Appendix 9: Code of Conduct and Monitoring
sample code of conduct
(Name of Organization) Code of Conduct Involving Interactions with Children and Youth
(Name of Organization) is committed to the safety and protection of children and youth. This Code of Conduct, along with the (Name of Organization) child safety policies and procedures applies to all staff, employees, and volunteers who represent the (Name of Organization) and who interact with children or youth in both a direct and/or unsupervised capacity.
The public and private conduct of staff, employees, and volunteers acting on behalf of (Name of Organization) can inspire and motivate those with whom they interact, or can cause great harm if inappropriate. We must, at all times, be aware of the responsibilities that accompany our work.
We should be aware of our own and other persons’ vulnerability, especially when working alone with children and youth, and be particularly aware that we are responsible for maintaining physical, emotional, and sexual boundaries in such interactions. We must avoid any covert or overt sexual behaviors with those for whom we have responsibility. This includes seductive speech, jokes or gestures as well as physical contact that exploits, abuses, or harasses. We are to provide safe environments for children and youth at all times.
We must show prudent discretion before touching another person, especially children and youth, and be aware of how physical touch will be perceived or received, and whether it would be an appropriate expression of greeting, care, concern, or celebration. (Name of Organization) personnel and volunteers are prohibited at all times from physically disciplining a child.
Physical contact with children can be misconstrued both by the recipient and by those who observe it, and should occur only when completely nonsexual and otherwise appropriate, and never in private. One-on-one meetings with a child or young person are best held in a public area; in a room where the interaction can be (or is being) observed; or in a room with the door left open, and another staff member or supervisor is notified about the meeting.
We must intervene when there is evidence of, or there is reasonable cause to suspect, that children and youth are being maltreated in any way. Suspected abuse or neglect must be reported to the appropriate organizational and civil authorities as described in the (Name of Organization) child safety policies and procedures.
Staff and volunteers should refrain from the illegal possession and/or illegal use of drugs and/or alcohol at all times, and from the use of tobacco products, alcohol and/or drugs when working with children. Adults should never buy alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, videos, or reading material that is inappropriate and give it to young people. Staff members and volunteers should not accept or give gifts to children without the knowledge of their parents or guardians.
Communication with children by staff and volunteers is only allowed for (Name of Organization) business. For the protection of all concerned, the key safety concept that will be applied to these interactions is transparency. The following steps will reduce the risk of private or otherwise inappropriate communication between staff, volunteers, and minors:
- Communication between (Name of Organization) personnel (including volunteers) and children/youth that is outside the role of the professional or volunteer relationship is prohibited.
- Where possible, email exchanges between a minor and a person acting on behalf of the organization are to be made using a (Name of Organization) email address.
- Electronic communication that takes place over a (Name of Organization) network or platform may be subject to periodic monitoring.
- Staff, and volunteers who use text messaging or any form of online communications including social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to communicate with children/youth may only do so for activities involving (Name of Organization) business.
The organizational contact for questions about or reports of breaches of this Code of Conduct is (enter name of the staff member’s/volunteer’s immediate supervisor). If the supervisor is not available, or if the behavior involves a direct supervisor, (Name of designated alternate or Human Resources) should be contacted.
In the event that a child or youth is in immediate danger, and a supervisor (or designated alternate or human resources) is not available, call the Department of Children and Families (Day and evening/weekend phone numbers) or the local Police Department (number) and notify your supervisor as soon as possible.
The (Name of Organization) will not discharge or in any manner retaliate or discriminate against any person who, in good faith, submits a report to DCF, expresses a concern, or reports a breach of any of the behaviors contained in this Code.
All incidents will be investigated within (a stated timeframe) by (name of designated individual, supervisor or manager), and the employee/volunteer reporting the incident will be informed of the outcomes.
Sample (Code of Conduct) Statement of Receipt and Agreement
I promise to strictly follow the rules and guidelines in this Code of Conduct as a condition of my employment or volunteer service to the children and youth of (Name of YSO).
- Treat everyone with respect, loyalty, patience, integrity, courtesy, dignity and consideration.
- Never be alone with individual children and/or youth at organizational activities without another adult being notified.
