Top Five Youth Worker Safety Tips
Organizations go to great lengths to protect the children they serve. We see this in the development of a Child Protection Policy, establishing a thorough screening process, prioritizing training and education, or implementing a secure check-in and check-out process. Nevertheless, there’s a steady increase in juvenile offenses with candidates that have been vetted.
The biggest challenge is that juvenile offenders are difficult to spot and even harder to monitor. This is due to the lack of criminal records, background checks, and that they rarely exhibit abnormal behaviors identified as red flags.
So, what can be done to reduce juvenile offenses if candidates have completed the screening process, been given the green light to volunteer, and are interacting with children?
Here are five essential tips to increase youth safety.
- Establish a code of conduct for youth workers – Outline behaviors that are strictly prohibited, ensuring everyone is on the same page. It’s best to be overly descriptive. Examples include:
- Physical force or violence
- Sexual communication or contact – Includes dating, private contact or attempting to be alone with a child, sharing of topics sexual in nature, showing lewd material or inappropriate touching.
- Neglect – refers to punishment by isolation or withholding necessities such as food, water, medical assistance, communication with parents or guardians.
- Bullying – is defined as intentionally aggressive and harmful behavior that involves an imbalance of power, typically repeated over time.
- Implement the two-adult rule (it’s not just for the little ones) – this increases supervision by ensuring there are always two fully screened unrelated adults with youth volunteers.
- Ensure proper adult volunteer to youth volunteer ratios – Fact, isolation increases molestation. It’s best to reduce instances of one-on-one contact. The baseline is two adults to one youth worker.
- Never let minors oversee minors – This is a recipe for disaster! There should always be two or more fully screened, non-related adults supervising activities where youth workers are present.
- Institute a solid check-in and check-out process – Yes, check-in and out of youth workers is important because you should always keep accurate attendance records of whose coming and going when working with kids. It helps to protect all involved.
Prevention is key to reducing misconduct in your organization if you suspect abuse, act! Don’t ignore it. Someone’s future could be at stake.
As a thank, you for your interest in improving child safety click the PDF below to receive a complimentary Youth Worker Application pdf. It highlights all the important information in one place and shares a checklist at the end to ensure each candidate has completed a comprehensive evaluation.