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Responsible Staffing for Your Congregation

Helping You Create Safe Congregations for Children, Youth, and Vulnerable Adults

Abuse of children, youth, and vulnerable adults is a horrific reality in our society, and Unitarian Universalist congregations are not immune. The unfortunate truth is that abuse has occurred in our own congregations. Congregational leaders—paid and volunteer—know at a gut level that we have a responsibility to be proactive in preventing such tragedy. And we do.

What's Recommended?

  1. That all those who work with children, youth, or vulnerable adults complete a fairly standard form (PDF) that consists of an “Application for Paid or Volunteer Employment,” a “Voluntary Disclosure Statement,” and an “Authorization and Release” statement. The latter allows a search committee, personnel committee, or other appropriate body to request and receive information that may have relevance to the safety of children, youth, or vulnerable adults.
  2. That congregational leaders (search committees, personnel committees, others) conduct and arrange for criminal background checks for all paid staff in their congregation and on volunteers working with children and other vulnerable people. Companies that conduct criminal background checks:

Background and Reference Checks are Crucial

Conducting background checks and reference checks on current and future congregational volunteers and staff are critical. The increased use of background checks and reference checks by agencies that work with children often means sexual predators are attracted to institutions that don’t conduct them. Congregations across the nation are perceived as trusting and welcoming and thus are vulnerable to those seeking easy access to children, youth, and vulnerable adults.

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