Child & Youth R.E. policies
PDF form HERE
Child and Youth RE Policies
- General Information
The supervision of children and youth while on church grounds and
during church functions is a very important aspect of maintaining a safe
congregation. Parents or guardians of children and youth are
responsible for their children at all functions and field trips, unless
specifically left in the care of a childcare volunteer or staff member
during religious education programming.
Nursery care is available from 10:45 am-12:15 pm. When beginning
together in worship for services, children will be released to classes and
meet with their teachers in the Narthex to walk together to the
15 minutes after service, parents are expected to pick up their children
from the respective teacher or nursery staff. At this time, parents again
resume supervision responsibility for their children until leaving the
grounds. No child through elementary grades will be dismissed from
religious education without an appropriate parent or guardian. Children
and youth in middle or high school may be dismissed on their own.
1.1 Definitions & Forms
For purposes of this policy, the terms “child” or “children” include all
persons under the age of eighteen (18) years. The term “worker”
includes both paid and unpaid persons who work with children. The
term “volunteer” means anyone involved in a Sunday morning Religious
Education, Childcare, or in overnight activities involving minors, or in
one-on-one mentoring of minors.
The following forms can be found in the Director of Lifespan Religious
Education’s (DLRE) office:
Registration for Children and Youth Visitor
Volunteer Application Code of
Incident Report Youth
Activity Permission Slip
Our Whole Lives Permission Slip Coming of Age
1.2 Selection of Volunteers
All persons who desire to volunteer with the children participating in our
programs and activities will be screened. This screening includes the
- Six Month Rule
No volunteer will be considered for any position involving
contact with minors until she/he has been involved with
GUUF 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.
- Transportation Rule
For any volunteers who will be transporting children or youth,
they must have a current driver’s license, current automobile
insurance, and be 25 years or older.
- Written Application
All persons seeking to work with children must complete and
sign a written application in a form to be supplied by us. The
application will request basic information from the applicant
and will inquire into previous experience with children,
previous congregational affiliation, reference and
employment information, as well as disclosure of any
previous criminal convictions. The application form will be
maintained in confidence on file at the GUUF.
- Personal Interview
Upon completion of the application, a face-to-face interview
may be scheduled with the applicant to discuss his/her
suitability for the position. This will occur with the Director of
Lifespan Religious Education (DLRE), Religious Education
(RE) Coordinator, or the Minister.
The Director of Lifespan Religious Education (DLRE) will
provide training on these policies, the state laws regarding
mandated reporters, curricula to be administered in the
program, and classroom behavior management. Training is a
requirement to volunteer or work in the program. All
volunteers must have completed training within the last three
years to volunteer in the program.
- Code of Conduct
All volunteers will be required to sign the code of conduct
regarding ethics in working with children and youth.
- Sexual Predators Database
Every volunteer shall have their name screened in the
registered sex offenders database to ensure there is no
sexual assualt or crime committed by the individual.
- Criminal Background Check
A national criminal background check is required for all
employees (regardless of position) and volunteers as
defined above. The background check should be
resubmitted every three years.
Before a background check is run, prospective workers will be
asked to sign an authorization form allowing GUUF to run the
check. If an individual declines to sign the authorization form, s/he
will be unable to work with children.
A disqualifying offense that will keep an individual from working with
children will be determined by the Director of Lifespan Religious
Education (DLRE) on a case-by-case basis in light of all the
surrounding circumstances. Generally, convictions for an offense
involving children and/or for offenses involving violence, and any
conduct contrary to our mission will preclude someone from being
permitted to work with children. Failure to disclose a criminal
conviction on the application form will also be a disqualifying event.
The background check authorization form and results will be maintained
in confidence on file at the GUUF.
1.4 RE Staff Members
Religious Education (RE) Staff are required to submit to a criminal
background check every three years. RE staff includes the Director of
Lifespan Religious Education (DLRE), the RE Coordinator, a Youth
Director, Child Care Workers, or any individual receiving compensation
from GUUF for providing services to children and youth. RE Staff
should be aged 25 or older, with the exception of child care workers
who may be 18 or older.
