The development of children is the core of which the Y’s values were built. This is why the safety of all children in our care is our number one priority. Staff and volunteers at YMCA of Natrona County follow our Code of Conduct to ensure the safety of all children who come through our doors, whether they’re regular program participants or only visit once a year.
During Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Y wants to make sure that all members understand this Code of Conduct. A key tool in abuse prevention is knowledge, so it’s important that parents and caregivers are informed of the Y’s policies around children. Together we can work to ensure all children in Natrona County reach their full potential.
YMCA of Natrona County Child Abuse Prevention Code of Conduct
In order to protect organization staff, volunteers, and program participants – at no time during an organization program may a staff person be alone with a single child where they cannot be observed by others. As staff supervise children, they should space themselves in a way that other staff can see them. When this is not feasible, the staff person must immediately notify their supervisor.
Staff shall never leave a child unsupervised.
Restroom supervision: Staff will ensure:
• The restroom is not occupied by suspicious or unknown individuals before allowing children to use the facilities.
• Children are with an adult staff member and proceed in groups of three or more (e.g. 1 staff and 2 children or 2 staff and 1 child) when using the bathroom.
• Either ‘line of sight’ or ‘line of sound’ supervision is maintained while children are using the facilities.
• No child, regardless of age, enters a bathroom alone on a field trip.
• If staff are assisting younger children, doors to the facility must remain open.
Staff should conduct or supervise private activities in pairs – diapering, putting on bathing suits, taking showers, etc. When this is not feasible, staff should be positioned so that they are visible to others.
Staff shall not abuse children including:
• physical abuse – strike, spank, shake, slap;
• verbal abuse – humiliate, degrade, threaten;
• sexual abuse – inappropriate touch or verbal exchange;
• mental abuse – shaming, withholding love, cruelty;
• neglect – withholding food, water, basic care, etc.
Any type of abuse will not be tolerated and may be cause for immediate dismissal.
Staff must use positive techniques of guidance, including redirection, positive reinforcement and encouragement rather than competition, comparison and criticism. Staff will have age
appropriate expectations and set up guidelines and environments that minimize the need for discipline.
Staff should conduct a health check of each child, each day, as they enter the program, noting any fever, bumps, bruises, burns, etc. Questions or comments will be addressed to the parent or child in a non-threatening way. Any questionable marks or responses will be documented.
Staff respond to children with respect and consideration and treat all children equally regardless of sex, race, religion, culture.
Staff will refrain from intimate displays of affection towards others in the presence of children, parents, and staff.
Staff will respect children’s rights to not be touched in ways that make them feel uncomfortable, and their right to say no. Other than diapering, children are not to be touched in areas of their bodies that would be covered by a bathing suit.
While the organization does not discriminate against an individual’s lifestyle, it does require that in the performance of their job they will abide by the standards of conduct set forth by the organization.
Staff must appear clean, neat, and appropriately attired.
Using, possessing, or being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs during working hours is prohibited.
Smoking, vaping, or use of tobacco on YMCA property and/or in the presence of children or parents during working hours is prohibited.
Profanity, inappropriate jokes, sharing intimate details of one’s personal life, and any kind of harassment in the presence of children or parents is prohibited.
Staff must be free of physical or psychological conditions that might adversely affect children’s physical or mental health. If in doubt, an expert should be consulted.
Staff will portray a positive role model for youth by exemplifying core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility and maintaining an attitude of respect, loyalty, patience, courtesy, tact, and maturity.
Staff may not be alone with children they meet in organization programs outside of the organization. This includes babysitting,
sleepovers, and inviting children to your home. Any exceptions require a written explanation before the fact and are subject to administrator approval.
Electronic communication with children is not allowed. Staff will not engage in direct messaging, social media interactions, or other online or digital communication with youth participants.
Staff are not to transport children in their own vehicles.
Staff may not date program participants under the age of 18 years of age.
Under no circumstance should staff release children to anyone other than the authorized parent, guardian, or other adult authorized by the parent or guardian (written parent authorization on file with the organization).
Staff are required to read and sign all policies related to identifying, documenting, and reporting child abuse and attend trainings on the subject, as instructed by a supervisor.
In addition to our Code of Conduct, the Y also has a number of safety measures intended to keep kids safe. This includes criminal background checks on staff and volunteers; required staff training on recognizing and preventing abuse; and prohibiting staff/volunteers from being alone with a child where they cannot be observed by others; limiting staff contact with children outside of Y programs; and reporting any allegations or suspicions of abuse to law enforcement.]
If you have questions about the Y’s Code of Conduct or our child safety measures policy, please contact Stephanie Disburg, CEO, at email@example.com.