Protecting Our Kids
At the Y, the safety and well-being of kids in our care has always been a top priority. Creating safe environments where children can learn, grow and thrive is essential to the YMCA’s ability to strengthen community.
However, child sexual abuse is a serious and too-common crime in the United States today. One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused by age 18. These are heartbreaking statistics, but there is good news: child sexual abuse is preventable. As one of our nation’s leading youth-serving organizations, the Y must do everything in our power to protect the 9 million children and teens we engage each year from those who would do them harm.
Darkness to Light (D2L) was founded in 2000 to champion the move to end child sexual abuse. To date the D2L network of 6,000 authorized facilitators, three of them resident at Cannon YMCA, has trained over 500,000 youth-serving professionals, parents and organization volunteers in D2L’s award-winning Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention program. Your Cannon YMCA requires D2L training for every staff member before they can begin work with our children.
To complement D2L awareness training, YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) is strengthening support for YMCAs to create the culture, practices and behavior needed to prevent child sexual abuse. Working with their partner Praesidium, a nationally-recognized leader in creating safe environments for kids, Y-USA makes enhanced abuse-prevention tools and resources available to Ys. This includes the opportunity for Ys to work directly with Praesidium to assess the strength of their existing policies and procedures, enhance them where needed and develop a plan to sustain a culture of abuse prevention.
Finally, Cannon Y branch staff or volunteers working with kids must read, sign and comply with an exhaustive “Youth Care Code of Conduct.” We will ALWAYS champion safe environments for kids. Click here to download a copy of the Youth Care Code of Conduct.