Safe Church Policy
The UUFoM will take all reasonable measures to ensure that all members, children, friends, visitors, and staff are safe from harm, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
The Director of Religious Education is responsible for ensuring that procedures are created and education provided regarding procedures and mandatory reporting requirements on a yearly basis for UUFoM team members serving in a capacity in which they are caring for members, children, friends, visitors, and staff.
Recruitment and Training of Staff and Volunteers Working with Minors.
The following shall apply to all staff and volunteers who work with minors under the age of 18.
- Each individual shall have been actively associated with UUFoM for a minimum of six months before they may begin working with minors. Exceptions will be made for staff hired to work with children
(e.g., DRE, nursery care provider, Mid-America Regional UU staff, minister). Members or friends who would like to work with minors prior to being associated with the church for six months may do so at
the discretion of the head of staff.
- Each individual working on a regular basis with minors will provide details for a background check, sign a release for a background check, and sign a statement affirming that they understand and will comply with the policies and procedures of the UUFoM annually.
- A background check shall be performed by the Minister. If a background check reveals information that the Minister determines to be of concern, the individual will meet with the Minister for clarification and further evaluation.
- The DRE and Religious Education Ministry Team shall assess each individual to determine how they may best work with children and youth.
- Any person transporting minors for UUFoM or denominational events shall be required to provide a photocopy of a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance to the DRE.
- A copy of the Safe Church Policy with written procedures shall be maintained in the Church office and on the UUFoM website for reference by all members and friends.
When We Are Virtual
- Online practices will be designed to maintain the same safe church standards as we maintain offline at the Fellowship. This includes but is not limited to the following:
- Parental supervision of children online is a critical part of any online activity. We encourage parents to monitor their child’s online activity.
- All Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland (UUFoM) sponsored forums will have at least one adult Host and one adult Observer/Co-host in forums with children. This maintains the two adult requirement for children in a classroom, also known as the “rule of three.”
- Background checks are required on all Hosts.
- An adult with convictions in child abuse/neglect or sexual abuse/molestation may not participate in classes with children. Virtual Exception: a parent may be present in the Zoom call that includes their child, but not in an official capacity as a Host or Observer/Co-host.
- An adult caregiver with a CPS investigation or charges pending may not Host or be one of the Observer/Co-hosts, but may be present with their child. This will be communicated directly between the Director of Lifespan Religious Education and the adult.
- Zoom meetings will follow these five rules at minimum:
- Participants may not enter ahead of the Host. A waiting room may be used.
- All chats are posted to everyone. (No private chatting between adults and children).
- Screen sharing will be controlled by the Host.
- Annotation on shared screens will be controlled by the Host.
- Host recordings with child participants should be saved onto a computer, not to the cloud. Recordings should be retained for one week only for review and then removed.
- Facebook forums, Google Classrooms, and other online forums will have varying levels of adult/child participation allowed. The level of screening, confidentiality, and age requirements for participation will be clearly stated. In all private forums, sharing features will be disabled, and copy & pasting pictures of children from our UUFoM forums is not allowed.