5 Actions for Safety Success
That Set Organizations Apart From The Rest
Leading organizations focused on children and youth can be all-encompassing and require superhuman amounts of strength, energy, and patience. However, Children’s Directors and their teams can still successfully prioritize safety and meet the expectations of families.
Listed below are five insights collected over time and gathered from current research, our experience with child safety, and the evolving expectations of families.
1. Set the Vision
Most organizations have a vision for where they are going, but few set goals for child safety. It’s important to know your strengths and challenges regarding the safety of the children’s program. Having a vision for child safety helps ensure you’re taking steps to create a safe environment and set policies and guidelines that work. It also helps to share your vision for safety. Having everyone on the same page helps with transitions to new processes and ensures people understand why you’re taking action.
2. Prioritize Connection
Connecting with families, staff, and leadership provides important feedback and direction. By opening a dialogue with other stakeholders, you will learn what’s working and not, areas for improvement, and foster an environment of open communication, transparency, and trust.
3. Build an Extended Team
It’s natural for leaders to think of their team as only direct reports or those they see daily. But the truth is securing your environment is a big job. If there’s an opportunity to leverage the expertise of others (internally or externally) to help you reach your child safety goals, you should do it.
Look for people with skills beyond what you have to offer. Examples include a security team, CPR trainer, HR professional, first responder, executive, or a business owner.
4. Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Families function in a new reality; one that dictates keeping their kids safe is a 24×7 job, and because of this shift they are always watching! It’s to your advantage to create a proactive and preventive culture that they can see and experience.
Keep in mind, your check-in process is the front door to your organization, and if it’s chaotic with no ability to improve safety, more than likely, they will choose not to return. Good check-in and check-out processes are extremely valuable and ensure your team is releasing the child to an approved guardian.
5. Communication as a Core Competency
Work to increase and improve the content and frequency of communication with staff, volunteers, the leadership team, and families, this will contribute to a proactive and preventive culture already mentioned.
Make it a weekly priority to provide updates, performance metrics, training information, policy and guideline reviews, etc. Whether you send an email, hold a 10-minute standing meeting, or present to leadership once a quarter, keep sharing what you are doing to improve child safety.
Acting on each of the five insights will make a big difference. Consider taking a new action every day that improves child safety. This will place the focus on continuous improvement and help achieve your long-range safety goals.
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