- Use positive reinforcement rather than criticism, competition or comparison when working with children and/or youth.
- Maintain appropriate physical boundaries at all times, and touch children – when necessary – only in ways that are appropriate, public, and non-sexual.
- Comply with the mandatory reporting laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and with the (Name of Organization) Policies and Procedures to report suspected child abuse. I understand that failure to report suspected child maltreatment to civil authorities is against the law.
- Cooperate fully in any investigation of abuse of children and/or youth.
I will not:
- Touch or speak to a child and/or youth in a sexual or other inappropriate manner.
- Inflict any physical or emotional abuse such as striking, spanking, shaking, slapping, humiliating, ridiculing, threatening, or degrading children and/or youth.
- Smoke or use tobacco products, or possess, or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs at any time while working with children and/or youth.
- Give a child who is not my own a ride home alone.
- Accept or give gifts to children or youth without the knowledge of their parents or guardians.
- Engage in private communications with children or youth via text messaging, email, Facebook, Twitter or other similar forms of electronic or social media.
- Use Profanity in the presence of children and/or youth at any time.
I understand that as a person working with and/or providing services to children and youth under the auspices of (Name of YSO) I am subject to a criminal history background check. My signature confirms that I have read this Code of Conduct and agree to follow the standards it contains. I understand that any action inconsistent with this Code of Conduct, or failure to act as mandated by this Code of Conduct may result in disciplinary action up to and including removal from my position.
Dance Studio Policies and Student Handbook – A Guide to Writing and Revising the Necessary Operating Terms of Your Business 1
It is important to have a set of guidelines, rules, or code of ethics that your dancers can refer to as a way to hold them to a level of professionalism as young dancers representing your dance studio. There is no right way to do this – it’s up to you as a studio owner and what you value. Here is one example that you could use or adapt for your students.
A handbook can help your students and parents better understand your policies while also orienting them to the studio. This is where you can write a welcome message; share your studio mission, vision, and your expectations around general conduct. If you do testing or evaluations make this known as well as your teaching philosophy, methodology and criteria for classroom etiquette.
Section outline on dress code, class attire, student/parent conduct, studio rules & regulations:
- Dress code and class attire expectations by class, genre, or level
- Where to purchase dancewear if applicable
- Class etiquette, performance etiquette (interpersonal behavior)
- Student Expectations (conduct)
- Parent Expectations (conduct)
- Lost and found
- Visitor Information
- Studio facility specific information:
- Entering, exiting, parking, safety, no smoking, securing valuables, lockers, video surveillance, closed circuit monitoring, etc.
Examples of Organizational Mission Statements and Ethics statements 2
- Girl Scouts of America: Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
- Boys & Girls Clubs of America: To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.
- Prevent Child Abuse America: To prevent the abuse and neglect of our nation’s children
Smaller, more locally affiliated organizations can also develop mission statements. An example of the mission statement of a small, privately owned business (a dance studio) reads:
- Academy DMT 3 : At the Academy of Dance, Music & Theatre we are dedicated to providing the tools necessary for children to grow, learn, and succeed through a love of the arts.
Goals in Support of Mission Statements:
Immediately following its Mission Statement, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (above) provides a set of statements about what it intends to provide to the children it serves in order to attain the goal its Mission Statement outlines:
- A Boys & Girls Club Provides:
- A safe place to learn and grow;
- Ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals;
- Life-enhancing programs and character development experiences;
- Hope and opportunity
The dance academy also combines its Mission Statement with a set of similar goals:
- We offer respect and a high-quality education for all of our students:
- Teachers work hard to challenge and support students to achieve their best.
- Every staff member will demonstrate the highest standards of professionalism.
- We communicate with parents about their child’s progress
- We are committed to offering diverse and inspiring programs
Ethical Principles that organizations may wish to reflect within a Code of Conduct:
- Dignity is the right of all those subject to the Code. Respect for one’s colleagues and for the children served by the YSO supports that right.
- Equal treatment for all, including equal opportunity, and support for diversity.
- Those subject to the Code must not allow themselves to be placed under any circumstance that would inappropriately influence the performance of their duties with respect to the safety of the children/youth under their care. The safety of the children/youth in our care is a primary responsibility.
