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Knoxville YMCA describes background check process that keep kids safe | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Knoxville YMCA is reassuring parents about its measures to keep kids safe after horrific news emerged from Middle Tennessee about a soccer coach who was arrested when evidence of child sex crimes were found on his phone.

Cansler Family YMCA Director Bekah Grace described their rigorous screening process for all members, staff and program participants.

“If you’ve ever been to a YMCA, our entire database of members, staff, volunteers, and program participants is run every single night against a national database and that helps us screen out predators,” Grace said. “So very easily we can see names and dates of birth and run that through the national database to make sure people who are walking through the doors, who are around your kids at the Y, that they’re safe people to be around.”

If a person is flagged, The Y immediately takes action. They also say their policies are built so that staff members and volunteers are never alone with a child.

“It’s heartbreaking. We care so much about every child. It doesn’t matter what zip code you live in. It doesn’t matter what area of town. It doesn’t matter what your parents do for a living. It should not be a question about who deserves to be safe,” she said. “Every child in our community deserves to be safe and we feel like the YMCA is a place where that should never enter your mind.”

Grace said, “I am a mom myself. I have a five-year-old and a two-year-old and my kids participate in all kinds of stuff here at the Y. They’re in swim lessons. I have a rising kindergartener. She’s going to be in YMCA after-school care this fall,” She said, “Knowing what our policies are, I know that the staff and the volunteers we have in place at those 18 child care sites we have across Knox County, every six months their staff is not only trained in child abuse prevention and detection but procedures on how to follow up on that.”

Grace added that their CEO is on a national child abuse prevention task force and that The Y does not just work on policies and procedures, but they work on identifying the gaps and bridging those gaps so that nothing falls through the cracks.


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