It’s easier to identify behaviors that may be intended to harm children and youth when all staff and volunteers see the Code of Conduct as protective of all members of the organization, and comply with the guidance it contains. In this way, the Code of Conduct functions as an “early warning system” that can uncover and stop what are known as grooming behaviors—and prevent abuse before it occurs.
Protect Your Children, Proactively
Building a “culture” that supports and encourages open communication about behaviors involving children and youth is one of the most effective ways for you to ensure that staff will not be afraid to come forward if needed. Your Code of Conduct should stress that there will be no adverse consequences for staff who come forward to report.
In addition, training and educating your staff and volunteers about your Code of Conduct reinforces its purpose: to protect them as well as your children/youth, and provide the information and skills your staff and volunteers need to distinguish between inappropriate behaviors that could be corrected internally, and those that should be reported to MA Department of Children and Families or law enforcement.
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