Youth-Serving Organizations (YSOs) across Massachusetts are gearing up to host thousands of children and youth during the summer. Outdoor activities, overnight camps, and sports programs are important opportunities for children to establish new friendships and build new skills. YSOs also provide unique services, including fun activities, smaller staff-to-youth ratios, and time away from home to build essential life skills.
Before your YSO opens its doors, ensure the following safety guidelines have been addressed and acknowledged by all staff and volunteers:
- CORI and SORI checks have been completed for all staff and volunteers. A thorough screening and hiring process is essential to ensure all employees have been vetted to work with children.
- Your Code of Conduct outlines acceptable behaviors for all adult and youth interactions. Your Code of Conduct outlines the expectations and responsibilities of all staff and volunteers and sets the stage for your prevention efforts.
- Clear sight lines are established, all areas are observable, and unused areas are secured. Creating a safe environment where all children are visible, accounted and safe is critical.
- All staff and volunteers know who is responsible for each child at all times. Every child must have a trusted adult who oversees their safety and communicates with other adults when needed.
- Staff and volunteers are trained on child sexual abuse prevention and recognizing, responding, and reporting abuse. Your YSO policies and procedures clearly outline your commitment to a safe environment and how to recognize, respond, and report concerns.
During the summer, your YSO will open its doors to hundreds of eager children and youth. Keeping them safe will be your number one priority. For more information on how to prevent sexual abuse at your YSO, please visit dev.safekidsthrive.org.
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