The security and safety of children, families and staff require that any person defined as a Volunteer, participating in Head Start activities during operational periods meet certain criteria, including background checks, orientation and training. Volunteer opportunities exist primarily in the classroom and child centered activities with limited opportunities for family service administrative and operational activities. Other individuals who visit the program classrooms and/or administrative offices must have prior management approval to do so. Volunteers and Visitors are not allowed to have unsupervised contact with children in the program (see definition below for details)
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- Any non staff individual 18 years or older (including parents /guardians of program children) who intends to perform duties for the program. Volunteers, including Practicum students are not replacements for staff, they may not be counted as part of the staff to student ratio,
- Must have management approval, be enrolled in the Central Background Registry and have had a volunteer orientation prior to placement.
- Program parents/guardians, who do not meet the definition of Volunteer, will not perform program duties nor have unsupervised contact with children in the program other than contact with their own child. They may visit locations/classrooms where their child/children currently are in attendance.
- Community Visitors who do not meet the definition of Volunteer may visit sites and classrooms for limited times (less than four hours per year) with management/supervisory approval. They must always be under the direct supervision of a HSOLC staff person. They will not perform program duties nor have unsupervised contact with ANY child. Examples would be a student observer or a presenter, story teller etc.
- Supervisors – Must directly approve (via the Volunteer Approval Form) the use of and placement of any volunteer in the program and ensure that staff understand the criteria, requirements and restrictions for any individuals who are volunteering or visiting program locations where children and or staff are present during operational hours. Supervisors are to notify HR when a volunteer has become inactive. See also #3 below for orientations for Parent Volunteers in Regions/Sites
- HS Director/EHS Director/Program Director – Must ensure that written agreements are made with Community Partner agencies providing services that meet the Volunteer definition. Contracts must ensure, at minimum, that a current Central Background Check (CBR) is required for all individuals who are providing such service to the program and that an updated/current CBR list with contact information is provided to the Human Resources Department by the partnering agency.
- Human Resources – Will track and maintain Volunteer data, including monitoring of the Central Background Registry for all program Volunteers and arrange for an initial Volunteer Orientation. Orientations for Parent Volunteers in Regions/Sites will be the responsibility of the regional Managers and Assistant Regional Managers.
- Shall be responsible to ensure that volunteers having contact with children are on the approved Volunteer List (on agency website, staff section).
- Additionally staff will be responsible to monitor the restrictions and limitations for all visitors and guests as noted in the definitions section of this policy.
- Staff shall also be responsible to monitor and report to their supervisor the performance of all volunteers to determine if any additional training and or instruction is required.
- When a volunteer becomes inactive, staff are to notify their Supervisor .
- Upon notification from a supervisor/manager the Human Resources Department will begin the screening process, document the background checks and provide the initial orientation process prior to clearing the Volunteer for placement. Regional Managers/Assistant Regional Managers shall be responsible for the orientation of Parent Volunteers.
- The Human Resources Department will maintain a list of the Volunteers who are cleared to perform duties and have contact with children.
- Prospective volunteers who contact the Human Resources Department directly will not start the screening/orientation process until a supervisor has given written approval for the placement at a specific location.
- A list of authorized volunteers will be available on the agency website and current lists are to be checked by staff to ensure that the Volunteer has been cleared to participate.
This policy complies with Head Start Performance Standard 45 CFR Section1304.40 (d) and 1304.52 (k)
Policy Council approved April 10, 2012, edited/updated 09/2012
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