Evaluating a Program for Safety
How can you make sure that sports team or after-school club you’re signing your kid up for has done everything it can to weed out potential abusers?
Ask about background checks. Most schools and youth organizations conduct criminal background checks, but they may not screen for child abuse and neglect. Encourage them to do so. (And even if the school/program says they screened everyone, ask if they checked fingerprints.) Also, you should ask: do employees receive training in child-abuse prevention?
Meet everyone who will be working with your child. Often, we’ll meet the head counselor of a camp, but not the possibly dozens of other counselors and instructors who will be with your child on a daily basis. Make it a point to ask the program director to introduce you to all of the employees. Besides getting to know them, you send predators the message that you are a parent who pays attention. “Sex abusers don’t choose kids whose parents are very involved,” says Rivette.