved with Chalice for a minimum of six (6) months. This time of interaction between our leadership and the applicant allows for better evaluation and suitability of the applicant for working with children.
- Written Application
- Personal Interview
- Reference Checks
- Criminal Background Check
A national criminal background check is required for all employees (regardless of position) and for the following categories of volunteers:
- Those who will be involved in our Religious Education program;
- Those who will be in involved in overnight activities with children;
- Those counseling children;
- Those involved in one-on-one mentorship of children; and
- Those having occasional one-on-one contact with children (such as, church- sponsored athletic team coaches and vehicle drivers).
The background check authorization form and results will be maintained in confidence on file at Chalice.
Two Adult Rule
It is our goal that a minimum of two unrelated adult workers will be in attendance at all times when children are being supervised during our programs and activities. Some youth classes may have only one adult teacher in attendance during the class session; in these instances, doors to the classroom should remain open and there should be no fewer than three students with the adult teacher. We do not allow minors to be alone with one adult on our premises or in any sponsored activity unless in a parent-approved mentoring situation with adults whose backgrounds we have thoroughly checked. A married or partnered couple cannot serve together as the only two adults in the classroom to protect them in case of a complaint.
Open Door Policy
Classroom doors should remain open unless there is a window in the door or a side window beside it. Doors should never be locked while persons are inside the room.
For children in nursery, a security check-in/check-out procedure will be followed. The child will be signed in and out by a parent or guardian. After children are released from Religious Education classes (no check-in/check-out), they will be expected to meet their parents at a pre-arranged location, and their supervision becomes the responsibility of their parents. Parents with special circumstances needing other arrangements for the release of their children should see the Director of Religious Education ahead of time.
At congregation-wide events when childcare is available, a security check-in/check-out procedure will be followed.
Sick Child Policy
It is our desire to provide a healthy and safe environment for all of the children at Chalice. Parents are encouraged to be considerate of other children when deciding whether to place a child under our care. In general, children with the following symptoms should NOT be dropped off:
- Fever, diarrhea, or vomiting within the last 48 hours
- Green or yellow nasal discharge
- Eye or skin infections
- Other symptoms of communicable or infectious disease
Children who are observed by our workers to be ill will be separated from other children and the parent or guardian will be contacted to request that the child be picked up for the day.
It is the policy of Chalice Unitarian Universalist Congregation not to administer either prescription or non-prescription medications to the children under our care. Medications should be administered by a parent at home. Parents are reminded of our sick child policy.
Exceptions to the medications policy may be granted to parents of children with potentially life-threatening conditions (such as asthma or severe allergic reactions). Parents of such children should address their situation with the Director of Religious Education to develop a plan of action.
For youth on a field trip or overnight activity, special parental permission can be granted to Chalice adult workers to administer medication as directed.
Permission, directions, and medication in its original packaging must be given in a labeled clear plastic bag to the designated adult volunteer at the beginning of any event in which medication might be necessary. It will be sent home with parents at the end of the event.
A first aid kit will be available in each classroom, and additional first aid kits will be available to take on field trips. In case of injury (causing bruising or bleeding), an injury report form will be completed.
It is the policy of Chalice not to administer corporal punishment, even if parents have suggested or given permission for it. There should be no spanking, grabbing, hitting, or other physical discipline of children. Workers should consult with the Director of Religious Education or the Minister if assistance is needed with disciplinary issues
A worker should escort children to the bathroom. The worker should check the bathroom first to make sure that it is empty, and then allow the child inside. The worker should then remain outside the bathroom door and escort the child back to the classroom. If a child is taking longer than seems necessary, the worker should call the child’s name. If a child requires assistance, the worker should prop open the bathroom door, and leave the door open as they assist the child. For the protection of all, workers should never be alone with a child in a bathroom with the door closed and never be in a closed bathroom stall with a child. Parents are strongly encouraged to have their children visit the bathroom prior to each class.