YMCA of the Greater Tri-Cities

Child Abuse Prevention

Child Protection at the Y

The safety and well-being of children in our care is, and always will be, our top priority.

Our Commitment

As a youth-serving organization, The YMCA of The Greater Tri-Cities is committed to keeping children safe in our community. That any child or teen would experience harm in our care is unacceptable. Ensuring the safety and well-being of young people is foundational to everything we do at the Y to help them learn, grow and thrive.

kids looking at a butterfly

Creating a Child-Safe Environment

The YMCA of The Greater Tri-Cities works in partnership with parents and guardians of children in Y programs to protect children from abuse. To keep children in our programs safe, we have a series of measures in place to keep kids safe. Our child protection policies are developed using the Praesidium Safety Equation framework. To keep children in our programs safe, we take the following steps in our intensive screening of employees and volunteers:

  • Conduct annual criminal history and sex offender registry checks are conducted on staff and volunteers.

  • Conduct staff reference checks which include questions on the applicant's suitability to work with children.

  • Require staff and volunteers to complete training on preventing, recognizing and responding to abuse. Staff go through refresher training annually.

  • Require staff and volunteers to agree to our child safety code of conduct which includes rules such as:

  • Prohibits staff and volunteers from being alone with a child; interactions must be observable and interruptible.

  • Restricts staff contact with children outside of YMCA programs (including babysitting, social networking, etc.).

  • Provides acceptable and unacceptable physical and verbal interactions.

  • Require allegations or suspicions of abuse be reported to the proper authorities in accordance with Washington State law.

  • We continually evaluate and improve our child safe practices by conducting an in-depth child abuse prevention self-assessment using Know Your Score every two years.

  • We share our policies with parents and the community to create a network that is equipped to know, see, and respond!

Know, See, Respond

Know. See. Respond.

Ensuring children are safe from abuse and able to learn, grow and thrive is the highest priority of the YMCA. We are committed to creating programs that protect children from abuse, but we are also committed to providing our families and community with information to keep kids safe everywhere. It is the power of our community knowing, seeing and responding which will make it more difficult for offenders to abuse.


Know how to recognize boundary violations and how offenders operate. It’s up to us as adults to do all we can to prevent child sexual abuse and create safe environments for children. Teaching children about their bodies, recognizing warning signs, and responding to any concerns are important first steps. Even very young children can learn some skills to help keep themselves safe from sexual abuse, but it’s up to parents to help them learn what they need to know. 


Keep eyes and ears open for signs of abuse and talk with your child, asking them about your concerns. If something is wrong, you may see a sudden change in your child’s behavior, or you may hear unusual comments.

If you see or hear these things, follow up. Find a relaxed time to talk with them.


Respond immediately. If your child tells you about sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior, your response plays a big role in how your child understands abuse and how he/she recovers.

  • Stay calm.
  • Comfort your child.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Ask for examples.
  • Do not threaten or criticize the person your child is accusing.

We Know That Today:

  • 1 in 4 Girls & 1 in 6 Boys

    in the U.S. experience sexual abuse by the age of 18.

  • 90% of Children

    who are abused know the abuser.

  • 42 Million +

    survivors of child sexual abuse live in the United States, yet many child victims may never disclose their abuse.

  • 1 in 5 Children

    is solicited sexually on the internet before the age of 18.

Yet, when adults collectively understand the risks and red flags of child sexual abuse, we can do more to keep kids safe. When we all take action, abuse is preventable.

Local Resources

Support Advocacy & Resource Center (SARC)

Assistance for victims and/or families and friends of sexual assault and/or abuse.

Phone: (509) 374-5391 (available 24 hours)
Website: supportadvocacyresourcecenter.org

Safe Harbor Support Center for Children, Youth & Families

Report Abuse and Neglect. Investigates reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults, and children.

Phone: 1 (866) 363-4276
Website: safeharborsupportcenter.org

Know, See, Respond

Reporting Suspected Abuse

Call Washington State's toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week hotline that will connect you directly to the appropriate local office to report suspected child abuse or neglect.

If you need emergency care, call 911.