The Annual Security Review
For organizations serving children and youth, there are many benefits for completing an Annual Security Review. By conducting a safety audit at the end of each year, an organization can determine if the current safety policies are adequate or not, confirm training initiatives are working, identify gaps in essential resources and relationships, and determine if additional technology or processes should be introduced.
Before you begin, make sure the overall objectives of the review are well defined. Work with the security team, leadership, and staff in other areas to finalize the priorities. In addition, if possible, bring in a fresh set of eyes by leveraging your local resources such as police, fire, and emergency management officials to assess each area and offer suggestions.
Whether you look at a single element in your safety review or choose to tackle multiple ones, consider giving special attention to the categories that pertain to helping families return. Today, families have higher expectations for broader safety requirements, underscoring reviewing your safety policy is a good use of time.
Here are the top areas for assessment.
Health and Wellness Procedures – As organizations address COVID-19, work to prevent the spread, and build trust with staff, volunteers, and families, the need for policies that allow for social distancing and better germ management has increased.
A review of these policies should focus on improved sanitation, germ management, physical distancing, class ratios, and touchless processes.
Children’s Check-In and Out Processes – The check-in and out procedures have many safety benefits and range from the use of pen and paper to an electronic touchless system or a dedicated check-in.
The Express Check-In feature is the quickest, most efficient way for families to check-in children using a touchless process.
KidCheck customer Dee Cobia at Vintage Church Los Angeles explains, “Children’s check-in is the front door to your organization and has a huge impact on a new family’s decision to return. Directors need to know that people don’t typically return if they’ve had a bad check-in experience. It’s a deal-breaker.”
Child & Youth Protection Policies – This is a set of working guidelines that establish how an organization intends to protect and care for children. It ensures that anyone interacting directly with children has been comprehensively screened. It also offers a layer of protection for staff, volunteers, and adults in the scenario of false accusations.
Click here for additional information on how to establish either a child or a youth protection policy.
Security Team Partnership – Your security team is an expert on overall safety and protection. They are the ones that will stand in the gap or respond during an incident. It’s in your best interest, and the families you serve, to be familiar with the team, their communication processes, established guidelines, and who is assigned to the children’s and youth area.
Training & Education Initiatives – Include processes for screening, onboarding of new staff or volunteers, ongoing policy updates, safety guidelines, and tactical skills such as CPR, first aid, etc.
Technology – The key to utilizing technology in your organization is to solve issues, increase efficiency, and free up time to connect with families. The right technology, properly implemented, improves safety and security, and increases convenience for busy families.
Stand by the Results
Whatever your annual Security Review reveals, don’t ignore any of the not-so-glowing results. It’s essential to use the information, both positive and negative, to improve child and youth safety.
It’s been an unusual year, there will no doubt be some uncertainty as families begin to return. The question they are looking to answer is: are my kids as safe as they can be in your organization? By conducting an Annual Security Review, you will help ensure safety is a top priority and provide them peace of mind.
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