- Recognition of Excellence
- Encourages effort and innovation
- All are accountable for their decisions and actions and must voluntarily submit to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
- The organization is accountable to its staff and clients for the tools, training, and guidance needed to perform their duties.
- Decisions must be made in an open, transparent manner. Information about the safety of children/youth should never be withheld under any circumstances.
- All who are subject to the Code must be truthful
Additional Guidance on Constructing Codes of Ethics and Conduct
Code of Ethics: Explanation and Background
A Code of Ethics provides general principles to guide the behavior and decision making of staff, volunteers, and participants. It represents the standards to which the organization and the individuals working within it pledge to hold themselves. It can be as simple or as complicated as an organization chooses to make it.
It does not provide specific dos and don’ts but rather a philosophy by which decisions can be made. So, if an organization is “committed to providing children and youth with a safe and welcoming opportunity to gain soccer skills, participate on a team, and experience healthy competition” then staff can use those guidelines to make decisions about things like entering a highly competitive tournament, playing in unsafe weather, or dealing with a bullying situation.
In writing a Code of Ethics:
- Involve a variety of stakeholders, including staff, clients, parents, and others if possible
- Although Codes from other organizations can and should be reviewed, an organization’s Code of Ethics should be specific and tailored to that organization
- A Code of Ethics should clarify the following points:
- The goals of the organization
- How the organization works to attain them
- The culture the organization seeks to maintain
- Who the organization’s clients are
- The organizations values and principles
- The Code of Ethics should be shared widely, with staff, participants, parents, partners, community members.
- Consider adding the Code to the organization’s website, providing written materials to staff, and posting internally
- Ensure that all staff are trained on the Code of Ethics and understand its value in guiding decision making
- A Code of Ethics does not contain practical information on the day-to-day operations of the organization, on dealing with issues or problems, or on mandating behavior
Jorge was hired as a basketball coach in September. He was trained on both the Code of Ethics and the Code of Conduct for the organization. One month into the season, a parent approached him asking if her child could join the team. She told him that the child had autism and loved basketball. However, he was not good at following rules. Jorge did not know what the leagues policy was on inclusion. However, the Code of Ethics for the organization that he had laminated to the clipboard he used at each practice stated, “The goal of the **** Basketball League is to teach young people the value of teamwork, of supporting one another, and of hard work.” From this, Jorge construed that the League would support him in taking this youth onto his team.
For example, sports leagues can have the statement, “We seek above all else to produce teams that win championships at every level” or one that says, “We seek to provide a fun, low-stress, and inclusive environment”. Coaches would get a great deal of guidance on their decision making about team formation, practice scheduling, etc., from either one of those statements. However, neither of these includes a commitment to keeping participants safe from sexual abuse.
The statement “We seek to produce teams that win championships at every level while ensuring that participants are safe from abuse, bullying, and other harm” provides coaches, parents, and youth with a standard far more important than winning games.
Consider what your organization stands for, what it values, and how the organization supports its values through its staff, volunteers, and participants.
- A Code of Conduct provides staff, volunteers and others responsible for children and youth with very specific guidelines that will govern behavior including:
- Adult interactions with youth/children
- Interactions between youth/children
- Interactions between staff/volunteers
- Interactions with family
- Approval, requirements, and monitoring of partners/volunteers/providers
- Safety and security
- Required responses to witnessing breaches to code
- A Code of Conduct must be specific to each organization and take into account the ways in which it operates that present risk or protective factors. Different types of organizations will have different risks.
- Organizations should also consider the specifics of culture, experience, vulnerabilities, and other characteristics that may be unique to the population they serve.
- Creating a Code of Conduct
- Completing a Strengths and Risk Assessment is a great way to begin creating a Code of Conduct specific to an organization. An assessment should consider the following questions:
- What is the purpose of the organization?
- How should the purpose be carried out?
- Who does the organization interact with?
- Who does the work?
- Who interacts with youth/children?
- How do youth interact with one another?
- What are the risks for this organization?
- What are the best practices for similar organizations?
