Child Abuse Prevention Policy
CHILD PROTECTION GUIDE FOR PARENTS
We know that you place trust in the y to help your child develop and thrive. We place great value on creating the most child-safe environment possible. We believe when you are well informed about safety protocols, it greatly assists our responsibility of remaining vigilant and aware of all individuals who potentially interact with children. You are strongly encouraged to immediately report any deviation from these procedures.
The Ocean Community YMCA has over 300 staff and volunteers working with youth in the many programs that we offer. To keep children safe, we follow a comprehensive screening process for potential employees and volunteers that includes a detailed application and interview process, reference checks, criminal background checks, and training.
Our employees and volunteer complete and extensive child abuse prevention training program. Supervisors and managers complete additional training to further promote a child-safe environment. Additionally, all staff and volunteers are mandated to report any suspected child abuse.
YMCA CHILD SAFETY PROCEDURES
Below you will find our zero tolerance YMCA procedures that are regularly communicated with parents. You are strongly encouraged to immediately report any deviation from these procedures.
- Children should not be contacted individually by a YMCA staff member (i.e. no letters, emails, telephone calls, texts, social media channels, visits, non -YMCA excursions, etc.) unless such communication includes the child’s parent.
- A child should never be alone with a staff member, but may be separate, if in full view of others.
- Children should never receive gifts of any kind from individual Y staff members.
- Children should never be transported in a staff member’s personal vehicle, and never alone.
- Y staff members should not babysit Y members of program participants. If the babysitting relationship pre-existed the Y relationship, the parents may request an exception from the Ocean Community YMCA to continue the babysitting relationship. If the exception is approved, a specific acknowledgement must be signed by the parents and the babysitting staff member and retained by the Y.
- Children in childcare, camp, or other youth programs must sign in and out each day and will only be released to pre-authorized individuals.
- Parents who become aware of hazing, bullying, or similar behavior should report the incident to the Y. Such behavior is often a precursor of peer-to-peer abuse and must be addressed.
- Parents should be provided with the names of alt least two separate Y individuals whom they may contact if they believe there is an issue of any kind that needs to be addressed.
- Children should be encouraged to discuss their experiences wit their parents and identify any behavior or activity that made them uncomfortable. Parents need to eb aware that programs like gymnastics or aquatics require some physical contact between adult and child to provide the necessary instruction, coaching, and spotting. Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies are in place for competitive sports.
- Rhode Island and Connecticut laws require adults involved in the care of children to report cases of suspected abuse to the authorities. The Ocean Community YMCA considers all employees mandated reporters.
HOW CAN YOU HELP PREVENT CHILD ABUSE?
- Talk to your child about his or her experiences in Y programs, school, sports, and other activities.
- Drop in on your child’s programs.
- Trust your instincts. Don’t wait to tell us if something seems strange, SPEAK UP!
- Every once in a while, ask your child these questions:
- Is anyone scaring or threatening you?
- Is anyone asking you to keep secrets?
- Has anyone said anything to your that made you feel bad?
- Is anyone touching you in a way that you don’t like?
- Encourage your child to tell you or another trusted adult if anything happens to him or her.
- Watch for warning signs of abuse:
- Unexplainable bruising or other physical markings
- Disturbed sleeping or eating patterns
- Abrupt changes in heavier such as anxiety, clinging, aggressiveness, withdrawal, or depression
- Fear of a certain person or place
- Discomfort with physical contact
- A child who abuses other children.
- Listen and watch for signs of your child receiving special attention that other children or teens are not receiving, including favors, treats, gifts, rides, increasing affection or time alone, particularly outside the activities of school, childcare, or other activities.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding a YMCA staff person or program please contact us.
Karen Allen, Branch Director Arcadia Branch, firstname.lastname@example.org, 401-539-2306
Bartt Pinchuck, Executive Director Westerly-Pawcatuck Branch, email@example.com, 401-596-2894
Meghan Baxter, Director of Operations Naik Family Branch, firstname.lastname@example.org, 860-536-3575
If you suspect abuse, please contact us immediately at 401-596-2894.
If you are not comfortable sharing this information directly with us, please make a report to the appropriate agencies: Connecticut DCF Careline: 1-800-842-2288 or Rhode Island DCYF: 1-800-742-4453. If you feel your child is in immediate danger or has been physically injured, please contact local law enforcement and seek medical attention.
You can also send a confidential report to:
Maureen N. Fitzgerald, President/CEO
95 High Street
Westerly, RI 02891