Five takeaways from child abuse prevention month

To recognize Child Abuse Prevention month, we’ve discussed the BSA’s tool that helps parents have important conversations with their children. We’ve gone over the ways child abuse prevention is woven into the BSA’s advancement program. And we’ve reinforced the concept of engaged supervision.

Since youth protection is a year-round value, here are five more things to keep in mind when it comes to keeping kids safe, both in and out of Scouting, all year long.

Keep up with your Youth Protection training and execute it at all Scouting events

Youth Protection training is required for all BSA registered volunteers. It is valid for two years, after which you must take the training again to remain eligible to serve as an adult in Scouting.

Why does the BSA ask its adult members to retake YPT every two years? Because it’s important that this topic remain top of mind for every adult registered with the BSA. (Some councils have even gone to an annual training requirement.)

You don’t have to be a registered member of the BSA — or even have a child in the BSA — to take Youth Protection training. YPT is great for Sunday School teachers, sports coaches, music teachers, academic tutors … basically any situation in which you’re going to be around children who aren’t your own.

Create a free account here and get trained in a little more than an hour.

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Take it to the next level with the BSA’s non-required training modules

The continuing education YPT learning plan is not required for registered BSA adults but is still incredibly useful. It takes about 45 minutes and goes into more detail than standard YPT.

There’s an 11-minute course on recognizing neglect, one of the most common forms of child abuse. There’s a 9-minute module on emotional abuse, which happens when someone is subjected to behavior and language that leads to emotional trauma.

The 12-minute Exposure to Violence course discusses various ways youth are exposed to violence, based on data from the Department of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical injuries ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures are covered in a 13-minute module on physical abuse.

The continuing education modules can be found right alongside the standard YPT training.

Going to summer camp? Take the BSA’s Understanding and Preventing Youth-on-Youth Abuse training while you’re there

Among cases known to law enforcement, about 36% of sex crimes against children are committed by other juveniles, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The BSA’s Understanding and Preventing Youth-on-Youth Abuse training covers how to prevent, recognize and respond to inappropriate youth-on-youth problematic behavior or abuse. (It starts with engaged supervision.)

The training is designed to help Scout leaders foster a safe environment by building on the youth-driven culture of keeping peers safe from harm. The training discusses prohibited behaviors, including bullying, sexual experimentation, and physical and sexual abuse.

Contact your camp director to find out if the course is being offered at your camp this summer.

BSA file photo

Safety Moments are key to safer Scouting — use them!

The BSA’s health-and-safety team has produced more than 90 short bulletins — called Safety Moments — on many of the topics common in Scouting. They include information on preparing for an activity, reviewing safety measures for that activity and reporting any incidents.

Why not include a Safety Moment in each unit meeting? And each committee meeting?

Planning a campout? There’s a Safety Moment for that. A climbing event? The national Safe Scouting committee has got you covered.

There are also Safety Moments on issues such as working with Scouts who have ADHD, show signs of depression, have food allergies or are dealing with home sickness.

There’s also one that goes over the BSA’s Barriers to Abuse, a good topic for any meeting.

Know the most important question when planning any Scouting event

When planning a Scouting event, always ask yourself one question: On what page of what official, current BSA publication is the activity covered? If you can’t find it, you are putting kids at risk.

Remember, there are activities Scouts shouldn’t do. And there are many other activities that can only be done under the kind of trained, expert adult supervision that most units must look outside their own unit to find.

All approved activities in the Scouting program can be found in the official BSA publications, handbooks and guides. The prohibited activities section of the Guide to Safe Scouting is a valuable tool and should be reviewed prior to planning any event. If you’re thinking about conducting an activity that isn’t listed in the GTSS or any official BSA publication, it’s time to think again.

About Aaron Derr 436 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines, and also a former Cubmaster and Scouts BSA volunteer.