Safety for Religious Education and Children
Our Religious Education programs for children and youth entail a high degree of responsibility for the adults working directly and peripherally with the young people. All of us in the congregation teach our children not just how to be Unitarian Universalist but, perhaps more importantly, how to live in a Unitarian Universalist community, a community that gives to, cares for, critiques, affirms, questions, and blesses those within its fold.
Thus, for a people who expect their adults to be faith-keepers, trust-builders, and caregivers, it is easy to see why it is so important for us to be clear about how adults interact with children. Our responsibility to nurture spiritually and emotionally the children in our community is huge. With the stakes so high, we must not fail to guard them adequately against physical and emotional abuse. Will we safeguard against every perceivable abuse? This is not likely. However, we can significantly reduce the risk by creating and following preventative policies.
When we create explicit guidelines for appropriate behavior, we define the values that are important to us as religious people. Our statements about safe relationships create a structure in which our religious community can thrive.
—Rev. Tera Klein and Laurel Amabile
An essential tool for any congregation’s religious education program, and the first place to begin, is a Safety Assessment for Ministry with Children, available from the UU Interim Religious Education blog, In Liminal Time.
Recommended Practices for Children's Safety
Learning from suggested practices and industry standards regarding children’s safety, the UUA Safety Team has developed recommendations for congregations to keep children safer from harm. We invite you to explore the recommendations and resources in each of these areas:
Additional Resources and Policy Examples for Children's Safety
- Taking Children’s Safety Seriously from MinistryMatters.com
- Child Protection Policy Example from Safe Church
- Religious Exploration Safety Policies and Agreements, 2017 from Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax
- Toward a Safe Congregation Policy from Unitarian Universalist Church of the South Hills
- Child and Youth Abuse Prevention Program for Religious Organizations from Church Mutual