- The risk assessment will help an organization identify some of the main elements its Code of Conduct needs to cover including:
- Personnel (staff, volunteers, mentors, and anyone else who may interact with and be responsible for young people)
- Appropriate/Inappropriate/Harmful conduct
- Ratios of personnel to participants
- Information sharing
- Premises & Technology
- Areas where a child could be isolated
- Clear view at all times
- Appropriate social media policy
- Texting/outside interactions
- Vulnerabilities, both overall and particular to the population served
- Culture, including cultural norms that may impact vulnerability to abuse
- Potential for harmful interactions between participants
- Parents and Visitors
- Partners, Supporting agencies, vendors, etc.
- Reporting Procedures
- Personnel (staff, volunteers, mentors, and anyone else who may interact with and be responsible for young people)
- Institutionalizing Your Organization’s Code of Conduct
- Gaining buy-in from leadership and staff
- Training all staff, leadership, volunteers etc.
- Training should be in person (ideal), interactive, and annual
- Webinar or online training is acceptable as long as there are opportunities for interaction/questions/follow-up
- Signatures on statements of receipt and agreement should be required for each staff/volunteer and kept in employee files
- Sharing your Code of Conduct with youth (in an age appropriate way) and with parents/caregivers to increase bystander/participant support
- Posting major points in clear view, in all relevant languages
- Setting clear protocols for responding to and investigating allegations
- Ensuring that the protocol is followed in every instance, by every staff member, and by every young person. “Exceptions require authorization”
- Providing transparency in the process of supporting/investigating involved parties
- Using observed or reported issues not covered in code to improve, “Living Document”
- Monitoring, and Organizational Practice
- Staff are regularly reminded of Code of Conduct policies relevant to their roles or as programming changes by season/focus
- Staff are regularly reminded of their obligation to report breaches in code
- Supervisors will support staff and volunteer understanding of monitoring, improving, and disciplining staff around boundary issues.
- Completing a Strengths and Risk Assessment is a great way to begin creating a Code of Conduct specific to an organization. An assessment should consider the following questions:
When Joe arrived at BGCB, he was trained on the organization’s Code of Conduct. It led him through situations he may encounter and provided appropriate actions he could take. On his first day on the job, one of the girls asked if she could “friend” him on Facebook. The Code of Conduct he signed gave him specific language to use when refusing to interact with a youth on social media. “If I had not been trained, I might have said no anyway because it felt wrong, but I also would have wondered if I was wrong to hurt her feelings.”
Organizations will have Codes of Conduct that differ significantly based on size, purpose, location, staffing, age served, additional vulnerabilities of youth served, and many other variables. All organizations should consider all of these variables in creating or adapting a Code of Conduct for their organization.
What are the activities the organization engages in that provide opportunities for inappropriate interactions and sexual abuse?
These might include:
- One-on-one interactions, use of social media, few staff members, use of volunteers, activities that require clothing changes
- Serving vulnerable populations including non-verbal/limited communication skills, very young children, LGBTQ youth, and others
What are the boundaries that we can set that will provide staff with clear guidelines for interactions and provide others with ways to evaluate their actions? These may include:
- No (or limited and monitored) social media contact
- Never being alone with youth or, if the staff function requires it (e.g., counseling, tutoring, etc.), with appropriate training and precautions
- Keeping a regular schedule of interactions with youth and families
- Not allowing youth of significantly different ages to be alone together or, if required (e.g., tutoring, mentoring, etc.) with appropriate recruitment screening, training, supervision, ongoing support and safe program practices)
Again, each organization must evaluate its own operations and goals and decide what to include based upon the risks and benefits of each interaction. Organizations will also benefit from reviewing the documents created by other organizations.
A large youth serving organization in which all activities take place on site may have as a part of their Code of Conduct:
Personal contact information
(Organization) does not expect that staff will share their personal contact information with members. In the event that cell phone numbers need to be shared to ensure communication during a field trip or other event, cell phones are available from the Executive Director. Note that all communication should be program related. On the rare occasions staff members share personal contact information with a member or parent, a supervisor must be notified. Please see “Cell Phone Policy” in Employee Handbook “
However, a mentoring organization in which frequent personal communication between mentor and mentee is expected would have a different guideline on sharing personal information. In both cases, the expectation is set that there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to communicate with youth, they are clearly spelled out, and are shared widely.
