Salvation Army Volunteer Policy
GENERAL VOLUNTEERS ALL VOLUNTEERS OF THE SALVATION ARMY OF FOX CITIES ARE EXPECTED TO BE AWARE OF AND ADHERE to the following Policies & Procedures. These Policies & Procedures have been compiled to ensure the welfare of our volunteers and those whom they will serve through their participation in Salvation Army programs. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Policies & Procedures below, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator. General Expectations: Absences without notice should be strictly avoided whenever possible. Volunteers should notify their supervisor as soon as possible if an absence is anticipated. Scheduled events such as doctor’s appointments, vacations, etc., should be communicated well in advance to allow other volunteers to cover the shift and avoid interruption of services. Arrival should be timely, with volunteers ready to work. Please notify the supervisor upon arrival and inquire what tasks require assistance. Hours should be documented to include the time of arrival and departure, with volunteers signing in at the beginning and out at the end of each shift. Please inquire of specific hours policies with the supervisor as these policies may vary from program to program. Attire should be worn that is appropriate and comfortable for your volunteer position. The supervisor can answer questions regarding appropriate dress. Money may not be accepted from a client under any circumstances, nor should it be given under any circumstance. Use of alcohol and/or drugs is not permitted at any Salvation Army facility. Salvation Army volunteers are prohibited from using alcohol and/or drugs while acting as a representative and performing responsibilities defined by his/her volunteer position. Volunteers are also not permitted to purchase alcohol, drugs or cigarettes for any of the clients. Smoking is not permitted in Salvation Army facilities. Please ask the supervisor if there is a designated smoking area. Prohibited weapons may not be brought on site, including but not limited to any form of firearm, explosive device, or other device that is generally considered to be a weapon. All persons are forbidden from carrying a prohibited weapon of any kind onto Salvation Army property, regardless of whether the person is licensed to carry the weapon or not. Volunteers over 18 will be required to have a background check. Training: Orientation and Training may be provided to volunteers. A general orientation may be conducted by the Volunteer Coordinator or a designee and job-specific training may be provided by the supervisor overseeing that volunteer position. Position descriptions, performance evaluations and sign-in sheets serve as tools for preparing references. Safety, Privacy and Welfare: Confidentiality is a right guaranteed to our clients and our volunteers. Clients’ needs, concerns and personal problems are not to be discussed with anyone other than the program supervisor or staff the supervisor deems appropriate. Volunteer applications, evaluation and other information will also be kept completely confidential. Liability insurance is provided for all registered volunteers while performing in the scope of their Salvation Army volunteer assignments. The Salvation Army’s non-owned vehicle coverage only provides liability and coverage in excess of the owner’s actual coverage. Accidents must be reported immediately. Please provide all information regarding the accident to the supervisor without delay. Signing legal documents for clients or on behalf of The Salvation Army is strictly forbidden. Signature or paperwork requests must be referred to your supervisor. Valuables should not be brought to the volunteer locations as there is no way to ensure safety of such items. The Salvation Army is not responsible for any damage or loss to volunteers’ personal property. Regular accessories containing valuables (such as briefcases or purses) or valuables that could not be left home should be stored in an area determined to be relatively safe by the supervisor. Volunteer appreciation: Meals may be provided for volunteers during specific projects and at some sites equipped with kitchens. Please inquire with the supervisor to learn if meals are provided for volunteers. Recognition will be an ongoing process. As a volunteer, you have the right to be acknowledged and appreciated for your valuable contributions to The Salvation Army. References are gladly provided for volunteers upon request based on performance. Corrective processes and dismissals: Dismissal of a volunteer may take place if the volunteer is unreliable, irresponsible, disruptive, demonstrating inappropriate behavior or failing to adhere to the policies and procedures of The Salvation Army and it programs. A meeting between staff, the volunteer and the Volunteer Coordinator will occur in an effort to reach resolution prior to dismissal. If such efforts to correct the volunteer’s deficiencies are unsuccessful, the volunteer will be released from service.
