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YPSmartz: Youth Protection Begins With You®


This is the first in a series of articles on Youth Protection called “YPSmartz.”

What do we mean when we say, “Youth Protection begins with you®”? Everyone in Scouting, from the most tenured professional Scouters and adult leaders to new Cub Scout parents and the Scouts themselves, and even to National and local council employees, can be educated and aware of the policies in place to help keep our Scouts safe. The key is remembering a three-pronged approach to reducing the opportunities for abuse to happen within Scouting—prevent, recognize, and report.

First and foremost, Scouting seeks to prevent child abuse in all its forms. To that aim, the BSA has adopted a set of policies called “Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse” for the safety and well-being of its members. Ranging from “two-deep leadership required on all outings” to “no bullying,” these policies are in place primarily to protect our youth members; however, they serve to protect adult leaders as well.

Child abuse is a serious problem in our society, and unfortunately, it can occur anywhere, even in Scouting. To help our employees and members recognize child abuse whenever it might happen, the BSA requires Youth Protection training for all registered volunteers and encourages all adults, including employees and parents, to take the training as well. The course is easily accessible online and covers the BSA’s Youth Protection policies, kinds of abuse, signs of abuse, how to respond to disclosure of abuse, and proper reporting procedures, posing situations that require choices and produce consequences.

BSA policies call for immediate action to stop the abuse or policy violation and report any good-faith suspicion or belief that any child is or has been physically or sexually abused, physically or emotionally neglected, exposed to any form of violence or threat, or exposed to any form of sexual exploitation, including the possession, manufacture, or distribution of child pornography, or online solicitation, enticement, or showing of obscene material. No person may abdicate this reporting responsibility to any other person. The local Scout executive should be notified of this report, or of any violation of the BSA’s Youth Protection policies, so he or she may take appropriate action for the safety of our Scouts.

For more information about Scouting’s Youth Protection policies, including the full text of “Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse,” links to Youth Protection training, and more on reporting suspected abuse, visit Link.

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