The 5 Essential Elements of Every Abuse Prevention Plan

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1. Hiring and Recruiting

Every youth-serving organization must establish and sustain proper hiring and volunteer selection practices, including completed applications, reference checks, Criminal Background checks, Social Security checks and documented personnel files.

2. Training

You must share with each new employee—and regularly reinforce with existing staff—the rules and expectations of your organization. This should be done in new employee training, abuse prevention training, the use of a comprehensive Code of Conduct and an employee handbook.

3. Supervision

Through day-to-day interaction, unannounced visits, regular audits and performance reviews you and your leaders should know if your staff understands and is following all of the association protocols.

4. Feedback System

No matter how well you supervise your staff, you can’t see everything all of the time. It’s very important to instruct your staff to report anything they notice regarding a gap between protocols and practices. It’s also very important to get the parents and families of the children in your programs to know and understand the Code of Conduct so that they can “help you supervise”. Parents should be educated and then encouraged to ask their children about things like bathroom procedures, what happens on the bus and, ultimately, if anything is making them uncomfortable. Feedback is a vital part of staff supervision.

5. Crisis Management

When the unimaginable occurs, you need to know what to do. You won’t be able to think of all the right steps at that time of great stress. Document the plans in advance and rehearse them.

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