April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness of -- and most importantly -- preventing child abuse. The Ozarks Regional YMCA youth participate in a wide variety of programs, including child care, camping, sports, aquatics, mentoring, leadership and more. Those programs follow the principles of youth development, which includes the belief that children need to be physically and emotionally safe in order to learn and thrive.
This month we are equipping our community with information and guidance on how to talk about child abuse and personal safety with their children. It is important to know the policies of any program or organization before allowing children to participate in any organized sport, faith center, camp, after school program, club or school.
7 steps the Y takes to keep children safe in our programs:
We thoroughly screen staff and volunteers, including completing criminal background checks.
We train staff and volunteers in abuse prevention, and in particular, how to recognize inappropriate favoritism or "grooming."
We carefully supervise and monitor our programs.
We ensure that staff members understand their responsibility to report abuse.
We teach children about appropriate and inappropriate touching through our personal safety talks
We have policies to limit circumstances in which staff and volunteers are alone with a child or teen where others cannot observe them.
We have policies that limit staff contact with children outside of YMCA programs.