Safe Environments should be created by having clear sight lines, proper staff-to-child ratios, and safety standards for all personnel and environments. Creating Safe Environments may require additional considerations, beyond the ones previously mentioned. This analysis should focus on child safety and access to safe environments and personnel.
To create a safe environment:
Install cameras and mirrors to adequately monitor the physical space or designate a single-entry point to minimize unauthorized entry or exit. Monitor and observe spaces without clear sight lines. Reduce access points for staff, visitors, and children in order to clarify expectations and make monitoring easier.
Implement additional signage to guide children away from off-limits areas and conduct periodic security checks at locations with public access. Designate and clearly mark spaces children should not access. Continue to monitor these spaces to ensure children and adults are following signage.
Monitor all social media and electronic communication between staff and children. YSO-specific social media policies should be implemented to govern these types of interactions with elements and strategies focused on visibility to parents, transparency, and accountability. Continue to supervise and monitor this type of communication to ensure that it is conducted in accordance with the Code of Conduct and other safety policies.
Ensure staff and volunteers participating in off-site activities adhere to policies on transportation and overnight activities. Train and confirm staff, parents and volunteers understand and follow policies for off-site activities. Supervise behaviors of staff and volunteers during off-site activities.
Verify outside all vendors are identified, follow entry procedures, and are monitored at all times. Visitors should be required to verify their identity and made aware of procedures regarding child safety, including areas of the organization which are off-limits. Under no circumstances should a visitor be left with children without supervision.
Review your safe environment protocols and update them regularly to remain effective. Continue to look over your YSO’s policies regarding safe environments. Update protocols and procedures as needed.
Utilize monitoring techniques such as cameras and supervision to ensure children are being kept safe at all times at your YSO. Continue to check and examine all aspects of environments inside and outside your YSO to ensure safe environments are being implemented and maintained.
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