Youth Protection Training begins with YOU. Whether you are a parent or a volunteer, we are all responsible for keeping all youth safe.
- Recognize situations that place them at risk, how child molesters operate, and that anyone could be a molester.
- Respond to suspected, attempted or actual abuse, as well as policy violations. If a peer is affected, reassure them that they are not to blame and encourage them to seek help.
- Report suspected, attempted or actual abuse to a parent, trusted adult or law enforcement. This prevents further abuse and helps protect other children. Understand that you will not be blamed for what occurred.
What is the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) commitment to Youth Protection?
Nothing is more important to the BSA than the safety of our youth members. We believe that even one instance of child abuse is unacceptable.
The BSA is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for our youth members. Youth protection requires sustained vigilance, and we work every day to protect children through mandatory policies and procedures at every level of our organization. We are also committed to continuous improvement in our approach to youth protection.
Over the decades, the Boy Scouts of America has been a leader in developing training and policies designed to keep young people safe. These comprehensive policies were considered groundbreaking when they were developed and soon became the standard used by other organizations for safeguarding youth. But when it comes to the safety of children, our goal is to continually improve.
Sustained vigilance on youth protection is a central part of our culture.
In addition to updated training and resources, we are announcing new policies to ensure compliance with mandatory training requirements, including:
- As of January 1, 2018, no new leader can be registered without first completing youth protection training.
- As of January 1, 2018, no council, regional or national leader will be allowed
to renew their registration if they are not current on their youth protection training.
- As of September 1, 2017, no unit may re-charter without all leaders being
current on their youth protection training. Registrars no longer have the
ability to approve charters without full compliance.
What are the Boy Scouts of America’s Youth Protection policies?
The BSA strives to prevent child abuse through comprehensive policies and procedures, which include the following safeguards to serve as barriers to abuse:
- Ongoing youth protection education for all volunteers, parents, and Scouts.
- A formal selection and screening process for adult leaders and staff that includes criminal background checks.
- A Volunteer Screening Database system to prevent the registration of individuals who do not meet the BSA’s standards due to known or suspected abuse or misconduct inside or outside the organization.
Requiring two or more adult leaders be present with youth at all times
Youth protection begins with you. All units, adult leaders, and youth members have a responsibility to enforce youth protection program policies. Our education and training programs are specifically designed to teach Scouts, parents, and adult volunteers to recognize, respond, and report abuse—in and out of Scouting.
Youth Protection: The Next Evolution
The next generation of the BSA’s youth protection program begins today. Our updated youth protection training draws on research from experts in the field of child abuse and child maltreatment, as well as survivors, to identify the contributing factors and threats across the spectrum of child abuse including bullying, neglect, exposure to violence, physical and emotional abuse, as well as child sexual abuse.
Using a blend of interviews from psychologists, law enforcement professionals and survivors, leaders and parents alike will learn about the root causes of abuse, how to recognize types of abuse and how to respond. It’s a bold approach and it’s just one part of our ongoing effort to enroll the entire Scouting community in the fight against child abuse.
The training is available now on my.Scouting at https://my.scouting.org
Training is Just the Beginning
Training is a critical part of our strategy, but it’s only one part. Our ultimate goal is make sure the safety of our youth, adults and families is top of mind at all times. So, along with fully updated and revised youth protection training, the Boy Scouts of America is also implementing a comprehensive communications strategy that will provide ongoing information, training and resources across every aspect of Scouting. This includes even more content in ScoutingWire, regular youth protection webinars, a youth protection newsletter, and Safety Moments to bring safety into all of our meetings with youth and adults alike. This information will continue to ensure that youth protection is always top of mind and that our parents and leaders are prepared to be proactive and decisive in recognizing, responding and reporting all forms of child abuse.
Mandatory Report of Child Abuse
All persons involved in Scouting shall report to local authorities any good-faith suspicion or belief that any child is or has been physically or sexually abused, physically or emotionally neglected, exposed to any form of violence or threat, exposed to any form of sexual exploitation, including the possession, manufacture, or distribution of child pornography, online solicitation, enticement, or showing of obscene material. You may not abdicate this reporting responsibility to any other person.
Steps to Reporting Child Abuse
- Ensure the child is in a safe environment.
- In cases of child abuse or medical emergencies, call 911 immediately. In addition, if the suspected abuse is in the Scout’s home or family, you are required to contact the local child abuse hotline.
- Notify the Scout executive or his/her designee.
Mandatory Reporting Contacts by State
Toll-Free: (877) 652-2873
TDD: (800) 835-5510
TYY: (800) 835-5510
PennsylvaniaToll-Free: (800) 932-0313
TDD: (866) 872-1677
Reporting Violations of BSA Youth Protection Policies
If you think any of the BSA’s Youth Protection policies have been violated, including those described within Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse, you must notify your local council Scout executive or his/her designee so appropriate action can be taken for the safety of our Scouts.
ScoutsFirst for Help with Questions, Concerns and Reporting. The ScoutsFirst Helpline also makes it easier for volunteers and families to address dangerous situations. If a leader or parent has a question about a situation, or something they’ve seen or if they want to report a possible incident, they can contact the Helpline for assistance. In cases of abuse, they should also notify the local authorities. ScoutsFirst Helpline (844)-Scouts1 or (844)726-8871.
ScoutsFirst for Counseling and Support. The Boy Scouts of America is committed to providing ongoing support to victims and their families, including counseling. We want to help victims heal, on their own terms, with a professional counselor of their choice. Through the ScoutsFirst Helpline, the Boy Scouts of America offers assistance with counseling to any youth member, former youth member, or the family of any youth member who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting. To reach the ScoutsFirst Helpline, call (844)-Scouts1 or (844)726-8871, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Support is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
Safety Moments are exactly what the name implies: opportunities to share tips and guidelines on making all Scouting activities fun and safe. Make Safety Moments part of all meetings at all levels. You can find a full selection of safety moments at the Safety Moments web page. (http://www.scouting.org/home/healthandsafety/safety_moments.aspx
Semi-Annual Youth Protection Newsletter
Published in April and November, the Youth Protection Newsletter will highlight policies, resources and provide valuable information to help unit leaders create a safe environment for youth in Scouting. Ongoing content in ScoutingWire and other BSA channels. To keep the safety of our youth and families top of mind, the BSA will continue to publish content that highlights information on creating a Safe Environment in Scouting through our communications channels.