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Silverback Society Youth Protection Policy

Purpose

The Silverback Society understands the importance of protecting youth in the community and in our programs and therefore wishes to provide a safe and secure environment. The Board Of Directors of the Silverback Society has adopted this policy in order to provide practices that will protect youth from incidents of misconduct or inappropriate behavior and also protect the employees and volunteers from false accusations.

Definitions

Staff - all employees, full and part-time, and program volunteers that have any contact with youth or access to facilities

Youth - individuals 17 years of age or younger

Screening

All Silverback Society staff will be screened in accordance with this policy. Screening will include at least the following:

Written Application

All potential staff must complete and sign a written application form that includes a release allowing the Silverback Society to conduct a criminal background information search. The application will request  disclosure of any previous criminal convictions. The application form will be maintained in a personnel file at the Silverback Society administrative office.

Personal Interview

A personal interview will be conducted with the applicant by management staff to discuss the position and the applicant's talents, qualifications and abilities. Multiple and/or group interviews may be conducted as appropriate.

Reference Checks

All applicants must provide at least two (2) references. References may be personal or professional and be presented in written form or by providing phone contact information. All references will be confirmed by management staff and documented in the applicant's personnel file. At least one reference will be from a personal contact if available.

Criminal Background Check

Criminal background checks will be conducted for all potential staff after they've completed an application. Background checks will comply with applicable regulations governing programs. Applicants will not be considered for positions when checks show evidence of convictions for an offense involving children and/or for offenses involving violence, dishonesty, illegal substances, indecency and any conduct contrary to the mission of the Silverback Society. Failure to disclose a criminal conviction on the application form may also terminate an individual's application.


Training and Education

All staff will receive an orientation that includes:

 

Review and receipt of the Silverback Society Mentor Handbook

 

Review of policies related to prevention and reporting of child abuse and emergency procedures - within the first week of their activation

 

Supervisors will be trained on hiring and screening potential staff members

 

Staff training and orientations will be updated and refreshed each year

 

Documentation of all training will be maintained in each individual's personnel file.

Supervision

All Silverback Society interaction with youth will be under the supervision of a minimum of one administrator or staff member of the participating school. A school administrator or staff member must accompany youth on all and any off campus activities. Transportation to and from Silverback Society sponsored activities must utilize school provided transportation. Supervision of youth, programs, facilities and staff will be designed to protect youth and staff at all times. Practices to ensure a safe and caring environment will include:

 

A minimum of two staff should be assigned to each participating school

 

Staff members will never be alone with an individual youth where they are not observable by others.

 

Classroom doors should remain open unless there is a window in the door or a side window beside it. Doors should never be locked while persons are inside the room.

 

All sites of operation will have access to a telephone on location during operating hours.

 

Staff and youth will follow the "Rule of Three" at all times.

 

Youth will never be left unsupervised; including bathrooms, locker rooms, or showers.

 

Staff will observe for signs of physical injury or emotional abnormality each time a child reports to program.

 

Staff will utilize constructive methods for maintaining group control and managing youth behavior.

 

Staff will not disrobe a child.

 

Staff will avoid changing clothes in front of youth.

 

All staff will fulfill a probationary period of three months until all training and orientation is completed.

Contact with Youth

It is understood that caring quality staff will develop positive relationships with youth while involved in Silverback Society programs. The following practices will be followed to ensure the protection of both youth and staff outside of Silverback Society programs.

Staff will not initiate contact with or accept supervisory responsibility for youth outside of Silverback Society programs and activities, including baby-sitting or private instructions. Staff with prior or family relationships to youth may be relieved of this restriction with prior documented Executive approval.

Staff will not communicate with youth outside of Silverback Society programs via written, electronic or other means without express Executive approval.

Staff will appear and behave in a manner consistent with the mission and values of Silverback Society at all times while on or off duty; including electronic, written and verbal communications.

Communications

The Silverback Society will promote positive values and youth protection strategies in its programs, with schools and in the community.

Participating schools will receive regular written information about the programs content, feedback regarding student participation in program including behavior and general health; and an introduction to the program staff.

School staff , administrators and parents will be allowed to observe programs at any time as appropriate

School administrators will be made aware of the of the Silverback Society youth protection efforts through regular written and/or electronic communication including: the staff code of conduct, and that other than interaction with official Silverback Society social media sites, individual staff are not allowed to contact youth outside of programs.

The Silverback Society will designate a spokesperson to the media and community in the event of any incident concerning abuse or neglect.

Reporting Requirements

For purposes of this policy, "child abuse" is any action (or lack of action) that endangers or harms a child's physical, psychological or emotional health and development.

 

Silverback Society staff is recognized as mandated reporters and will report known or suspected child abuse immediately or as soon as practically possible. The Silverback Society will follow current regulations and guidelines for the reporting of abuse.

 

Staff will follow an internal chain of command for the reporting of abuse and may report directly to local authorities if their supervisor does not handle any report immediately.

 

If an incident of abuse or neglect is alleged to have occurred at or during Silverback Society programs or activities, the following procedure shall be followed:

 

The parent or guardian of the child will be notified

 

The appropriate authorities will be notified; consistent with local, state and/or federal regulations

 

The alleged perpetrator of the abuse or misconduct will immediately be placed on leave from the Silverback Society pending an investigation

 

The insurance company will be notified, and an incident report will be completed

 

The Silverback Society will cooperate with any investigation of the incident by state or local authorities. In the event there is no investigation of the incident by state or local authorities, a management team will be formed to investigate the circumstances of the incident. The team should act only in consultation with our insurance company and/or attorney.

 

Any person who is not found innocent of the alleged abuse or misconduct will be removed from their position with the Silverback Society

Monitoring

This policy will be reviewed and updated as needed by the Silverback Society Board of Directors or its designated representative on an annual basis.