Ensuring a safe environment for children includes targeting the five major areas of safety: visibility, access, supervision and communication, transportation, and safe technology use.
At minimum, your Safe Environment must include:
Adapting the physical space to create clear sightlines, where all areas are observable, unused areas are secured, and safety rules are posted publicly. Design or modify spaces to ensure children can be seen at all times. Unused spaces should be locked, secured, and monitored. Signage should direct children and others away from those areas.
Procedures are in place to control and monitor access, and all individuals entering the site are identified and verified. Visitor policies should be implemented to ensure the safety of children both on and off site. Access to the site should be restricted to those affiliated with the YSO and whose identify has been verified. Additional policies will need to be in place to protect children during off-site or overnight activities.
A clear understanding by all staff and volunteers about who is responsible for each child at all times. The YSO should follow appropriate staff-to-child ratios to ensure all children are monitored properly. All entry and release procedures must be followed, and children should be signed in and out by a authorized adult.
Continuous enforcement of Your Code of Conduct. Refer to your Code of Conduct often to ensure child safety. Ensure all one-on-one interactions at your YSO are observable and can be monitored or interrupted.
Procedures to ensure safe use of bathroom, changing, and showering facilities (if applicable) are adopted and followed. Maintain clear guidelines and expectations for staff or volunteers that have access to bathrooms, showers, and changing facilities. Clearly define and discuss procedures for children needing assistance in any of these facilities.
Your YSO should develop and maintain safe physical spaces with a clear line of sight for children. Certify that staff, volunteers, and others granted access to the site understand their responsibilities related to child safety. Policies should be put in place to guide staff and volunteer interactions with children on and off-site.
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