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Re: [Ayreton] Re: Background checks for Youth people

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  • Andrew Otto
    I am a Boy Scout and Girl Scout leader. I am a trainer s trainer for youth protection training in the Scouts (lotsa trains there). I also wrote the youth
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 18, 2007
       
       
      I am a Boy Scout and Girl Scout leader. I am a trainer's trainer for youth protection training in the Scouts (lotsa trains there). I also wrote the youth protection guidelines for my church. As a "so called expert" on this, I can give y'all some insight into institutional youth protection and why it is just common sense.
       
      First of all, where there are groups of kids, there are likely to be child abusers. It's like asking Jesse James "why do you rob banks?". His answer is simply, "That's where the money is." Abuse is not limited to sexual abuse, it also include physical and mental abuse.
       
      So how do institutions protect children? By putting up barriers to abuse and abusers. The SCA background check will be an important first step in keeping the kids safe. Running an inexpensive background check eliminates a large chunk of the potential abusers. Abusers who have criminal sexual abuse records are not likely to join organizations that require background checks. Believe it or not, the Boy Scouts still gets occasional "failed" reports, even though the applicant knows he has a record.
       
      These checks are not onerous, SCA would make an agreement with a background checking company. That agreement would give guidelines for passing or failing an applicant; usually a 49-state sexual offenders database check, and a verification of identity. Most times the companies charge $10.00 or less for not-for-profits to get pass/fail reports. Along with a $10 or $15 fee, the adult would have to provide name, address, phone, and SSN to the background checking company. These firms are bonded and insured against fraud, identity theft and other SSN abuses.
       
      The second item is building barriers to abuse and false accusation. Enforcing the rules that stipulate no one-on-one contact between youth and adults is critical. Appendix A of the Seneschal's Handbook discusses this, but in short there should never be a time when a youth is alone with a non-parent adult. If it is important to talk to a youth privately, just take them out of earshot, but where both of you can still see them. Non parent adults and youth should not share dressing areas, sleeping accommodations, even one-on-one in a car should be avoided. The policies take away the opportunity for abusive adults to abuse children.
       
      Barriers to non-sexual abuse are just as important. Corporal punishment of any kind by a non-parent is not appropriate. This does not mean that you cannot break up a fight and move a youth out of harm's way. Verbal abuse either from youth or adults is, at the least, not chivalrous. Again, this does not mean that taunting your opponent is disallowed (although period taunts should be encouraged). Hazing should be banned, and there should be no secret societies or rituals for youth.
       
      The youth have to be taught the rules of the two-deep, no one-on-one "buddy system". No youth goes anywhere without a buddy (there are some technicalities concerning gender, age difference, etc...). This means that kids do not wander off alone. If they get lost we have not one but two extra servings at feast!
       
      We need to teach the adults, both youth-serving and non how to deal with reports by youth of abuse. Quick aside: in Illinois, those people working with children are known as madated reporters. This means that if an adult suspects abuse or allegations of abuse are disclosed they must report the allegation or suspicion to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. If you do not report, you could be held liable. The report is anonymous and confidential.
       
      As we have more youth participating, and this a joyous thing, we have to be more careful to keep everyone safe. 
       
      Thank you for reading my rambling
       
      In Service
       
      Angus Fraser (Andy Otto)
      -*Angus*-


      -*Andy*-


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    • Teleri
      How does this policy affect demos where our main audience is youth, or may simply include them? Do we need to have a certain number of authorized,
      Message 2 of 12 , Apr 19, 2007
        How does this policy affect demos where our main audience is youth, or may simply include them?  Do we need to have a certain number of authorized, background-checked youth officers at demos? Do we assume, or have to check, that the sponsoring organization is providing supervision with the appropriate credentials?

        How does this process work for those of us who are not "expected" to be in charge of youth, but find ourselves in that capacity anyway?  Dance classes and balls frequently attract teens and tweens, and I've had children down to about 4 show up.  Many of the older ones do not show up with obvious parents in tow.  I would guess that there are many A&S and other activities at events that similarly would have youth participants even though they are not designated youth activities.
         
        Do I now have to start checking ages, parental supervision and ID's at the door?  Do I have to get a background check even though I am not a youth officer?  Do we need a deputy in charge of youth dance who can get the background check instead?
         
