Posts Tagged: child abuse

Preventing Child Abuse

April 17, 2013

Beyond the Background Check

Jeff C. Heiser
Senior Assistant Director, Recreation
UC Davis

It’s spring time and chances are program coordinators and directors are gearing up for another great summer of recreation and athletic camps on colleges and universities across the country. By now, hiring is probably in full swing as directors are interviewing and finding top quality counselors and instructors for their programs.

An integral piece of the hiring and screening process involves ensuring that all staff histories are appropriate for working with youth; this most likely includes a fingerprint background check to eliminate those with criminal histories. Another commonly used screening tool is the National Sex Offender Public Website. This is a free service that lists all registered sex offenders across the country and can be searched by name or neighborhood.

Although fingerprint background checks and use of the National Sex Offender Public Website are important steps in discovering staff histories, they cannot be our sole source of information. Unfortunately, most child molesters do not have a criminal background record. If you are relying on a criminal background check to be your only defense against child abuse, you may not be doing everything you can to prevent child molesters and abusers from being hired, gaining access to your participants and causing irreversible damage to individuals, your program and University.

Fortunately, there are several other defense measures we can utilize as hiring managers to prevent child abusers from gaining access to our program. Procedures and strategies should be developed to guide hiring, training, supervision and response practices.
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Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect

March 22, 2012

Jen Rose
Assistant Director, Sports and Youth & Family Programs
Southeast Missouri State University

Many people involved with the operation of camps and youth programs feel an obligation to protect and support the kids who become involved in their programs, but it is important to know that for most of us it is also a legal obligation.
“Approximately 48 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands designate professions whose members are mandated by law to report child maltreatment” as stated in the Child Welfare Information Gateway in 2010. If your camp falls into one of the above mentioned geographical areas the counselors are most likely required, by law, to report issues. The US Department of Health & Human Services points out that although laws vary from state to state, typically a report must be made when during the course of your job you suspect a child has been abused or neglected, or you observe or have knowledge of a situation in which conditions could result in harm to the child. Mandated reporters can be held legally responsible if they ignore this obligation.

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