All RE Staff, as well as the Minister, are considered mandated reporters
by South Carolina in regards to the abuse or neglect of minors.
1.5 Supervision of Children and Youth
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 counseling situation by the Minister or DLRE.
Groups of children and/or youth shall not be left unattended in a
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
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.
1.5.1. Coming of Age Mentors
During the Coming of Age Program, an adult volunteer is assigned as a
mentor to each youth. These meetings are one-on-one and should only
occur in the public eye; such as a coffee shop or public area in a library
or in the Fellowship Hall at GUUF during other activities. Mentors
should take extra caution to never be alone with youth out of the line of
sight of others.
1.5.2 Teenage Volunteers
We recognize that there may be times when it is necessary or desirable
for volunteers who are themselves under age 18 to assist in caring for
children during programs or activities. The following guidelines apply to
• Must be at least age 14.
• Must complete an application and provide references.
• Must be at least 5 years older than the group of children they are
• Must have guardian/parental permission.
• Must be under the supervision of an adult and must never be left
alone with children.
1.6 Check-In/Check-Out Policy
Early drop-off is available for children age 5 and under, who are
remaining in nursery care, 15 minutes prior to service. All children/youth
are welcome in the service. Children/youth in Kindergarten through 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.
The RE Program runs approximately 15 minutes after the start of
service to 15 minutes after the scheduled end of service. Please allow
the classes to finish their closing before picking up your children/and
Dismissal and pick-up for children will work as follows:
• Ages Infant through elementary age will be held in their classes
for parents to pick up. Children must be picked up by 15 minutes
after the service. There will be a sign out sheet and any adult or
teen picking up an infant or child must be listed on the registration
form. Identification will be requested if the individual is not
recognized by the RE teacher or child care provider.
• Middle and High School will be released without parent pick-up
and parents should communicate with their middle/high school
youth what the family expectations are when class is released.
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 elementary school and younger,
must either be with an older sibling or paired with another family or
individual who will be the on-site adult contact.
1.7 Sick Child Policy
It is our desire to provide a healthy and safe environment for all of the
children at GUUF. 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
• Fever, diarrhea, or vomiting within the last 48 hours;
• Green or yellow runny nose;
• Eye or skin infections; and/or
• 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.
If your child comes down with a communicable disease (such as
chicken pox), this should be immediately reported to the DLRE.
1.8 Medications Policy
It is the policy of GUUF not to administer either prescription or non-
prescription medications to the children under our care. Medications
should be administered by a parent at home. An exception to this is for
overnight trips in which children or youth have scheduled medication.
There is a special form for parents to sign releasing GUUF to administer
medication at that time.
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 Lifespan Religious Education (DLRE) to
develop a plan of action. Parents of children and youth who have
serious medical concerns and allergies are required to specify issues on
the program registration form. Please discuss your child/youth’s
condition with the DRE and RE teacher(s). Parents are responsible for
providing updates to ensure information is current and accurate and
emergency medications are carried in clearly/appropriately labeled
1.9 Food Allergies
Parents are asked to list all food allergies on their registration forms
each year as well as communicate directly to the RE staff or volunteer
in their child’s classroom. Allergies are noted on attendance records for
staffing purposes in the case of a substitute.
1.10 Discipline Policy
It is the policy of GUUF 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.
Issues of discipline will be addressed through redirection, naming the
classroom or church covenant, and asking the DLRE or parents to pull
the child out of class in cases of extreme disruption or where the safety
of any child is a concern. Workers should consult with the DLRE if
further assistance is needed with disciplinary issues.
1.11 Behavioral Guidelines
The Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship’s 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/
We will make reasonable accommodations as appropriate to meet the
needs of children and youth with special needs. Please work with our
DLRE to help us best know how to help your child be a part of the
community and thrive with us.
Teachers, sponsors and caregivers shall bring to the attention of the
DLRE 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
DLRE and the parent if the child/youth leaves or “disappears” from a
class, meeting, event or activity.
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. Files related to RE families
containing confidential information shall be stored in the DRE office in a
- Nursery & Child Care
Church-sponsored child care is provided by paid and volunteer
caregivers as follows:
• To infants and children up to age 5, during Sunday morning
• To multi-age groups of children during church events such as
congregational meetings and membership orientation classes, etc.
