Your Code of Conduct should cultivate standards of behavior for staff and volunteers at your Youth-Serving Organization (YSO) which prioritize child safety. The Code of Conduct should be actively discussed as a part of hiring, training, supervision, professional development, and performance reviews. The Code of Conduct should be well-known by all staff and volunteers at hire and throughout their employment at the YSO.
Once the Code of Conduct is developed:
Share with all constituents and include your YSO’s commitment to maintaining a safe environment. Sharing your Code of Conduct with community members ensures the Code of Conduct is well-known and safety standards are upheld by all. Parents and caregivers of children in your care as well as related organizations should have access to your organization’s Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics.
Verify all current staff and volunteers understand, agree with, and sign the Code of Conduct. Staff and volunteers must be trained in and have opportunities to discuss the Code of Conduct. At hire, all staff should sign a Statement of Receipt and Agreement to ensure they understand the expected behaviors and standards at your organization.
Integrate review and acknowledgment of your Code of Conduct into your screening and hiring process for all new staff and volunteers. Highlight the importance of child safety at your organization to potential and new staff and volunteers. Provide candidates the opportunity to read-through and sign off on the Code of Conduct.
Embed the Code of Conduct into ongoing performance reviews. Continue to discuss and reference the Code of Conduct with staff and volunteers. Include their compliance in performance reviews, reinforcing the importance of upholding the Code of Conduct.
Ensure all staff understand their responsibilities and know how, when, and to whom to address or report concerns. Use discussions about the Code of Conduct to confirm your staff and volunteers’ knowledge of reporting requirements, including reporting all breaches of the Code of Conduct. Use staff meetings or other supervision periods to clarify any specific questions about reporting protocols, and to outline the steps that were taken upon receiving reports.
It is important to make the Code of Conduct an integral part of working or volunteering at the YSO to ensure child safety. Staff, volunteers and community members should be comfortable and familiar with Code of Conduct to ensure it is followed by all at your YSO.
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