Some additional circumstances to be aware of include, but are not limited to:
- Risk of inappropriate interactions among children and youth.
- Organizations need to monitor interactions among youth in addition to monitoring interactions between employees/volunteers and youth. Many strategies that focus on the interactions between employees/volunteers and youth can be tailored to address interactions among youth.
- Address all situations where unsupervised youth are interacting with each other. Of course, be concerned with situations where youth may tease, bully, harass, or sexually or physically abuse other youth. For example, if your organization has a policy that prevents adults from being present in locker rooms because of the risk of child sexual abuse, this may result in a situation where unsupervised youth can sexually or physically abuse other youth. A potential solution is adopting a policy that requires more than one adult to be present at all times.
- Develop policies to deal with bullying and sexual abuse so that positive interactions can be promoted while acknowledging that some interactions are inappropriate or harmful.
- Encourage pro-social activities and integrate them into events and programs, etc., so that youth are aware of, and can help to ensure a safer environment for everyone.
- Prohibitions and restriction on certain activities
- Some activities, such as hazing and secret ceremonies, overnight trips, bathing, changing, bathroom interactions, and nighttime activities, pose greater risks for child sexual abuse. Prohibiting or restricting such activities will depend largely on the context of your organization. For example, a sleep-away camp would not be able to prohibit overnight trips or bathing.
- Out of Program contact restrictions
- There are two types of out-of-program contact restrictions. The first type involves the contact of youth with employees/volunteers outside the context of the program. Your organization should limit contact between employees/volunteers and youth to organization-sanctioned activities and programs and/or to certain locations, such as activities within the organization’s building.The second type is contact between youth and people not affiliated with the organization that occurs while youth are under its care.
- Develop a system for monitoring the comings and goings of all youth and adults who enter and leave the facility. This system might include procedures for signing in and out. Be clear about when children or youth are no longer the responsibility of the organization and when they are clearly the responsibility of the parent or guardian (e.g., bus drop off for a summer camp).
- Develop specific policies about interactions between youth and people not affiliated with the organization – particularly if it is located in a building that houses more than one program, or if the organization’s activities take place in public areas (e.g., a sports field).
Sample Training Scenarios for Code of Conduct
Mike is a second-year camp counselor at your camp. He is sensitive and connects easily with those campers who are unsure of themselves and hold back from the rest of the crowd. You are a first-year counselor, but are very sensitive to the code of conduct and the importance of maintaining appropriate boundaries between adults and children. Mike’s presence, personality and help with the marginal children help the camp to be a fun and formative time for all those who attend. You also learned that Mike has stayed in touch with one of the more troubled girls from last year’s camp. However, you have also observed that Mike seems to be unable to hear directions about proper boundaries between camp staff and campers. On two or three occasions Mike has been reminded by his supervisor that it is inappropriate for girls to sit on his lap. Yet Mike continues with these activities, saying to you and to his supervisor, “I just can’t say no to a kid who wants to play, besides, it’s just harmless fun anyway.” As a camp counselor, you should:
- Go to the camp director and demand that Mike should be immediately fired.
- Agree that you are probably overreacting since the children seem to enjoy Mike’s attention and continue to support him in his special relationships with children.
- Bring the situation to the attention of Mike’s supervisor who should then remind Mike that the camp’s efforts to protect children are taken very seriously, that he has repeatedly ignored the Code of Conduct, that he is watching him, and that another violation will result in his dismissal.
- Keep a close eye on the children for any signs, symptoms, or behaviors that would indicate they are being sexually abused.
“1” is not the best answer. Although Mike has been exhibiting inappropriate behavior with the girls, and his supervisor has reminded him that it is inappropriate, he has not yet told him to stop, or discussed any clear, specific consequences that will result if his behavior continues.
“2” is not the best answer. No one wants to believe the worst about anybody, but a healthy suspicion is warranted when the safety of children is at risk. Ignoring your initial “gut” instincts and rationalizing Mike’s behavior is dangerous. Mike may also be grooming you.
