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Child and Youth Safety Update - June 2012

Safety is at the Heart of our Scouting Culture

 
We all believe in the same Scouting principles. We all believe that nothing is more important to Scouts Canada than ensuring the health and safety of our members. Our brand promise is to create well-rounded youth, better prepared for success in the world, and we deliver this promise through well-trained, capable and dedicated Leaders.
 
Your efforts in living the Scouts culture of child and youth safety as you deliver on our promise to those entrusted in our care is what makes our organization vital and valued by Canadians everywhere. This Child and Youth Safety update will address key initiatives that will support us in strengthening our proud Scouting tradition. These initiatives are:
 
  • Compulsory training of all volunteer members; 
  • Changes to volunteer interviewing process; 
  • New or revised policies related to child and youth protection;
  • Changes to screening requirements; and
  • Child and Youth Safety culture development tools. 

Compulsory training for the 2012 – 13 Scouting year

Scouts CanadaEvery member of Scouts Canada plays a critical role in fostering a safe and healthy environment for youth to learn and grow. That means having the appropriate training to deliver Scouting programs safely. All Volunteer members (including Scouters-in-Training and Activity Leaders) and Rover Scouts must complete the compulsory training before they can be made Active for the 2012-13 Scouting year and permitted to participate in Scouting activities.
 
The Compulsory training is made up of three modules: 
 
  1. Module 1 of Wood Badge (WB1) Training – with specific emphasis on Risk Management Information for Leaders; 
  2. Accessibility Training (AODA within Ontario) – which covers topics regarding the proper interactions with persons with disabilities;
  3. NEW - Child and Youth Safety Training – which covers topics regarding the identification, prevention and intervention of abuse, as well as Scouts Canada’s  policies, procedures and expectations related to keeping youth safe. It is based on content developed by the World Organization of the Scouting Movement (WOSM).
Many Scouters have already completed the first two modules. If you have completed WB1 and/or Accessibility (AODA) Training you do not need to retake them.  
 
All Scouters will need to complete the Child and Youth Safety training prior to the start of the new Scouting year. 
 
Please take personal accountability for making sure that you are properly trained. Visit your myscouts profile and ensure that your training records are accurate. Should you find inaccuracies in your training records please contact helpcentre@scouts.ca
 
If you have not completed the compulsory training, you will not be an Active member of Scouts Canada in 2012-13 and will not be permitted to participate in Scouting activities.
 

Training is online, accessible and convenient:

All three compulsory training modules are available on Scouts Canada’s e-Learning platform which is accessed through myScouts. 
 
  • You will need a myscouts username and password to be able to access the training; so if you have not yet registered, please do so quickly. Login instructions can be found here.
  • Once in myscouts, the e-Learning site can be accessed by selecting the training tab from the top of your homepage, and then selecting ‘e-Learning Login’ along the left-hand side. 
  • You’ll find e-Learning instructions here.
  • Should you have any trouble using myscouts or e-Learning, please contact helpcentre@scouts.ca.
Each module takes approximately 45-90 minutes to complete and you do not need to complete all modules at one time. Once you have completed a training module, it will appear on your myscouts profile within 24 hours.
 
e-Learning is a convenient and reliable way to complete your training, and it’s available when you can fit it into your summer schedule. 
 

In-person training is also available:

In-person courses for any of the compulsory training modules will be administered by your local Council or Area as they have been in the past, and resources have been provided to Councils to facilitate in-person training. For availability and schedules of courses near you, visit your Council website or call your Council Service Centre.
 
You may also want to consider hosting a training event for yourself and your fellow Scouters. If you are interested in hosting an in-person training opportunity for your Group or Area, please contact your Council Service Centre or Deputy Council Commissioner — Training, and they will be happy to assist you. Versions of the online training have been made available to Councils in either DVD or presentation slides and speakers’ notes formats. The presentation slides and speakers’ notes for the Accessibility and WB1 training are available on the Volunteer Support Toolkit
 

Child and Youth Safety Training is core to our mission as Scouters

Each Volunteer member of Scouts Canada is required to complete these compulsory training modules, and we are all responsible for ensuring each of our Leaders has the appropriate training to provide the safest possible environment for the youth in our care. 
 
On behalf of the millions of youth who have benefited from Scouting over the years, Scouts Canada would like to thank you for taking on this responsibility, for your commitment, and for all of your efforts in living the Scouts culture of child and youth safety.
 

Volunteer interviewing – the frontline of Youth Safety

Scouts CanadaScouts Canada is committed to ensuring not only that the youth in our care are protected and safe, but that the Scouters we recruit to serve as Leaders and mentors are of the highest possible calibre. The rigour of our interview and selection process for prospective volunteers is key to safe Scouting, and it’s also key to delivering on our promise of value to our members and their parents. It’s critical that the recruitment and interviewing processes be followed in full in order to deliver on both of these goals.
 
