Protocols should be developed in order to inform staff and volunteers about supervision, communication, and reporting procedures at your Youth-Serving Organization (YSO). Leadership should invest time in promoting the culture of child safety using Monitoring Behaviors.
To foster a culture of safety:
Encourage staff to view safety as a priority and mutual responsibility, encourage questions, establish ongoing communication, and provide support to build trust. Highlight the importance of staff and volunteers in supporting, building, and maintaining a community grounded on your organization’s mission of safety. Utilize supervision and staff meetings to communicate and clarify a consistent message that protecting children is everyone’s responsibility.
Provide positive feedback when observing expected and appropriate behaviors. Reinforce appropriate behaviors with praise, providing staff and volunteers with recognition for positive conduct. Utilize feedback to highlight instances of staff and volunteers’ positive interactions with children.
Ensure leadership is present, models appropriate behavior, supports positive interactions, and intervenes when needed. Leadership should illustrate the expected behaviors your organization would like staff and volunteers to exhibit. Leadership should also use supervision and direction in instances where intervention is necessary.
Conduct annual surveys and audits to gather information from staff, children, and parents including questions about boundaries and appropriate behaviors. Regularly ask for feedback from all stakeholders involved in your organization in order to understand their perspectives on how the guidelines, policies, and rules about expected and prohibited behaviors are being implemented. Encourage communication with staff and families regarding the specific needs of those at your organization.
Equip parents with information about your child sexual abuse prevention plans. Share your organization’s plan for child safety with the families involved in your organization. Maintain open communication with families about your commitment to safety and solicit their feedback.
Apply your Monitoring Behavior protocol to your YSO by encouraging open communication and feedback between leadership and staff and volunteers. Involve families, staff, and volunteers in conversations about behaviors, policy development, and child safety.
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