Children and Youth Safety
Staff. Our staff complete a background and reference check when applying, complete periodic Safe Congregation and other applicable training while working at Albany UU, and are expected to abide by Albany UU’s Safe Congregation Policy.
Volunteers. Our Programs for Children & Youth volunteers, known as guides, are screened when applying and are expected to abide by Albany UU’s Safe Congregation Policy. Each year guides have a development session and sign a Code of Ethics as a reminder of their responsibilities. Visit this page for more information, which will also be helpful if you want to apply to become a volunteer guide.
In Groups. Groups and events are staffed by two unrelated adults as specified by our Safe Congregation Policy, and a staff member checks in on groups on Sunday mornings. Parents/guardians are welcome to check on their children, or to stay with younger ones if they wish. Groups each create and uphold their own covenant, an agreement that governs how participants will treat one another.
Online Safety. Although today’s children and youth are very often skilled in the use of technology, it can still be a difficult place for them to navigate in terms of best safety practices. We ask that all parents and guardians agree to the following Online Safety Covenant. Many of these provisions were adopted during the pandemic, when use of Zoom and other online meeting sites became widespread. Since these are still in use for some educational activities, we require that in any online group meetings:
- People of all ages will appear in clothing appropriate for the public.
- Any visual backgrounds used by participants must be appropriate for all ages, faiths, races, sex, and gender preferences.
- Language must not be offensive.
- Live sessions must have a church host to facilitate the meeting and a church co-host without facilitation responsibility who can turn off microphones and cameras of any participant who doesn’t follow this agreement. This co-host will send a private message to that person in the chat. The co-host will remove any participant whose behavior and/or appearance is deliberately offensive.
- Adults will not have one-on-one electronic interaction with minors who are not their children. Instead, adult volunteers and UU professionals will include the child or youth’s parent/caretaker, another volunteer, or another religious professional on any direct communications. In cases when a minor messages an adult, the adult will post a friendly message to all saying that they got the message from that child or youth. This also applies to digital communication outside of online events (for example text messages or emails).
- Adult participants must use their real first name – and preferably last name.
Safety In Congregational Spaces. Parent and caregivers are responsible for supervising their children’s participation at church when not in group sessions or childcare (service, Coffee Hour, other events). It is often a good idea for families to have a plan for how they will meet when Sunday morning groups are over, usually around 11:15 AM. All adults share responsibility for trying to avoid being alone with other people’s children, and kids should be aware of where their trusted adults are at all times.