It’s normal to feel reluctant to be away from your child and nervous with a new babysitter. However, if your feelings of unease do not go away or if you start to feel uncomfortable with anyone who is caring for your child, it may be time to find a new babysitter.
Protecting Your Child Against Sexual Abuse During the Summer
Overnight camp, day camp, sports camp, music camp, math camp, trip and travel programs and many other camp and summer activities are right around the corner and offer wonderful experiences for children that can last a lifetime. Whether the camp or activity you’re considering is public or private, school or university affiliated, part of a city-sponsored offering of summer activities, or faith based, now is a good time to ask program sponsors and administrators a few questions that will help to ensure your children will be safe in their care. Don’t be shy. Parents have every right to raise questions about a variety of safety related issues and responsibilities – and the administrators of programs that take child abuse prevention seriously should be ready (and more than happy) to answer them.
Parents have every right to raise questions about a variety of safety related issues and responsibilities.
Use the sample checklist below* to help you determine if a camp or summer program is ready and able to accept the responsibility of caring for your children:
- Is the program accredited, licensed, or certified by a government or private agency?
- Does the camp conduct background checks on all staff and volunteers for criminal (CORI) and sexual offense history?
- Are there published rules about staff being alone with children?
- What is the ratio of counselors to campers? (see the American Camp Association for guidelines).
- Are there guidelines outlining acceptable conduct between staff and children, and between the children themselves?
- Are all staff and volunteers trained in child sexual abuse prevention, recognition, and reporting responsibilities?
- Are children always supervised?
- Who does my child go to if he or she is uncomfortable with staff?
- Are written policies and procedures about preventing child sexual abuse in place?
- Will my child be able to communicate with me if necessary?
- Are there regulations spelled out about private times (e.g. toileting, dressing, bathing)?
- What are the sleeping arrangements?
- How are staff supervised?
*Developed by the Massachusetts Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force. Our parent organization, the Children’s Trust is a co-chair of the task force.
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