Introduction to Youth Safety Guidelines

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The Unitarian Universalist Association (“UUA”), an association of congregations and other religious communities, is dedicated to creating a safe environment for all of its members, particularly youth, in all of its programs and activities. As it seeks to create welcoming communities of trust, it recognizes that it must take steps to ensure that appropriate policies, procedures and safeguards are in place to protect youth, who may be particularly vulnerable to abuse due to the developmental realities of adolescence. We, therefore, have developed these UUA Youth Safety Guidelines to guard against abuse and provide our youth with as safe an environment as possible.

As people of faith, we look to Unitarian Universalist Principles to guide our policies and practices. We affirm the worth and dignity of all people and our commitment to justice through these procedures. We also seek to strengthen our community while recognizing that it is impossible to eliminate all risks.

We are committed to holding ourselves and all of those with whom we work and interact—members, volunteers and —​staff to consistent compliance with these guidelines and continued vigilance to ensure the safety and health of all youth. As each state and territory has its own laws regarding child abuse and neglect, it is important to check the local laws applicable to the location where the UUA program or activity will take place. In these guidelines, we have attempted to address as many risks as possible, but recognize that no environment will be risk free.

In this spirit, we endorse and will apply the following policies for all UUA youth events and all-age events with a youth-focused component, and strongly urge our member congregations and other religious communities to adopt parallel policies for their local youth activities.*

*As member congregations and other religious organizations are independent entities, the UUA has no authority to mandate policy/procedure implementation. Ultimately, each member congregation is solely responsible for the creation and implementation of its own safety policies and procedures. The UUA encourages member congregations to familiarize themselves with state and local regulations impacting child safety.