        What is my liability?  If I am one of the few people dealing with youth, but not covered by the policy, how do I deal with a false accusation against me?  If some other adult treats a child inappropriately at a dance I am running, am I suddenly liable, since I am nominally "in charge"? 
         
        If we try and cover everyone in contact with youth, the process will be too cumbersome;  if we don't, it will have too many loopholes to be effective.  While I absolutely respect the idea of protecting our youth, there is no particular assurance that this new policy will have any significant practical effect in doing so.  This seems to me a case of increasing the bureaucracy of the Society, with no real advantage to anyone in the end.
         
        Teleri
         
         


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      • Mike C. Baker
        My interests and contributions of service within the SCA are such that I intend to make formal application for the personal background check as soon as the
        Message 3 of 12 , Apr 19, 2007
          My interests and contributions of service within the SCA are such that I intend to make formal application for the personal background check as soon as the Powers That Am finalizes the procedure.  I've run informal competitions for the youth of the Society in the area of performance arts; I've assisted understaffed children's activity areas when weather drove more than the expected level of participation (and the MoC desperately needed a break); I tell stories, teach classes, and otherwise support our non-adult participants in any number of ways; *AND* you'll never see me turn down a chance to assist with a demo for the Cub Scouts if I can work it into my schedule / resources.
           
          Just hope they've somehow taken into account those of us on-the-road as much as 99% of the year... for a number of reasons, my permanent address is still in Texas and will be for at least the remaining duration of my current membership.  Which kingdom gets the hit to cover me, the one where I'm physically spending 99% of my life or the one with my "permanent" address?  (Or will there be an option to allow individuals to cover the cost of the check -- what I've seen up to now indicates nothing particularly promising along that line of thought.)
           
          The Society for Creative Anachronism is not alone in combining youth and adult membership, plus casual participation, under the cover of a single organization (participants, not just adult leadership and advisors to a youth-centered group).  We might consider also what has been done / is being done in the NRA.  HOWEVER, what is most germane to the SCA situation is the SCA itself.
           
          A few stray thoughts from a wandering generalist.
           
          (Background information:  I began as a herald at the age of 8 -- because of Cub Scouts.  It was another 11 or 12 years before I even knew there was an SCA out here.  I am an Eagle Scout, former Cubmaster, etc.  I was last *registered* as a Scout leader before the requirement for background checks became policy -- I have adopted the SCA as my current expression of the Scouting movement's ideals.  And yes, my friends, the BSA / GSA are *not* the only Scouting organizations in the USA...)
           
          Adieu, Amra / ttfn - Mike / Pax ... Kihe

          Mike C. Baker
          SCA: al-Sayyid Amr ibn Majid al-Bakri al-Amra, F.O.B, OSCA
          "Other": Reverend Kihe Blackeagle PULC (the DreamSinger Bard)
          Opinions? I'm FULL of 'em
          alt. e-mail:
          KiheBard@...  OR MCBaker216@...
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          From: Ayreton@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Ayreton@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Teleri
          Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 11:44 AM
          To: Ayreton@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [Ayreton] Background checks for Youth people

          How does this policy affect demos where our main audience is youth, or may simply include them?  Do we need to have a certain number of authorized, background-checked youth officers at demos? Do we assume, or have to check, that the sponsoring organization is providing supervision with the appropriate credentials?

          How does this process work for those of us who are not "expected" to be in charge of youth, but find ourselves in that capacity anyway?  Dance classes and balls frequently attract teens and tweens, and I've had children down to about 4 show up.  Many of the older ones do not show up with obvious parents in tow.  I would guess that there are many A&S and other activities at events that similarly would have youth participants even though they are not designated youth activities.
           
          Do I now have to start checking ages, parental supervision and ID's at the door?  Do I have to get a background check even though I am not a youth officer?  Do we need a deputy in charge of youth dance who can get the background check instead?
           
          What is my liability?  If I am one of the few people dealing with youth, but not covered by the policy, how do I deal with a false accusation against me?  If some other adult treats a child inappropriately at a dance I am running, am I suddenly liable, since I am nominally "in charge"? 
           
          If we try and cover everyone in contact with youth, the process will be too cumbersome;  if we don't, it will have too many loopholes to be effective.  While I absolutely respect the idea of protecting our youth, there is no particular assurance that this new policy will have any significant practical effect in doing so.  This seems to me a case of increasing the bureaucracy of the Society, with no real advantage to anyone in the end.
           
          Teleri___
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