Free Guide and Fact Sheets for Schools
and Youth Serving Organizations

yso bookletcoverEvery year, 35 million adults come into contact with more than 70 million children in youth-serving organizations (YSOs) across the country. Included are 2 million 6-18 year olds who participate in youth sports programs. Public and private schools include over 55 million children and youth. These organizations are designed to provide children and teens with guidance and opportunities for growth so they can develop self-assurance in the four areas that are key to creating a happy and successful life: a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging, and power.

However, schools and youth-serving organizations can also expose children and teens to risk since they unwillingly provide the "cover" and access that sexual abusers require. In fact, a US Department of Education report (2004) indicates that 7% or 3.5 million 8th to 11th graders confirm having physical sexual contact from an adult in their school, most commonly a teacher or coach. Clearly, without a comprehensive strategy to reduce the risk of child sexual abuse, YSOs will not succeed in their obligation to protect our children from this threat.

As a result of national attention generated by the Penn State scandal, a range of YSOs, including schools, after-school programs, sports programs, etc. are recognizing the pressing need to educate their staffs on the issue. A report issued in 2007 by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  "Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in Youth Serving Organizations"  offered a comprehensive look at the issue, however, a survey conducted by MCC with small to mid-sized YSOs revealed that most don't know where to begin to strengthen their policies to prevent sexual abuse and don't have the resources to hire risk management consultants to guide them. In addition, research is showing that to truly impact behavior, institutions need to combine education of their staff with institutional policies and practices that work together to achieve desired improvements. The Enough Abuse Campaign now has the tools to assist YSOs to do both.

A capacity building grant from the Ms. Foundation for Women and a seed grant from The Boston Bruins Foundation supported the development of our "GateKeepers for Kids" program. Its objective is to educate these institutions about the basics they must have in place to strengthen their child protection policies and practices. We have developed a 12-page Practical Guide detailing the latest training, screening and reporting strategies in the field and a set of Fact Sheets on training, screening, reporting, steps to develop a code of conduct so inappropriate behaviors can be identified early before they escalate to abuse, how to assess and modify physical spaces to reduce opportunities for sexual abuse to occur, etc.

The Enough Abuse Campaign has also developed a comprehensive Assessment Tool that can help an organization identify its strengths and vulnerabilities and a Resource Bank of policies and tools to help YSOs consider strategies adopted by similar organizations. The prevention resources we have developed and the Training and Consultation we offer can enhance the role of youth serving organizations as responsible "Gatekeepers for Kids" committed to protecting each child's right to a safe and healthy childhood. We encourage you to join with us in this important new opportunity to help prevent child sexual abuse; learn more about the GateKeepers for Kids learning community and how you can join here.