To facilitate our selection of the best fit for the role, we will be implementing updates to the interviewing process. Specifically, teams of interviewers at the Area level and trained in interviewing techniques will be needed to support the Group level in volunteer selection. Many people in our community such as social workers, police investigators and human resources professionals are already skilled in interviewing, and many are engaged as Scouters. Area by Area, Group by Group, we need to identify and recruit these resources now in order to have interview teams in place for the fall. A draft role description can be found in the Volunteer Support Toolkit for your reference.
 
To facilitate training for interviewers the training video, It’s Your Duty, is available through e-Learning, and should be supplemented by hands-on experience for those not already skilled in interviewing. The video is currently being given a more updated look, although the content will be the same. e-Learning resources are available at myscouts, and the help centre will provide support should you have any trouble locating materials. 
 
In summary, the changes to be implemented include:
 
  • Interviews will be conducted by a minimum of two interviewers, one of whom will be skilled in interviewing techniques;
  • The Group Commissioner will participate in the interview in order to assess fit;
  • The Welcome Aboard Interview Guide has been updated and will form the basis of questions;
  • An Interview Assessment Summary has been developed for use by the interviewers to capture any concerns that may surface during the course of the interview and to identify and measure all the skills and relevant experiences of the potential leader;
  • Once the interview is complete, the interviewers will record in myscouts that they completed the interview. 
 

Ensuring Scouts Canada policies keep pace with the times

Scouts CanadaWe want to ensure that our child and youth protection policies continue to set the highest possible standard. Therefore, we invited Peter Dudding, former CEO of the Child Welfare League of Canada to chair Scouts Canada’s Child and Youth Protection Advisory Committee, a third-party panel of experts in child and youth protection and safety.
 
Since December 2011, the Child and Youth Protection Advisory Committee has conducted a thorough and complete review of all of our child and youth safety policies and procedures and recommended additional measures required to deal with today’s realities and to anticipate future child and youth safety needs. It has identified the best practices of leading national and international youth services organizations and provided guidance on our training methods, curriculum and in-the-field implementation.
 
On May 5, the Board of Governors approved four new or revised policies that affect Leaders are related to child and youth protection. Code of Conduct, Bullying/Harassment and Child Abuse policies will be implemented on July 1, 2012, while the Volunteer Screening Policy comes into effect on September 1, 2012. Further details on procedures related to each will be provided shortly, but we wanted to take this opportunity to provide all Scouters with a quick overview:
 
  • Code of Conduct (replacing Duty of Care): The Mission and Principles of our Duty of Care policy have not changed. The Standards have been modified to reflect Scouter's personal commitment to upholding the Policy. For example: Where the Duty of Care standards state "Scouts will treat all people fairly and with respect and dignity."; the new version in the Code of Conduct will state “I will treat all people fairly and with respect and dignity.”
  • Bullying/Harassment Policy: The Harassment Policy has been expanded to include bullying and has been strengthened by including greater detail on identifying, resolving and reporting these negative behaviors.
  • Child Abuse Policy: Previously addressed within Duty of Care, going forward Scouts Canada’s stance on child abuse and guidelines for preventing, identifying and reporting suspected instances of abuse will be established in a separate Child Abuse Policy. This new Policy will integrate Canadian Law and emphasizes every Scouter’s duty to report.
  • Volunteer Screening: To ensure that all youth members continue to benefit from a safe and healthy Scouting environment, the Board of Governors recently approved a number of changes to volunteer screening policies. These changes will ensure that all members in a position of trust are aware of Scouts Canada’s Code of Conduct and are knowledgeable of their obligation to plan for and deliver programs in a safe manner. Scouts Canada’s updated screening policies and volunteer registration practices are designed to clearly demonstrate our ongoing commitment to keeping our child and youth members safe from harm at all times. 
The recently approved policy comes into effect on September 1, 2012, and you will find all details related to volunteer screening here
 

Building a culture of safety among children and youth

Scouts CanadaLeading up to the new Scouting year, Scouts Canada is working with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to introduce a number of safety strategies for children and youth that will be reinforced during regular section meetings. These strategies will be delivered in a “Jumpstart” format with complete meeting plans and will support a culture of safety for all members of Scouting and in all aspects of a child’s life. 
 
In the next Child and Youth Safety update, you’ll find complete details on introducing Safety Jumpstarts to our youth members and their parents, as well as links to the Jumpstarts themselves. In the meantime, you can get a sense of the educational materials in development by visiting the Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s Kids in the know web pages.
 

Yours in safe Scouting

You will find detailed child and youth safety policies and procedures at scouts.ca/youth-safety, as well as comprehensive links to helpful resources and Canadian protection legislation. Visit the child and youth safety web pages often for updates.
 
Any questions you may have can also be directed to your Council Service Centre, or to the National Service Centre at the contacts below.
 
National Help Line: 
1-888-726-8876
 
National Help Centre: 
helpcentre@scouts.ca or 1-888-726-8876
 
Local Council contact information:
 

Child & Youth Safety Update

Scouts Canada, the country’s leading youth organization, offers challenging programs for boys, girls and youth age 5-26 in thousands of individual groups in most cities and towns across Canada.

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