Welcome and congratulations! You are about to embark on a wonderful journey working with children. No job will be more fulfilling or frustrating! During your time with us we want you to have fun with the children in your care while protecting yourself - this course will help you with the latter.
My name is Linda Lloyd-Zannini. I am the Director of Childrenís Services
for the association. I am the association trainer, evaluator, trouble
shooter, curriculum specialist and program designer. I have worked for
this association since April, 1991. I have found the YMCA to be a wonderful
career. I hope it becomes the same for you.
The mission of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads is: "To put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all."
With that in mind, how do the mission and our child abuse prevention practices work together? Letís take a look at that question.
- The YMCA cares about children and has a responsibility to provide a
safe environment for them while they are in our care.
- Providing a safe caring environment is everyoneís job, not just the
job of the child care staff. Fitness facility staff, "child watch" staff,
maintenance and custodial workers, front desk and member service staff,
class instructors, and administrative staff all have a responsibility
to be informed about and take an active role in the prevention of child
- Part of the mission of the YMCA is to help individuals reach their potential
in spirit, mind, and body. Healthy development requires an absence of
- Abusive behavior is the opposite of our mission of "putting Judeo-Christian
principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit,
mind and body for all."
- Our commitment to building "strong kids, strong families, strong communities" (our vision) requires that the YMCA help educate children, parents, and the community about keeping kids safe.
As a result of this training you will:
- Have the myth dispelled that "it canít happen in our YMCA"
- Understand the YMCA philosophy, policies, and guidelines relating to child abuse;
- Learn how to protect yourself and others from accusations of abuse;
- Recognize signs and symptoms of child abuse;
- Become familiar with types of child abusers;
- Understand about mandated reporting of suspected abuse, how to document observations, and the reporting protocol;
- Learn what to say (and not say) to the media, and
- Learn how to respond to victims of abuse.
Although the purpose of the training is job related, much of the information is relevant to you in your private life as parent, friend, babysitter, or adult. Knowing how to create a safe environment is a life skill, not just a job skill.
One in three females and one in seven males have been abused by the age of 181. It is likely that you or someone you know may has been abused as a child.
This statistic is alarming! Does it seem like there is more abuse today then 20 years ago? Or does it just seem that way because we are doing a better job educating the public of what abuse is and that reporting is necessary if we are going to break the cycle of abuse? As one of the largest providers of programs for children, the YMCA must face this reality. Reports of abuse in child-care programs attract a great deal of attention.
The publicity that surrounds these reports creates the perception that abuse is more common than it really is. Based on information from a Wang and Daro2 survey, reports of abuse in child-care, foster-care, and institutional-care settings in 1997 represent only about 3 percent of all confirmed cases. This percentage has remained consistent over the past 11 years. Regardless of the actual case statistics, parents and others will ask about our strategies to keep kids safe. We want you to be vigilant and help protect children in our care.