Holiday Safety Measures at your YSO 

The holidays are fast approaching, and Youth Serving Organizations (YSOs) across Massachusetts are getting ready for school vacations, shorter program days, and additional opportunities for professional development.  Now is a great time to brush up on and delve into the 8 Elements of Prevention, including Safe Environments, Training, and Reporting. 

Here are a few areas to consider this holiday season: 

Safe Environments 

Creating a safe environment where all children are visible, accounted for, and safe is critical all year round. Use this time to ensure clear sight lines, all site areas are observable, and unused areas of the building are secure. Now is a great time for addressing the maintenance of the physical building, such as fixing a broken light bulb in the hallway or reviewing your entry procedures. 


All staff and volunteers must be adequately trained on child sexual abuse prevention annually. Provide training on identifying the signs and symptoms of abuse and grooming behaviors in adults. Assess what other topics staff need to renew their training or need extra guidance on.  


All staff and volunteers should understand and acknowledge their legal duties under Massachusetts law to report suspicions of child abuse and neglect. Promote a culture of trust among staff and leadership by communicating openly and often about child protection. Ensure that staff feels comfortable discussing their concerns without fear, and immediately report suspicions or disclosures of abuse.   

The holiday time of year is a good opportunity for YSOs to focus on Safe Environments, Training, and Reporting, as well as all 8 Elements of Prevention. Using this time to focus on professional development will only strengthen your YSO’s commitment to keeping kids safe and ensuring that all children are protected at your organization.   

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