Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center, one of the region’s leading resources to prevent abuse, protect children and heal families, offers the following safety tips for parents and caregivers to consider as camps, childcare and organized sports begin to open for booking this summer.
“Helping prevent child abuse starts by making informed decisions, because knowledge is power,” said Dr. Carole Swiecicki, Executive Director of Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center. “Asking questions before booking your child’s summer experiences can allow them to have a wonderful, exciting–and above all–safe experience.”
It is important for parents and caregivers to ask the following questions before entrusting their child to seasonal camps, childcare programs, or after school programs:
- Does the program conduct background checks on all employees?
- How is staff screened?
- Does the agency/program have a policy in place that no child is to be left alone with an adult?
- Does the camp have ACA accreditation? (The American Camp Association evaluates the camp’s safety, health, program and camp operations.)
- What is the ratio of staff to children?
- What training does the staff receive to keep children safe?
- Does this place have a child protection policy regarding how they report suspected abuse? Who monitors compliance?
- Does the policy mandate reporting to all authorities?
- How does the camp handle emergencies?
While concern for COVID-19 is still present, it is also important for parents and caregivers to consider recommended CDC guidelines to ensure proper health and safety protocols are in place. Some suggested questions from their site include:
- Are staff and campers who are sick or have recently had a close contact with a person with COVID-19 actively encouraged to stay home?
- What hygiene practices does the program have in place?
- Will face masks be required at this program?
- What strategies is the program implementing to maintain a healthy environment?
- What measures will be put in place to observe social distancing?
- Can groups be kept small and distancing protocols observed?
- Has the program implemented any physical barriers?
- What policies are in place should a staff member or child test positive for COVID-19 and how are these monitored?
To learn more about how you can help prevent child abuse, visit www.deenortoncenter.org. The website also includes relevant resources and tips for communicating with your child about current events.
The Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center services include forensic interviews, medical examinations and mental health assessments as well as immediate support and coordination. The center also provides evidence-based therapy to child victims and their families.
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