FMW Child Safety Committee - Annual Report July 2020

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In 2019, The Child Safety Committee coordinated the Child Safety Policy at Friends Meeting of Washington by continuing practices that maintain a safe environment for children in accordance with the recommendations of our insurance provider.  During the 2019-2020 First Day Program year, the Child Safety Committee stayed in dialogue with FDS teachers, Nursery Lead Teacher, RE clerks, the Office Administrator, and the Trustees about safe spaces and practices for children and volunteers in First Day School classes. We attended Religious Education Committee (RE) meetings when possible, volunteered in classrooms, recruited volunteers for classes,  held safety procedure training sessions, we created visual tools to clarify and update procedures for volunteer background checks, and we helped maintain records of Adult Care Givers (volunteer teachers). Throughout the year, we worked with other committees and employees to make sure FMW runs programs for children of all ages in which children are always with more than one adult, and that adults working with children take procedural steps identified by our insurance company to minimize risk of abuse or mishaps.

The second half of 2019 brought not only changes of space for children’s programming at Friends Meeting of Washington due to the joyful completion of our renovation, but also brought a change of paid and volunteer personnel, creating a need for more communication about safety prodecures in First Day School. In July 2019, Friends Meeting of Washington moved toward volunteer oversight of the First Day Program curriculum and scheduling, rather than employing a Youth Programs Coordinator, causing a transfer of roles from paid staff to the clerks of committees. Simultaneously, our long time Nursery Coordinator went on maternity leave, a long-time RE volunteer died, we said good-bye not only to the RE Clerk moving overseas, but also to our long-time Youth Programs Coordinator and to our paid RE teacher, causing emotional situations and attrition of institutional memory. The Child Safety Committee stayed in dialogue with the two new clerks of the RE committee, the new Nursery Coordinator, and with the new Office Administrator as what we clarified what was nadvisable to maintain safe programs for children on First Days.The Child Safety Committee is heartened to see the robust and engaging First Day Programs that the RE Committee and Nursery staff have built up at FMW, and we look forward to working in tandem with First Day volunteers and personnel to resume programming at the FMW building when we reopen after the COVID-19 closures.