Creating a Child Safe Environment

A Safe Place to be a Child

The YMCA of Northwest North Carolina has more than 4,500 staff members and volunteers working with youth in the many programs we offer. To keep children in our programs safe, we take the following steps in our intensive screening of employees and volunteers:

  • Detailed application forms
  • Comprehensive interview process
  • Reference checks
  • Criminal record checks

Employees complete an extensive child abuse prevention training program.

Supervisors complete additional training to further promote a child safe environment.

Staff are mandated to report any suspected child abuse.

Staff are prohibited from working one-on-one with or contacting youth outside of the Y (for instance, babysitting and social networking)

Policies exist to ensure staff and volunteers are not alone with a child, with the exception of counseling and mentoring programs.

Child abusers can be parents, caretakers, friends, neighbors, or even other youth. It takes everyone’s help to stop the cycle of abuse.

Information about Abuse

We want all children to be safe; unfortunately child abuse does exist, taking many forms:

Emotional: Threatening a child or using words that can hurt a child’s feelings and self-esteem; withholding love and support from a child.

Physical: Causing injuries to a child on purpose, such as bruises, burns, scars, broken bones.

Sexual: Having sexual contact in any form with a child, including exposing, fondling, intercourse, pornography, or internet solicitation.

Neglect: Not providing children with enough food, clothing, shelter, medical care, hygiene, supervision, etc.

The Nine Warning Signs of Child Abuse

  • Unexplained bruises, welts, burns
  • Unkempt or malnourished appearance
  • Disturbed sleeping or eating patterns
  • Sexually transmitted diseases and infections
  • Abrupt changes in behavior, anxiety, clinging, aggressiveness or withdrawal
  • Fear of a certain person or place
  • Discomfort with physical contact
  • Fearfulness or depression
  • Abuse of other children

What Can you Do About Child Abuse?

Educate your child about self-protection, including about strangers and good and bad touches.

Ask them often if anyone has said anything or done anything that has made them uncomfortable or feel bad.

Learn to control the stress level of yourself and family members.

Communicate with your child and really listen to their concerns.

Recognize the fact that most abuse happens by people the children know and trust.

Become aware of your community resources.

Know where your children are and who their friends are.

Learn to recognize warning signs of child abuse.

Teach your children it’s not okay to keep secrets from you; that they can always tell you the truth.

Get help if you need it: the National Child Abuse Hotline is 1-800-422-4453.