YOUTH VOLUNTEERS Youth under the age of 18 who wish to volunteer with The Salvation Army and are not part of an organized group or class are required to have written parental permission. The program supervisor will be able to provide any necessary parental consent forms. Chaperones/Supervisors must be responsible in their efforts to keep the youth on task and encourage appropriate behavior. Given that volunteering is a life-shaping experience intended to assist youths in developing a positive sense of self and enhance character formation, the conduct and behavior required of youth volunteers reflects the same guidelines that are followed by adults. While The Salvation Army will shield youth volunteers from expectations and/or situations that are potentially harmful or age-inappropriate, youth volunteers are encouraged to review and abide by the Policies & Procedures as they apply to General Volunteers (above). -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Guidelines for Adults Working with Children or Youth Note: We live in an age where child abuse is a reality in our society. The Salvation Army must deal with this issue as a “good shepherd” by taking steps to protect the children in our care. The Central Territory has implemented a program to safeguard our children while promoting a positive, nurturing environment for ministry to them. The guidelines below are to be strictly followed by anyone working with youth in The Central Territory. We pray for God’s blessing for our children, workers, and ministry. Before You Begin Six-Month Guideline—All volunteer youth workers should be members or regular attendees of the corps for at least six months before becoming children or youth workers. Completion of Application—All applicants must complete and sign an application form. Disclosure and Release of Information Authorization Form (General Release)—All applicants must complete and sign a general release form. Statement of Volunteers (Salvationists and Non-Salvationists) for Work with Children – All applicants for positions working with children or youth must complete and sign the appropriate statements (for either employees or volunteers). References—After gaining the applicant’s permission, unit leaders will contact references. Persons asked for references may be suggested by applicants or selected by unit leaders. For volunteer positions, the unit may contact employers, former ministers, and persons who have supervised applicants. Interview—All applicants must be interviewed by a unit leader to determine their suitability for working with young people. Information from this interview will not be released to unauthorized persons. Background Check and Social Services Registry—After gaining the applicant’s permission (general release), unit leaders will submit paperwork to Divisional Headquarters for criminal background and registry checks. (Social services registry checks may not be available in all states.) Driver Application Form—All youth workers who will be driving children or conducting other Salvation Army business must complete and sign a Driver Application Form. Signed Agreement to Follow Guidelines—All applicants must sign the agreement at the end of these guidelines to show their commitment to observe these guidelines. Guidelines Two Adult Guideline—Whenever feasible, a youth will not be in the primary care of only one adult. Teams of adults (preferably male and female) will supervise activities. This guideline has three purposes: it provides for more than one adult to help ensure appropriate levels of supervision, it protects adults from unfounded allegations, and it lessens the possibility of an adult becoming a “guru” who thrives on the dependency of youth as well as an adult having undue influence over an individual youth. Guidelines for Touching-- We live in an age where child abuse is a reality in our society. The Salvation Army should deal with this issue as a “good shepherd” by taking steps to protect the children in our care. The Central Territory has implemented guidelines for touching that will safeguard our children while promoting a positive, nurturing environment for ministry to them. The guidelines below are to be carefully followed by anyone working with children and youth. 1. Hugs, kisses and other forms of appropriate physical affection between workers and children are important for a child’s development and are generally suitable in our unit. 2. Physical affection should be appropriate to the age of the child or youth. (For example, it is generally appropriate for a four-year-old to sit in a nursery worker’s lap and give a kiss on the cheek, but it is not appropriate for a teenager and youth leader to behave this way.) 3. Touching should be initiated by the child or youth. It should be a response to the child’s need for comforting, encouragement, or affection. It should not be based upon the adult’s emotional need. 4. Touching and affection should only be given when in the presence of other children’s ministry or youth workers. It is much less likely that touches will be inappropriate or misconstrued as such when two adult workers are present, and the touching is open to observation. This rule is especially important when diapering a baby or helping a young child change clothes or use the restroom. 5. Touching behavior should not give even the appearance of wrongdoing. As Salvation Army representatives, our behavior must foster trust at all times; it should be above reproach. 6. A child’s preference not to be touched should be respected. Do not force affection upon a reluctant child. 7. Workers are responsible to protect children under their supervision from inappropriate touching by others. 