“3” is the correct answer. Mike has already exhibited some of the warning signs of an offender who is grooming children. He has repeatedly ignored his supervisor’s directions about appropriate behavior and the Code of Conduct. It’s obvious that he sees himself as “above the rules”. He blames the girls who “want to play” and minimizes his own role by saying that it’s just “harmless fun.” His supervisor’s ultimatum and follow-through are appropriate. Mike’s outside relationship with the troubled girl from last year should also be explored.
“4” is not the best answer by itself since, if Mike is actively grooming the children, they may not exhibit those behaviors until they are actually abused. You are trying to prevent sexual abuse, not wait until it happens. Certainly, being aware of the children’s behavior is important, but it is Mike’s behavior, not the children’s, that should be your main concern.
Mr. Roberts is very popular with the students. He is sensitive and connects easily with students who are unsure of themselves, hold back from the rest of the crowd, or are marginalized. He often converses and jokes with the students in the halls between classes, and they respond in kind. It is common for him to greet students and staff with a hug and sometimes with a pat on the back. A male student has recently complained to the administration that Mr. Roberts’ hugs and physical contact make him uncomfortable. Mr. Roberts seems to be unable to hear directions about proper boundaries between faculty and students. He has been told by the principal to stop all physical contact with students and staff. He agrees to try, but says he can’t promise anything because that’s just the way he is and he isn’t doing anything wrong.
This scenario raises some interesting questions, red flags, and possible concerns. Is Mr. Roberts a gregarious and enthusiastic teacher who uses his “big” personality to form relationships with students, gain their trust and then try to help them “come out of their shell” or is there something more sinister going on that may warrant a call to the Department of Children and Families? Is this situation (or could this situation become) a violation of the law, the school’s “code of conduct” or other district policies? Is the principal overreacting or might the situation contain potential negative consequences for the teacher, the student who complained, and for the school community? What responses and actions might result in a more positive outcome and/or what proactive measures might be considered?
Most schools and youth-serving organizations have created codes of conduct that provide written guidance to employees and volunteers about maintaining appropriate, respectful and professional physical, emotional, and sexual boundaries with minors in their care. In doing so, adults are reminded of their own vulnerability as well as the vulnerability of children to harm by means of an adult’s inappropriate speech, gestures, attitudes and – in particular – physical contact that exploits, abuses or harasses. Clearly, their intent is not to prohibit all forms of appropriate physical contact with children – and appropriateness can look different in pre-school contexts as opposed to middle and high school contexts – but to enjoin teachers and others to use “common sense” with any physical contact or touching to eliminate possible misunderstandings.
Before touching another person, especially a minor, we must be aware of how the physical touch will be perceived or received, and whether it would be an appropriate expression of greeting, care, concern or celebration. Codes of conduct should also identify acceptable forms of touching a child (high fives, handshakes, fist bumps, pats on the back or shoulder, or side hugs) and the types of physical contact to be avoided (tickling, rough-housing, wrestling, piggyback rides, any type of massage, and any form of unwanted affection). If observed or reported, these types of behaviors raise the proverbial “red flags” and need to be investigated.
Getting back to Mr. Roberts, as an extension of his popularity and ease of conversation with students, he has used physical touch to convey his friendship towards them and to make them feel at ease with him. However, this kind of touching can be (and has been) construed as inappropriate by some students who may feel that their personal space has been invaded or even worse, that the touching is sexual in nature. If students are uncomfortable with being touched, they do not feel safe and this will impact their learning environment.
Mr. Roberts does not seem to be able to interpret the “signals” given off by students who are (and others who may be) uncomfortable with his physical means of expression. Although all teachers want to maintain positive rapport with students, teachers are not friends; they are professionals and should maintain professional interactions. The student’s complaint was not about an incident of sexual abuse – but misinterpretations of intent by even a single student can lead to a teacher having to defend his or her actions, vulnerability to claims of misconduct, and to serious consequences for both the educator and for the school.
