What are Policies and Procedures?
Policies and Procedures are an essential backbone of your prevention strategy, providing an overarching written structure that demonstrates your commitment to the safety and well-being of children and youth entrusted to your care.
At minimum, Policies and Procedures include:
- A mission statement that clearly establishes your organization’s commitment and the responsibility of all staff to maintain a safe environment for children.
- A Code of Conduct that details the expected and prohibited behaviors between staff and children and youth.
- Screening and Hiring policies that determine the best candidates to be placed in positions of responsibility with children and youth.
- Your Safe Environment policy covers physical and procedural protocols for your in-person and virtual environments.
- Monitoring Behavior and Reporting protocols that guide staff on how to recognize, respond, and report abuse.
- Your Training policy requires all staff to be trained, at hire and annually, in your organization’s child protection policies and protocols.
Policies and Procedures
How-To in 3 Steps
Learn more about implementing Policies and Procedures that keep kids safe. Download a free copy to keep and share with your team.
Assessing Your Current Policies
- Enforce the standards for behavior and interactions of staff and youth as dictated by your Code of Conduct.
- Build and maintain the type of environment described in your Safe Environment policies that ensures the safety of children at the site.
- Screen all staff and volunteers at hire and ensure ongoing training and supervision.
- Prompt your staff to continuously honor their duties and responsibilities as mandated reporters under Massachusetts abuse reporting laws.
- Define in detail the internal communication and reporting policies and procedures of your organization.
- All policies and procedures are provided by leadership and acknowledged by all staff.
- Enforce the Code of Conduct and address any breaches accordingly.
- Conduct all pre-employment and volunteer screening and hiring procedures and periodically repeat criminal background checks.
- Train staff at least annually on how to recognize, respond, and report concerning behaviors in adults and signs of abuse in children.
- Adhere to your monitoring behavior and reporting protocols and address any issues when they occur.
Continuous Communication and Improvement
- Communicate your policies and protocols to all stakeholders, including parents.
- Form community partnerships with local organizations to improve your child abuse prevention plans at your YSO.
- Ensure staff adhere to internal and external communication protocols when there is a suspected case of abuse.
- Conduct an annual review and update of your policies, including Code of Conduct, Screening and Hiring, Reporting, Safe Environments, and Training.
- Run a comprehensive assessment of your child abuse prevention plan every three years and include interviews with all stakeholders.