Text Size

Becoming a Volunteer

Volunteers

A Volunteer, as defined by Head Start Performance Standards, is “an unpaid person who is trained to assist in implementing ongoing program activities on a regular basis under the supervision of a staff person.” Heartland Head Start defines a regular volunteer as, “any person volunteering more than one time per month.”

Any person wishing to volunteer with Heartland Head Start must complete a volunteer application and be approved by Human Resources. This approval will include website checks of national and state sex offender sites, child murderer sites, and county public access sites. Applicants are asked to disclose anything in their background that would prevent them from volunteering in a DCFS licensed facility. Incomplete applications will be rejected.

Volunteers with Felonies

In the event that an individual discloses a felony or other criminal information on their application, the disclosure and any additional information provided will be reviewed by the Executive Team and a decision made as to whether Heartland Head Start will accept the individual for volunteer service. Any decision made by the Executive Team does not negate or override a DCFS background check, if required.

Health Screening

All regular volunteers are required to provide a physical and tuberculosis test completed within the last six months. Any charges received to complete this testing is at the expense of the volunteer.

Criminal Record Check

Depending on placement/assignment for service, volunteers may be asked to complete a DCFS background check. DCFS background checks typically take 3-6 weeks for clearances to be returned. During this time, volunteers may not begin their service.

Volunteer Orientation

Once approved, volunteers will attend a mandatory orientation and training. This orientation and training is held twice monthly, where they will receive an introduction to Heartland Head Start and its mission, vision and goals and the ways in which they are implemented by the program. Volunteers who have submitted a DCFS background check may not attend orientation and training until the background check has cleared. The following topics will be discussed during orientation and volunteers will be asked to complete paperwork for their volunteer file affirming this training. Topics will include: Standards of Conduct Confidentiality Policy Two or More Adults Policy DCFS Licensing Standards Mandated Reporter Acknowledgment Paperwork should be updated annually if the volunteer returns for a new school year.

Volunteer Examples

The following examples are to help staff understand what paperwork may be required for the following volunteer scenarios. These are examples and Human Resources is responsible to make the decision based on assignment and/or direction from the Executive Team.

  1. A student comes in to be a short-term observer and is never left alone with children. This type of volunteer must complete the application and orientation, but will not be required to complete the DCFS background check or provide any health screening documentation.
  2. A student comes in to be a Mental Health Consultant. This type of volunteer must complete the application, DCFS background check and provide health screening documentation. This type of volunteer must also complete volunteer orientation.
  3. A student comes in to complete a semester-long practicum or internship. This type of volunteer must complete the application, DCFS background check and provide health screening documentation. This type of volunteer must also complete volunteer orientation.
  4. A person comes in to volunteer in the central office or at family events. This type of volunteer must complete the application and orientation, but will not be required to complete the DCFS background check. If the person is volunteering more than once a month, they will be required to provide health screening documentation.
  5. A person comes in to volunteer one time per month or less in the classroom. This type of volunteer must complete the application and orientation, but will not be required to complete the DCFS background check or provide health screening documentation.
  6. A person comes in to volunteer more than one time per month in the classroom. This type of volunteer must complete the application, DCFS background check and provide health screening documentation. This type of volunteer must also complete volunteer orientation.

Quick Resources