2.1 Restroom Guidelines
Children five years of age and younger should use a classroom
bathroom if one is available. If a classroom bathroom is not available,
workers should escort a group of children to the hallway bathroom.
They should always go in a group, never taking a child to the bathroom
alone. The workers should check the bathroom first to make sure that it
is empty, and then allow the children inside. The workers should then
remain outside the bathroom door and escort the children back to the
classroom. If a child is taking longer than seems necessary, the worker
should open the bathroom door and call the child’s name. If a child
requires assistance, the workers should prop open the bathroom door,
and leave the stall 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.
Diapers should be changed in the nursery. Under no circumstances
should one volunteer take a child into a bathroom or other separate
room for a diaper change. For children over age 3, parents are required
to handle all diapering needs.
• One provider — not to include more than one infant/toddler, or
more than 5 children. A member of the group must make a visual
check on the provider once per hour.
• 5–10 children, with no more than two under age 2: two caregivers.
• 5–10 children, with two or more under age 2: three caregivers.
• 10 or more children: three or more caregivers, based on ages of
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,
• Visitor Registrations (for non-registered children), and Incident
• Caregivers shall have easy access to a telephone and first aid kit.
• RE 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.
- Youth Ministry
Youth ministry refers to programming for middle and high school youth
or youth between the ages of 13 and 18 alternatively.
Volunteers wishing to work with middle school students must meet all
the volunteer requirements above and be 25 years of age or older.
Youth may not drive one another home from events unless they arrived
together or parents have given permission for them to ride home
together. Ideally, parents should include the driver on their release form
of adults who can transport their student home.
Youth must have a parent or guardian complete a permission slip for all
events which occur off grounds.
3.1 Off-site and Field Trips
For church-related field trips and off-site functions, the following
guidelines must be adhered to:
- Volunteers and paid staff must receive specific permission to pick up
children/youth to/from home from the RE and parents and shall have
said permission in writing.
- Permission slips and medical release forms for each child/youth must
be signed and submitted to the activity supervisor prior to the start of
- Group leaders must have a list of participant names, emergency
contacts, medical conditions and allergies with them at all times.
- Every person transported in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt.
- Every driver must have a valid driver’s license and an actively
- No driver may consume alcohol or use any form of drug which can
affect physical or mental performance before or during the carrying out
of his/her duty as a driver.
3.2 General Sleepover Guidelines
- Adults supervising youth sleepovers must be approved by the
DRE. They will have been active participants at GUUF for at least
six months and have had previous youth group experience or
training in a UU setting.
- There will always be a minimum of two adults present during
sleeping hours regardless of the numbers of youth attending. Two
adults must remain awake until all youth are sleeping. During a
sleepover at GUUF, there should be a minimum ratio of two adults
at each overnight, also one adult to six youth with one additional
adult required for each additional four youth.
- During sleepovers at GUUF, all outside doors will be locked
against entry once the last youth has arrived, and will remain
locked until morning programming begins. If camping or otherwise
sleeping outdoors, youth will be in a predetermined area and
parents/guardians will be made aware of the sleeping
- The adult supervisors will maintain a list of attendees.
- Youth will sleep only in areas equipped with a functioning smoke
- Youth must sleep with separate bedding from one another.
3.3 Social Media & Internet Usage
Social Media has become a viable platform for ministry for all ages, but
is particularly useful for young people. It is required that any staff
person, paid or volunteer, communicating with minors through social
media, texting, or email never do so 1-to-1. There should always be a
second adult copied on the exchange of messages. Communication
should be visible to the DRE or Minister upon request.
If an adult leader is contacted one on one with significant pastoral
issues by a youth they are encouraged to appropriately respond in the
moment to support the youth including assisting the youth in finding
local sources of support such as their parents, religious educator,
minister, teacher, or counselor.
