Youth Protection 2.0
February 28, 2018
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.
Over the past two years, the BSA has worked with experts in the field of child abuse, child sexual abuse and maltreatment to develop new training and resources that will further strengthen our ability to protect youth. These changes include:
- Fully updated and revised Youth Protection Training developed with leaders in the field of child abuse prevention and includes insights from experts, survivors and the latest strategies for recognizing and preventing major forms of abuse. This is the designated Youth Protection training for all adults.
- Expanded youth protection content across all our communications channels will inform and engage our volunteers and parents.
- An expanded National ScoutsFirst Helpline to aid volunteers and families in addressing potentially dangerous situations.
- The BSA also provides unlimited counseling and support for healing to anyone who has ever been abused in Scouting.
- Youth protection training for youth members will be available in 2019.
In addition to updated training and resources, we recently announced 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.
Updated Youth Protection Training Resource Kit
In Scouting, our first obligation is to provide a safe environment where we can foster character and leadership in the youth of our nation. It’s a duty we take seriously.
As an organization, we are committed to continuous improvement. This commitment includes our approach to youth protection. Over the decades, the BSA has taken bold, innovative steps in establishing barriers to prevent child abuse. These barriers include two-deep leadership for all youth activities, mandating youth protection training for leaders, involving our chartered partners in the selection of leaders, and requiring mandatory reporting of any suspicious conduct with a youth to governmental agencies, just to name a few. As our understanding of these threats has evolved, so has our approach to keeping youth safe. We continue to rely on leading experts and the latest research to help us better understand threats facing young people and to design barriers to abuse.
Youth Protection in the BSA: What we believe
- Nothing hurts more than having one of our youth participants abused.
- We are heartbroken and outraged that there have been times when Scouts were abused, and we sincerely apologize to victims and their families.
- We are committed to sustained vigilance and continuous efforts to improve and enhance our youth protection program.
- Along with our volunteers, partners and professionals, we will make Scouting a safe place for youth and families.
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
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.
To quickly and effectively implement the updated youth protection training, we are encouraging regions, areas and councils to follow this implementation schedule. Many of these tasks should be carried out by Youth Protection Champions:
- February 2018: Updated Youth Protection Training available.
- February 2018: Emails sent from councils informing units of the updated youth training and requirement for all registered volunteers to take the training before October 1, 2018.
- February 2018: All professional staff and Youth Protection Champions take the updated Youth Protection Training.
- February 2018: Youth Protection Overview Power Point presentation (attached) to be shared with council boards, training, program and outdoor committees.
- February – April 2018: Youth Protection Champions and training chairs use the Youth Protection Overview PowerPoint presentation to make youth protection presentations at roundtable meetings.
- YPT2 Adult Online Training Quick Facts Answers to questions about the new Youth Protection Training.
- YPT2 Power Point 1.31.18. For use at region, area, council and district meetings to educate volunteers and professionals about the BSA’s youth protection policies and guidelines.
- YPT2 FAQ from BSA 1.31.2018. Answers to questions often asked about the BSA’s safety policies.
- BSA Youth Protection Infographic 1-31-18. Provides an overview of the BSA’s youth protection policies, and the role everyone plays in our ongoing commitment to keep our youth members safe, including volunteers, parents, chartered organizations and youth. We encourage you to make the poster available at your Scouting office and at all Scouting events. It can be shared with anyone seeking to understand our policies in more details.
- Anti-Bully-Posters. Located on the Marketing Toolbox, these youth protection posters are designed to be used at camps, offices and shared with units. More located here: https://scoutingwire.org/marketing-toolbox/
- Safety Moments Content. 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)
- In-person youth protection training available June 2018.
- Spanish-language resources will be available later in August 2018.
- Youth protection training for youth members will be available in 2019.
Additional resources can be found online at:
- Youth Protection Web Site. http://www.scouting.org/youthprotection