Protecting Your Child Against Sexual Abuse During the Summer 

Overnight camp, day camp, sports camp, music camp, math camp, and many other camp and summer activities are right around the corner and offer wonderful experiences for children that can last a lifetime. Whether the camp or activity you’re considering is public or private, school or university affiliated, part of a city-sponsored offering of summer activities, or faith based, now is a good time to ask program sponsors and administrators a few questions that will help to ensure your children will be protected from child sexual abuse while under their care.  

Parents have every right to raise questions about a variety of safety related issues and responsibilities. Use the sample checklist below to help you determine if a camp or summer program is ready and able to accept the responsibility of caring for your children: 

  • Is the program accredited, licensed, or certified by a government or private agency? 
  • Does the camp conduct background checks on all staff and volunteers for criminal (CORI) and sexual offense history? 
  • Are there published rules about staff being alone with children? 
  • What is the ratio of counselors to campers?  
  • Are there guidelines outlining acceptable conduct between staff and children, and between the children themselves? 
  • Are all staff and volunteers trained in child sexual abuse prevention, recognition, and reporting responsibilities? 
  • Are children always supervised? 
  • Who does my child go to if he or she is uncomfortable with staff or another child? 
  • Are written policies and procedures about preventing child sexual abuse in place? 
  • Will my child be able to communicate with me if necessary? 
  • Do children and staff have access to technology and are there rules about technology use while at the camp?  
  • Are there regulations spelled out about private times (e.g. toileting, dressing, bathing)? 
  • What are the sleeping arrangements? 
  • How are staff supervised? 

Please find guidance on how to talk to your children about sexual abuse prevention here. Visit the American Camp Association (ACA) to learn more about choosing the right camp for your child and accredited programs. The ACA also provides a searchable database of 350 accredited U.S. camps and summer programs you can find here

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