As always, any communication an adult becomes aware of which
involve harm to self or others including, but not limited to, self-harm,
suicidal ideation, child abuse, sexual crimes against a minor, and
bullying, must be shared as quickly as possible with the DRE or
Social Media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, or others, maintained
by RE staff should maintain the vision and mission of the congregation
in its postings and interactions with congregants or youth.
- Personal Safety & 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
demonstrates 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
Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship are responsible for knowing
the possible impact of their words and actions upon the individuals with
whom they engage.
4.1 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
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 restocked.
Regular Religious Education Staff and paid childcare providers shall
have up-to-date CPR and First Aid training.
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 1.4)
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 ensure that it is not served to minors.
4.2 Injury and Accident Response
In the event that a child or youth is injured while under our care, the
following steps should be followed:
- For minor injuries, scrapes, and bruises, workers will provide First
Aid (Band-Aids, etc.) as appropriate and will notify the child’s
parent or guardian of the injury at the time the child is picked up
from our care.
- For injuries requiring medical treatment beyond simple First Aid,
the parent and/or guardian will immediately be summoned in
addition to the DLRE. If warranted by circumstances, an
ambulance will be called.
- Once the child has received appropriate medical attention, an
incident report will be completed in the case of injuries requiring
treatment by a medical professional. Incident Reports are filed in
the DLRE office.
4.3 Responding to Allegations of Child Abuse
For purposes of this policy, “child abuse” is any action (or lack of action)
that endangers or harms a child’s physical, psychological or emotional
health and development. Child abuse occurs in different ways and
includes the following:
• Physical abuse – any physical injury to a child that is not
accidental, such as beating, shaking, burns, and biting.
• Emotional abuse – emotional injury when the child is not
nurtured or provided with love and security, such as an
environment of constant criticism, belittling and persistent teasing.
• Sexual abuse – any sexual activity between a child and an adult
or between a child and another child at least four years older than
the victim, including activities such as fondling, exhibitionism,
intercourse, incest, and pornography.
• Neglect – depriving a child of his or her essential needs, such as
adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care.
Childcare workers may have the opportunity to become aware of abuse
or neglect of the children under our care. In the event that an individual
involved in the care of children at this GUUF becomes aware of
suspected abuse or neglect of a child under his/her care, this should be
reported immediately to the DLRE for further action, including reporting
to authorities as may be mandated by state law.
- It is not the function of the Minister, Religious Educator or
President of the Board of Trustees to conduct an investigation into
accusations of child abuse. Rather it is both South Carolina law
and the policy of GUUF to immediately report any situation in
which any person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child
has been, or is likely to be, abused or neglected.
- Once a report is made to the appropriate authorities, the Church
will rely on the decisions of those authorities as to the validity of
the complaint. It is also the Church’s responsibility under these
guidelines to develop an appropriate plan of response to the
- In all cases, the Senior Minister will also notify the President of the
Board and the UUA, and seek their advice and counsel.
Additionally, the Minister will notify the Society’s insurance
- In the event the accused abuser is the Minister, reports will be
filed by, and the notifications referenced above will be the
responsibility of the Associate Minister, DLRE, or the Board
President of GUUF.
In the event that an incident of abuse or neglect is alleged to have
occurred at GUUF or during our sponsored programs or activities, the
following procedure shall be followed:
- The parent or guardian of the child will be notified.
- The worker alleged to be the perpetrator of the abuse or
misconduct will immediately be placed on leave from working with
children, pending an investigation, and instructed to remain away
from the premises during the investigation.
- Civil authorities will be notified, and GUUF will comply with the
state’s requirements regarding mandatory reporting of abuse as
the law then exists. The congregation will fully cooperate with the
investigation of the incident by civil authorities.
- Our insurance company will be notified, and we will complete an
incident report. Any documents received relating to the incident
and/or allegations will immediately be forwarded to the insurance
- The Minister will be our spokesperson to the media concerning
incidents of abuse or neglect, unless he or she is alleged to be
involved. We will seek the advice of legal counsel before
responding to media inquiries or releasing information to the
congregation. All other representatives of the church should
refrain from speaking to the media.
- A pastoral visit will be arranged for those who desire it.
- Any person who is not found innocent of the alleged abuse or
misconduct will be removed from their position working with
children or youth.