The principal acted appropriately in handling the situation internally, bringing the student’s concerns to Mr. Roberts, and prohibiting similar behavior in the future with both students and staff. The conversation and direction should be documented in writing, with consequences clearly outlined – up to and including dismissal. At this point, there is no need to involve children’s protective services, but the principal needs to be vigilant and continue monitoring Mr. Roberts’ interactions – particularly in light of the fact that Mr. Roberts himself cannot commit to compliance with the direction. In this kind of case, the students’ perception of the nature of the touching must be taken seriously. However, it must also be balanced by the observations of others and the response of the teacher in question. Students must feel that they have been listened to and that efforts will be made to secure their environment. The principal should also talk with Mr. Roberts about alternative ways for him to demonstrate support and acceptance toward his students while respecting their personal space and avoiding physical contact. If the behavior is repeated, and/or if additional complaints are received, it would be a stronger indication that something more serious is going on, and that the authorities may need to be involved.
Positive Youth Development
What is the Positive Youth Development Approach and Why Does it Matter?
When we approach youth work from the perspective that youth are assets to be developed rather than vessels to fill or problems to be managed, youth develop the necessary skills and tools needed to become high functioning adults. In this module, learn more about the positive youth development approach, including supporting research, and the outcomes that can be achieved by integrating a positive youth development approach into youth programming.
Ensure Physical and Psychological Safety
Children and youth often make a decision to participate in a program based upon their sense of physical and psychological safety. Young people who do not feel safe are less likely to engage and learn from their participation. Learn more about fostering safety in your organization.
Build Supportive Relationships
Afterschool and youth development programs offer unique opportunities for youth to develop consistent, committed relationships with caring adults. Frequently, the quality of relationships with the staff are a significant predictor of youths’ participation in the program. Learn how to develop supportive relationships in your program for maximum impact.
Create Opportunities to Belong
Provides an overview of both the processes and factors that support the engagement of youth in programs. Emphasis is placed on the development of identity in adolescents and the role of youth workers in supporting the development of positive identity.
Foster Positive Social Norms
The influence of norms is often more powerful that peer pressure during adolescence. Youth programs have an important role in fostering positive social norms among youth. Learn more about the broad influences of family, institutions, peers and others and how your program can help shape the development and adoption of positive social norms among youth.
Provide Appropriate Structure
Maintaining a healthy balance of structure and autonomy is important in youth development programs. Learn more about how setting and maintaining expectations, offering developmentally appropriate activities and your role as a youth development professional all work to influence the right balance.
Promote Support for Efficacy and Mattering
Youth are the agents of their own development, with support from a myriad of adults. Learn more about what empowering youth means, why it matters, and how to promote youth empowerment to benefit both youth and the communities where they live.
Opportunities for Skill Building
Youth programs may provide an alternative venue, compared to traditional settings, in which youth may learn more effectively. Learn more about how your program can support youth by using a variety of teaching methods and learning styles to develop key skills.
Integration of Family, School and Community Efforts
Youth programs can act as a catalyst for bringing parents, teachers, community members and young people together to address issues relevant to the community as a whole. Learn more about how to integrate all of the positive youth development principles to “create a village”.
Source: Foundations for Youth Development
1 Extracts of suggested elements from DanceStudioOwner.com – used with permission.
2 50 example mission statements: (https://topnonprofits.com/examples/nonprofit-mission-statements/)
- Executive Summary
- How to Read This Report
- Mission & Purpose of Taskforce
- A Brief History of How the Taskforce Was Organized
- The Charge of the Legislative Language
- Key Sections
- Section 1: Developing Policies and Procedures for Child Protection
- Section 2: Screening and Background Checks for Selecting Employees and Volunteers
- Section 3: Code of Conduct and Monitoring
- Section 4: Ensuring Safe Physical Environments and Safe Technology
- Section 5: Recognizing, Responding to, and Reporting Allegations and Suspicions of Child Sexual Abuse
- Section 6: Training About Child Sexual Abuse Prevention
- Additional Considerations
- Applying the Framework: A Five-Year Plan
- Definitions, Acronyms, Glossary
- Legislative Mandate
- Taskforce Committees and Membership
- Guest Presenters
- Schedule of Meetings
- Section-Specific Appendices
- Downloadable Resources
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Customized child sexual abuse prevention guidelines to meet the unique needs of any organization that serves children.
- Evidence-informed guidance
- Actionable prevention steps
- Keeps track of your progress
- Tailored learning tracks