The YMCA of Central Florida’s Commitment to Child Abuse Protection

The YMCA of Central Florida’s Commitment to Child Abuse Protection

The YMCA of Central Florida’s commitment to providing a safe environment for every individual who engages with us —especially children— is essential to our mission and cause, our reputation, and our viability as an organization. The reality of the society in which we operate highlights the need for enhanced safety and security measures.

The Y engages 22 million people each year, 9 million of whom are youth. One in 10 children in the U.S. will be sexually abused by the time he or she turns 18. In 90% of these cases, the perpetrator is known to the victim—a family member, friend, teacher, coach or another child.

To meet the promise of our mission and cause, and to continue the Y’s leadership on these important social issues, we must do everything in our power to ensure the safety of everyone who enters our facilities and/or participates in our programs. In further support of our effort, the Y requires all team members to sign our Child Abuse Prevention Code of Conduct in commitment to keeping kids safe.

Our Screening and Training Procedures

With our commitment to providing a healthy atmosphere for the growth and development of children in mind, the Y has developed standards, guidelines and training to aid in the detection and prevention of child abuse:

  • All Y staff members are thoroughly background screened through criminal history checks and drug testing as well as reference checking and interviewing prior to hiring.
  • All Y staff members who have contact with children must complete a level 2 background screening through the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Education as well as training on recognizing, reporting and prevention child abuse.
  • All Y staff members are recognized as mandated reporters of suspected child abuse under State of Florida Statutes and are therefore required to report any suspicion of abuse against those who participate in programs at the Y. This has been a standard practice at the YMCA of Central Florida for decades.
  • The YMCA of Central Florida has adopted a similar background screening policy for all volunteers, mandating background/criminal record checks in addition to required child abuse prevention training.
  • We also screen all members, guests and program participants against a national sex offender registry to allow us to continue to provide a safe, welcoming environment for every person at the YMCA of Central Florida.

Five Days of Action

The YMCA of Central Florida marks Child Abuse Prevention Month with Five Days of Action each spring. Leading up to Healthy Kids Day® – a nationwide YMCA initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids – Five Days of Action is a national week-long campaign designed to raise awareness and inspire adults to take action to protect children from sexual abuse.

The YMCA of Central Florida encourages adults and organizations in the community to play a vital role in keeping Central Florida a safe place for children. This year’s Five Days of Action theme was “Know. See. Respond.” When adults know how abuse happens, see the warning signs and respond quickly to prevent abuse, they foster a culture of child abuse prevention.

Together, we can bring awareness to the issue of child sexual abuse in our communities and have important conversations around how we can all work together to prevent it from happening.

Additional Resources & Information:

Child Sexual Abuse Statistics – Provided By Darkness To Light

  • One in ten children will be sexually abused before their 18th
  • 90% of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser.
  • Approximately 30% of children who are sexually abused are abused by family members.
  • 60% of child sexual abuse victims never tell anyone.
  • False reports are rare. Research shows that only 4 to 8% of child sexual abuse reports are fabricated.

What To Do If You Believe A Child Is Being Abused – Provided By Darkness To Light

  • You do not need to have proof that abuse is occurring to make a report, only reasonable suspicion. Reasonable suspicion means that you have witnessed maltreatment or boundary violations, either in the child or adult, or both. Or, you have received a disclosure from a child about abuse, neglect, or boundary violations towards them.
  • Child sexual abuse reports should be made to the police and/or state child protective services.
  • Contact the Darkness to Light Helpline at 866-FOR-LIGHT or text LIGHT to 741741 to have questions answered by trained counselors at no charge.

Five Days of Action is led by the YMCA Guardians for Child Protection, with support from YMCA of the USA, Darkness to Light, the Redwoods Group Foundation and Praesidium.

For more information about preventing child sexual abuse visit www.fivedaysofaction.org.

Other Resources:

5 Days of Action Resource Booklet

Child-abuse-prevention-handout

Tips for Talking to Kids About Body Safety

Tips for Protecting Youth 1.17

Information for Parents of Young Children 1.17

Checklist for Safer Sleepovers

Materials are derived from YMCA of the USA’s “Know. See. Respond.” copyrighted in 2019.