We, the Religious Education and Family Ministry Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, recognize the importance of creating a community where our children and youth are safe. We are committed to creating and sustaining a safe, loving environment. In this spirit, these policies have been developed to provide safeguards for our childcare and religious education programs.

Child safety is also spelled out in detail in section 4 of the more comprehensive UUCB Safety Policy developed by the Safety Implementation Committee. The full PDF may be reviewed and downloaded here.

Professional Childcare Staff

The childcare staff cares for children under age 7 and is available from 8:30 until 1pm in the childcare facility, and from 6pm-7:30pm for Thursday Night Supper. Our staff are professional child care providers who have cared for children at UUCB on Sundays for many years. They bring a wealth of experience working as preschool teachers and child care providers. All are TB tested and CPR and first aid certified. The staff is supervised by the professional Religious Education staff.

Parents are required to sign each child into the childcare facility when they drop their child off and sign their child out when they pick the child up.

Volunteers Teachers & Youth Advisors

All teachers and youth advisors must undergo a screening process, including fingerprinting and a background check. Teachers complete an information form which includes a statement of their interest and experience in working with children or youth and at least two references. The Family Minister conducts interviews with all new teachers and youth advisors. All religious education teachers and youth advisors are supervised and supported by the Family Minister and the Teacher Support Team on an ongoing basis. The Co-chairs of the RE and Family Ministry Committee review the status of background checks and teacher information forms twice a year.

At least two adults are required to supervise children and youth during all classroom and religious education sponsored activities. Teachers and advisors should contact the Family Minister to arrange for adequate coverage if two adults are not available to carry out the activity.

Background Checks

All childcare staff, religious education teachers, youth advisors, and all church employees (including ministers, office, and maintenance staff) are fingerprinted and a Department of Justice background investigation is conducted. No person who has a history of crimes involving children shall be eligible to supervise children or youth.

Reporting Requirements

Reporting of suspected child abuse to the proper authorities is required by law. Any teacher, childcare staff or other adult who is made aware of or suspects child abuse during a UUCB program or event, or has a concern about any child’s safety, must report this information to the Family Minister or one of the Co- ministers immediately.

Program Registration

All children and youth who participate in the RE program must have a current registration form on file.

Supervision of Children after Religious Education Classes

Religious education classes end at 12:00. At this time the kindergarten and 1st grade children are escorted by their teachers to the childcare facility, signed in by their teachers, and await pick up by their parents. The children older than 1st grade are released to the playground where the teachers and the Family Minister provide supervision until 12:10. Parents are responsible for their children after 12:10.

Emergency Procedures

If a child is injured during participation in childcare, RE classes or other RE programs, the teacher or other responsible adult shall complete an Incident Report Form (available from the Family Minister), and immediately submit the form and report the incident to the Family Minister and/or the Co-ministers. The Family Ministry Director will provide information about UUCB’s Emergency Response procedures to teachers and other volunteers supervising children and youth.

Updated by the Religious Education and Family Ministry Committee on October 14, 2011