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YMCA of the USA Child Abuse Prevention CODE OF CONDUCT
In order to protect YMCA staff, volunteers, and program participants – at no time during a YMCA program may a staff person be alone with a single child where they cannot be observed by others. As staff supervise children, they should space themselves in a way that other staff can see them. Staff shall never leave a child unsupervised. Restroom supervision: Staff will make sure the restroom is not occupied by suspicious or unknown individuals before allowing children to use the facilities. Staff will stand in the doorway while children are using the restroom.
This policy allows privacy for the children and protection for the staff (not being alone with a child). If staff are assisting younger children, doors to the facility must remain open. No child regardless of age should ever enter a bathroom alone on a field trip. Always send children in pairs, and whenever possible, with staff. Staff should conduct or supervise private activities in pairs – diapering, putting on bathing suits, taking showers, etc. When this is not feasible, staff should be positioned so that they are visible to others.
Staff shall not abuse children including:
- physical abuse – strike, spank, shake, slap;
- verbal abuse – humiliate, degrade, threaten;
- sexual abuse – inappropriate touch or verbal exchange;
- mental abuse – shaming, withholding love, cruelty;
- neglect – withholding food, water, basic care, etc.
Any type of abuse will not be tolerated and may be cause for immediate dismissal. Staff must use positive techniques of guidance, including redirection, positive reinforcement and encouragement rather than competition, comparison and criticism.
Staff will have age appropriate expectations and set up guidelines and environments that minimize the need for discipline. Physical restraint is used only in pre-determined situations (necessary to protect the child or other children from harm), is only administered in a prescribed manner and must be documented in writing.
Staff will conduct a heath check of each child, each day, as they enter the program, noting any fever, bumps, bruises, burns, etc. Questions or comments will be addressed to the parent or child in a non-threatening way. Any questionable marks or responses will be documented. Staff respond to children with respect and consideration and treat all children equally regardless of sex, race, religion, culture. Staff will respect children’s rights to not be touched in ways that make them feel uncomfortable, and their right to say no.
Other than diapering, children are not to be touched in areas of their bodies that would be covered by a bathing suit. Staff will refrain from intimate displays of affection towards others in the presence of children, parents, and staff. While the YMCA does not discriminate against an individual’s lifestyle, it does require that in the performance of their job they will abide by the standards of conduct set forth by the YMCA.
Staff must appear clean, neat, and appropriately attired. Using, possessing, or being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs during working hours is prohibited. Smoking or use of tobacco in the presence of children or parents during working hours is prohibited. Profanity, inappropriate jokes, sharing intimate details of one’s personal life, and any kind of harassment in the presence of children or parents is prohibited. Staff must be free of physical or psychological conditions that might adversely affect children’s physical or mental health.
If in doubt, an expert should be consulted. Staff will portray a positive role model for youth by maintaining an attitude of respect, loyalty, patience, courtesy, tact, and maturity. Staff may not be alone with children they meet in YMCA programs outside of the YMCA. This includes babysitting, sleepovers, and inviting children to your home. Any exceptions require a written explanation before the fact and are subject to administrator approval. Staff are not to transport children in their own vehicles. Staff may not date program participants under the age of 18 years of age.
Under no circumstance should staff release children to anyone other than the authorized parent, guardian, or other adult authorized by the parent or guardian (written parent authorization on file with the YMCA). Staff are required to read and sign all policies related to identifying, documenting, and reporting child abuse and attend trainings on the subject, as instructed by a supervisor.