As a Youth-Serving Organization:
Youth-serving organizations are particularly vulnerable because offenders intentionally seek out organizations that not only provide services to children and adolescents, but that also do not specifically address the issue of child protection policy and reporting. You want to do all you can to keep the youth in your organization safe, but also to avoid costly legal action and the risk of negative media attention. We know that training takes time and there is a cost involved. But when you measure that cost up against the consequences of not being adequately prepared to prevent or respond appropriately to child sexual abuse, the investment is certainly the wise choice. Be sure you train all your volunteers. It is often the volunteers in organizations that harm children.
- Screen all employees and volunteers by requiring background checks, personal interviews and professional references.
- Train all staff and volunteers in the Stewards of Children program.
- Create policies regarding one-adult/one-child situations.
- Have clear reporting protocols in place.
- Communicate to the parents or guardians of the children you serve of your emphasis on prevention and protection as a way of encouraging them to receive the training and demand from other organizations their children participate in to have the same level of commitment to prevention and protection.