8. Workers must promptly discuss inappropriate touching or other questionable behavior by other workers with their supervisor or commanding officer. Overnight Activities—At least two adults will supervise overnight activities. If the participants are male and female, then male and female chaperons must be present. If these conditions cannot be met, then the event should be postponed. It is never appropriate for an adult chaperon who is not a family member to share a bed with a 3 youth. Males and females attending events must not share the same sleeping quarters and should have separate access to bathroom facilities. Experienced adult workers should be included with adults who are newcomers to youth ministry. Individual Counseling—Team counseling is preferable whenever possible. When team counseling sessions are not feasible, notify another adult of the location and with whom you are meeting. Counseling should be done in a public place where private conversations are possible but occur in full view of others. Guard carefully to avoid seclusion. If possible, have female adults counsel female youths and males counsel males. A male/female team is generally appropriate for counseling either gender. Long-Term Counseling—Workers should not meet with youth more than three times to discuss the same issue. Youth workers are not prepared or supported for long-term counseling or formal therapy. Adult leaders are encouraged to refer youth who they suspect have a serious need for counseling to professionals in the community. Questions about referral must be discussed promptly with the youth program leader or the service/corps. Informal Contact (Independent of Salvation Army Activities)—Informal contact refers to phone calls, letters, or face-to-face contact between an adult worker and a youth that is not connected to official Salvation Army activities. The Salvation Army recognizes that informal contact between worker and youth frequently occurs. For example, workers may hire teens as baby sitters for their own children, or workers may see kids during social events with the child’s family. This interaction is usually legitimate and beneficial. However, workers should seek permission of parents before having informal contact with their child. The worker should clearly let the parent know the nature of the contact, and that it is not part of an official Salvation Army activity. Parents are responsible for monitoring this informal contact. Transportation To and From Meetings—Transportation to and from meetings is not part of corps activities except in those cases when Salvation Army vehicles and drivers are provided as a component of the activity. Parents are responsible for providing or arranging for this transportation to all activities that do not include planned transportation by the corps/service/program. Parents are discouraged from asking workers to transport children informally. However, if a worker does transport a child at the parent’s request, this should be recognized as informal contact (not a part of corps activities), and the guidelines for informal contact should be followed (see paragraph above). Note: The practice of workers transporting minors is discouraged because it may lead to problems. However, if your unit chooses to allow this on a limited basis, the authors suggest you ask parents to initial a memo explaining that these rides are not a part of unit activity, and the parent is responsible for supervising such activity. Transportation as a Part of Corps Activities—Units may provide transportation as an official part of some corps activities. For example, corps may provide transportation to out-of-town events or field trips. When children are transported as a part of unit activities, all relevant guidelines will apply. Following the “two adult guideline” and having all drivers complete a Driver Application Form are especially important. Confidentiality—Workers must report to an appropriate leader if a minor discusses harming himself or others, committing a crime, or being abused. There are limits to confidentiality when working with youth. Questions about such cases or other issues of confidentiality must be discussed promptly with the supervisors or commanding officer/administrator. Conferring with an officer on sensitive issues is not considered breaking a confidence. Youth Supervising Youth—Minors may help adults lead youth activities only under the direct leadership of adults. A minor may not be used to meet the team leadership or team counseling guidelines discussed above. Gifts—Workers are generally discouraged from giving personal gifts or money to youth. When the giving of personal gifts is desired, the worker must first notify parents and his or her supervisor. Gifts can be easily misinterpreted. Gifts given to groups of young people are appropriate, such as graduation presents or awards for participation. Group gifts do not require notification of parents or supervisors. Corporal Punishment—Corporal punishment (hitting or spanking) and other forms of punishment involving physical pain are not appropriate in Salvation Army activities. This rule holds true even if parents have suggested or given permission for corporal punishment. Workers must consult their supervisors if they need help with misbehaving youth or discipline techniques. Open Door Guideline—All children’s and youth events should be open door. This means that workers, parents, and corps members have a right to observe any activity. Minors and parents should be informed that there are never secret activities or initiations in any Salvation Army programs. High Adventure Activities—Special precautions must be taken on high adventure activities such as: rock climbing, hiking, overnight camps, raft trips, or the like. Both physical safety and safety from abuse are at risk in high adventure situations. A high ratio of adults to youth is recommended. Guides for high adventure activities should be licensed by the sports governing body or government authorities to guide groups 5 whenever possible. High adventure camping often raises unique circumstances involving individual privacy, sleeping arrangements, bathroom facilities, and so on. Adult leaders must be vigilant to avoid suspicious or misinterpreted behavior in these circumstances. Dating or Sexual Involvement—No adult youth worker is to date a youth or be romantically or sexually involved with a youth. Any adult with prior incidents of sexual misconduct may not be a youth worker or serve in any capacity caring for minors in The Salvation Army. Workers must report suspected or observed misconduct by other workers to the youth program leader or officer/administrator immediately. Supervision and Communication—Youth workers must meet on a regular basis with the youth program leader, and the youth program leader must meet with the officer in charge/administrator periodically to discuss any issues regarding these guidelines. Appropriate topics that must be discussed include problems, accountability, guideline clarification, personal feelings, or other issues that may interfere with youth ministry efforts. Workers must avoid even the appearance of misconduct. This is necessary in order to maintain parental confidence and avoid mistaken allegations. Workers who disobey these guidelines may be reassigned or relieved from youth program duty at the discretion of corps/program leaders or administrators. I have read the all guidelines and policies above. I agree to observe them faithfully.