PROTECTING CHILDREN AT THE Y
The YMCA of Greater Richmond is committed to keeping children safe in our community. We are proud and respectful of the trust parents place in our YMCA.
The YMCA is committed to providing a safe environment for every person who enters our doors, most importantly children who are entrusted to our care. As an organization, we take the following actions to keep kids safe in our Y facilities, camps and programs and to maintain the reputation of safety we have built during our 160+ year history.
- Conduct criminal history and sex offender registry checks on staff upon hire and frequently thereafter.
- Conduct staff reference checks.
- Conduct nightly screenings of YMCA members against the National Sex Offender Registry.
- Require staff and volunteers to complete training on preventing, recognizing and responding to abuse.
- Require staff and volunteers to agree to our child safety code of conduct which includes rules such as:
- Prohibiting staff and volunteers from being alone with a child; interactions must be observable and interruptible.
- Restricting staff and volunteer contact with children outside of YMCA programs (including babysitting, social networking, offering additional services, etc.).
- Detailing acceptable and unacceptable physical and verbal interactions.
- Requiring allegations or suspicions of abuse be reported to the proper authorities in accordance with state law.
- Leading personal safety discussions with children in youth development programs semi-annually. These discussions are intended to encourage children to help themselves, and to get help whenever they are being abused or when they find themselves in situations that make them feel uncomfortable.
Should any allegation arise, the YMCA will proactively work with the authorities and all parties involved to respond in a prompt, thorough and empathetic manner. The YMCA provides anonymous ways for staff, volunteers and the community to report rule breaking or concerns to senior leadership. The YMCA’s reporting options include:
- Report concerns to Y staff.
- Call the YMCA Safety Line 804.474.4345.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Use the Confidential Reporting form below.
- Use Ethics Point (staff and volunteers only). See below for more information.
And, many YMCA staff are mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect, as identified in the Code of Virginia (§ 63.2-1509). YMCA staff are expected to report when they suspect that a child is being abused or neglected. If a mandated reporter fails to report as soon as possible, but no longer than 24 hours after having reason to suspect a reportable offense, the mandated reporter can risk fine penalties or may be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
The Y maintains a zero-tolerance policy toward child abuse and child endangerment, and staff are to report any questionable behavior they see, or violations of the Child Code of Conduct.
To ensure we continuously uphold the highest standards in child safety and protection, we utilize a Know Your Score! assessment tool developed by Praesidium, a consulting firm that specializes in abuse prevention and risk management.
And, all Ys in the U.S. are required to implement child sexual abuse prevention practices and policies to remain a member in good standing with the National Council of YMCAs.
We take pride in our youth staff, camp directors and leadership staff. If you have serious concerns about any YMCA youth program, please contact us.
Please be as specific as possible when detailing the issue or concern. If you would like a member of the YMCA Risk Management department to contact you, please indicate this on the form.
Each employee is responsible for bringing to the YMCA’s attention any circumstances that the individual believes constitutes an act of Misconduct, including any apparent or suspected violations involving the YMCA’s financial reports, accounting, or internal control policies and procedures. Any retaliation against any employee or other reporting individual because that individual, in good faith, reported a violation is strictly forbidden.
To facilitate reporting of suspected violations, especially in those situations where the reporting individual wishes to remain anonymous, the YMCA has established a hotline for employees and volunteers which may be accessed here.