We are passionate about working with kids to develop their potential while helping them to learn, grow, and thrive.
With hundreds of children in our programs daily, our staff are trained to be alert. It is our responsibility to ensure the kids in our care are happy and free to learn and grow at every turn. And so, our YMCA has comprehensive child protection policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly and part of conversations at the Y. Beyond that, it is in the interest of others to know these policies. Together we can be vigilant and look for signs of abuse and neglect.
We as Y staff, members, community members and volunteers need to build on the work we’ve done and develop the three habits in child abuse prevention:
- We Know when we understand the common practices of those who harm you and the best practices to stop them.
- We See when we can recognize the warning signs of behaviors that signal abuse or risk for abuse.
- We Respond when we take action in response to behaviors we recognize as being inappropriate or questionable.
As we see and interact with these three habits and their corresponding images in various ways in our YMCA programs throughout the day, they remind us of our responsibility to safety and what we can do as individuals to protect youth from abuse.
Together, let’s commit to protecting the youth in our YMCA and our communities by practicing the three habits of child abuse protection each day.
Because when we know and understand how abuse happens, see the warning signs, and are prepared to respond quickly to prevent it, we create a culture of child abuse prevention that results in even safer environments for kids to reach their full potential.
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. Here are some important things you can teach that will help you help you child stay safe.
Teach your child rules about touching their body
- Preschoolers understand the idea of rules, such as rules about playing nicely with others and rules about being safe, like wearing seat belts. So, as you teach these rules, just add rules about touching their bodies.
- First, talk to your child about body parts, including private parts. This will give your child words to use when he/she needs to tell you anything about his/her body, like an injury or rash or other problems in that area.
- Then add rules about private parts, like “Never let other people touch your private parts unless mommy or Daddy knows about it.”
Children also need to know what to do when someone breaks the rules about touching.
- What to say to someone who breaks the rules about touching.
- To move away from someone who is breaking the rules about touching
- To tell you or another adult if someone breaks the rules about touching
- Phrases so he/she can tell others to stop and practice saying them with your child.
- Teach your child to say this anyone who invades their privacy (other children as well as to adults)
- To move away from anyone who is breaking the rules about touching
- Tell your child that it’s ok to get out of someone’s lap or pull away from a hug, even if an adult asks them no to
- To tell you or another adult, like a teacher or caregiver, if someone breaks the rules about touching them
8 warning signs of child abuse.
- Unkempt or malnourished appearance
- Unexplained bruises, welts, or burns
- Disturbed sleeping or eating patterns
- Abrupt changes in behavior, anxiety, clinging, aggressiveness, or withdrawal
- Sexually transmitted diseases & infections
- Discomfort with physical contact
- Fear of a certain person or place
- Fearfulness or depression
Watch for these things in adults that may signify potential abuse. Remember, offenders seek access, privacy & control.
Emotional Boundary Violations
Physical Boundary Violations
Behavioral Boundary Violations
|Offenders manipulate kids in to doing things they wouldn’t otherwise do, such as:|
- Stay Calm.
- Comfort your child.
- Listen carefully.
- Ask for examples.
- Do not threaten or criticize the person your child is accusing.
Child predators break rules to gain privacy, access, and a relationship with children. People who do not follow child safety rules put all children at risk.
What are “red Flag Behaviors?
- Violations of Code of Conduct
- Tickling, wrestling, or touching that seems odd
- Giving participants gifts
- Being one-to-one with a child where they are not visible and interruptible by others
- Violations of rules/boundaries in general with children
- Touching participants in their bathing suit area
- Contacting minors via phone, online or in person outside of the Y.
- Accessing/referencing child pornography
- Taking pictures of minors on his/her personal devices
- Making excuses as to why the rule violation is okay
- Any gut feeling regarding the way an adult is interacting with minors.
If you observe rule breaking, red flags or have any concerns:
- Interrupt the behavior and explain the rule
- Let a YMCA program director know about your concern by calling 509-374-1908
Reporting Suspected Abuse
Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) within local communities are responsible for receiving and investigating reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. Reports are received by Children’s Administration/Child Protective Services (CPS) located in each community office and assessed to determine whether the report meets the legal definition of abuse or neglect and how dangerous the situation is.
Children's Administration offers several ways to report abuse:
Daytime - Find your local office number to report abuse or neglect in your area. Tri-Cities DCFS Phone Number (509) 585-3000
Nights & Weekends - call 1-800-562-5624 to report abuse during the evening or on weekends.
Hotline - call 1-866-ENDHARM (1-866-363-4276), 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.
The Y is committed to keeping children safe in our community. This means educating ourselves and our community about child abuse and how we can work together to prevent it.
The YMCA encourages adults and organizations in the community to play a vital role in making our community a safer place for children, especially during this ever-changing environment.
Stay informed of what is happening at our YMCA and community as well as letting you know of upcoming events.
The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.