The development of children is the core of why the Y’s values were built. This is why the safety of all children in our care is our number one priority. Staff and volunteers at Family YMCA of Greater Augusta follow our Code of Conduct to ensure the safety of all children who come through our doors, whether they are regular program participants or only visit once a year.
During Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Y wants to make sure that all members understand this Code of Conduct. A key tool in abuse prevention is knowledge, so it’s important that parents and caregivers are informed of the Y’s policies around children. Together we can work to ensure all children in the CSRA reach their full potential.
STAFF CODE OF CONDUCT
The Y takes very seriously its obligation to protect children. Y staff should not have contact or communication with minors (under age 18) who participate in Y programs outside of Y work time. With today’s electronic communication options (e-mail, text messages, blogging, social networking sites) it is more important than ever that all employees understand the Y’s policy on such contact or communication in order to protect youth and staff. For purposes of this policy a “youth” is anyone under eighteen (18) years of age who participates in Y programs or whom a Y employee has met though Y programs.
- Employees should not initiate personal phone calls with or receive personal phone calls from youth. A call is considered “personal” if it does not involve both a Y phone and Y specific subject matter. When employees receive calls from youth on non-Y phones and/or regarding a non-Y subject, this must be immediately reported to a supervisor.
- Text messaging with youth is not permitted. If an employee receives a text message from a youth, a supervisor must immediately be made aware.
- Employees must not share any personal e-mail addresses or instant message names or nicknames with youth. Employees should not initiate or respond to e-mail or instant messages from youth while using any personal (non-Y) connection to the internet.
- Use of social networking sites to communicate with youth is only permitted if done through a Y- sponsored or approved site. No personal blog or social networking site should be used. Any website or blog maintained by an employee should not have pictures or make reference to any youth, and employees should not request or accept to be linked as “friends” or connections with youth in social networking sites.
- Communication between employees and youth should only be through Y e-mail accounts and phones, any such communication with youth should be immediately reported to the employee’s supervisor.
- Employees violating this policy or using electronic communication systems improperly are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Employees using Y electronic communication systems for defamatory, illegal or fraudulent purposes also are subject to potential and/or criminal prosecution.
In addition to our Code of Conduct, the Y also has a number of safety measures intended to keep kids safe. This includes criminal background checks on staff and volunteers; required staff training on recognizing and preventing abuse; limiting staff contact with children outside of Y programs; and reporting any allegations or suspicions of abuse to law enforcement.