As anticipated, the Boy Scouts of America has issued some major updates to our landmark Youth Protection procedures.
The program is being expanded and strengthened, and will include youth training in youth protection for the first time (aside from our traditional A Time to Tell and It Happened to Me programs). The requirement for all adult volunteers to take Youth Protection Training, often spotty in the past, will be strictly enforced, and there will be professional help and guidance available for those having questions about what to do as well as for those who have experienced abuse under Scouting’s umbrella in the past. There’s also new training for camp staff covering youth-on-youth situations.
Here is a summary of the changes affecting volunteers and units that are now in effect:
- A new, fully updated, revised and expanded Youth Protection Training, known as YPT-2, is available on my.scouting.org now under the same YO1 course code. The course has three modules – Overview and Policies, Sexual Abuse, and Bullying – and a final test. It’s presented in a graphic format with narration and subtitles, and features video segments by experts in the field of youth protection.
- As of January 1, 2018, no new adult volunteer can be registered without first having taken YPT.
- As of January 1, 2018, no council, region, or national leader will be allowed to override this requirement.
- As of September 1, 2017 (the recharter cycle just passed), no unit can recharter without all of its adult volunteers having current YPT, and registrars may not override this.
- Non-registered adults going on outings for 72 hours or more (such as summer camp) must take the new YPT (the 72 hours are cumulative, not consecutive)
- All volunteers must re-take the new Youth Protection Training prior to October 1, 2018, regardless of when your current training expires.
- A ScoutsFirst helpline has been established to assist unit leaders with questions about youth protection. To ask a question or find out how to handle something they have seen or to report a possible incident, you can call the new helpline at 1-844-726-8871 (SCOUTS1). You can also e-mail email@example.com
- Through the same helpline, professional support and counseling is available for any youth member, former youth member or family member who has been the victim of abuse within Scouting. The service is free, unlimited and available 24/7.
- In-person Youth Protection Training will be revised and updated and available in June 2018.
- Updated Spanish-language resources are expected by August 2018.
- Youth Protection Training for youth members is slated for release in 2019.
I have taken the new course. It’s interesting and informative, and I even learned a few new things about the nature of child abuse and what we should be aware of. The online learning system is a bit sluggish at times, it’s not always clear where you should click next, and for me there were long waits for some segments to load, but be patient and you’ll get through it. Plan on taking about an hour to complete it.
The Youth Protection team has issued a number of documents explaining the new training and procedures:
- Youth Protection Overview
- Frequently-Asked Questions
- Online Training Quick Facts
- Youth Protection Training Infographic
Besides these, there are several documents dealing specifically with new youth protection requirements of camp directors and staff.
As before, general questions may be addressed to the BSA’s Youth Protection team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Plan to take the new course soon, and ensure that all your volunteers and parents take it sooner rather than later, but by October for certain.