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Youth Protection Training

Youth protection training is the most important training you will take with the Boy Scouts of America

About Youth Protection Training

Concern for youth safety has been ingrained in the Boy Scouts of America’s DNA since the beginning. True youth protection can be achieved only through the focused commitment of everyone in Scouting. It is the mission of Youth Protection volunteers and professionals to work within the Boy Scouts of America to maintain a culture of Youth Protection awareness and safety at the national, regional, area, council, district, and unit levels. 

Before any adult can be registered with the Boy Scouts of America, they must fill out an application, take Youth Protection Training, and go through a Background Check. 

HOW ARE ADULT LEADERS SELECTED?

The Boy Scouts of America takes great pride in the quality of our adult leadership. Being a leader in the BSA is a privilege, not a right. The quality of the program and the safety of our youth members call for high-quality adult leaders.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has a multilayered adult leader selection process that includes criminal background checks administered by a nationally recognized third party and other screening efforts.

STEP 1: Application

All adults who have been selected as potential leaders of youth by a chartered organization must provide references, past addresses, other community affiliations and affirm that they have had no criminal accusations made against them.

STEP 2: Youth Protection Training

No person can become a registered leader in Scouting without first completing the BSA’s Youth Protection Training, and all registered adult volunteers are required to complete the training every two years. The training is available online 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is regularly updated to include the latest strategies for recognizing, responding to and preventing abuse.

STEP 3: References

Every potential volunteer is asked to provide local references from within the community they seek to serve. Chartered organizations (civic groups, schools, etc.), which establish Scouting units and provide local insight and ongoing supervision, are responsible for reviewing each application and determining which potential volunteers to move forward to the next phase of the leader selection process.

STEP 4: Criminal Background Checks

The BSA requires criminal background checks for all Scouting leaders. The background checks are administered by a nationally recognized third party that also provides this service to many local, state and federal governments; educational institutions; and other nonprofits. 

STEP 5: Volunteer Screening Database Check

Before an applicant can join or volunteer with Scouting, the BSA verifies that he or she is not included in our database of individuals who have been prohibited from participation. The Volunteer Screening Database is in place to prevent the registration of individuals who do not meet the BSA’s standards due to known or suspected abuse or misconduct within or outside of the organization.

How to Take Youth Protection Training

Taking Youth Protection Training is easy and takes about one hour to complete. Follow the instructions below for how to access Youth Protection Training in the Boy Scouts of America's Learn Center. 

  1. Log on to my.scouting.org or create an account if you don't have one already. 

  2. On the opening page of my.scouting.org, click on the Youth Protection logo for English or Spanish.

  3. Once inside the BSA Learn Center, you have access to hundreds of BSA training modules! Scroll down to find Youth Protection Training under programs, and click on Youth Protection Training

  4. Click on Mandatory - Youth Protection Training.

  5. Now, click on Enroll to add Youth Protection Training to your My Learning Center. 

  6. After clicking enroll, all 4 modules within Youth Protection Training now say "Start" to begin each module. 

  7. After watching each module, take the final quiz for the training. 

  8. You can also find each of these trainings that you add to your My Learning Center by clicking on My Learning Center at the top of the page. 

Reporting

There are two types of Youth Protection–related reporting procedures all volunteers must follow:

  • When you witness or suspect any child has been abused or neglected—See “Mandatory Report of Child Abuse” below.

  • When you witness a violation of the BSA’s Youth Protection policies—See “Reporting Violations of BSA Youth Protection Policies” below.

 

Mandatory Report of Child Abuse

All persons involved in Scouting shall report to local authorities any good-faith suspicion or belief that any child is or has been physically or sexually abused, physically or emotionally neglected, exposed to any form of violence or threat, exposed to any form of sexual exploitation, including the possession, manufacture, or distribution of child pornography, online solicitation, enticement, or showing of obscene material. You may not abdicate this reporting responsibility to any other person.

Steps to Reporting Child Abuse

  1. Ensure the child is in a safe environment.

  2. In cases of child abuse injury or medical emergencies, call 911 immediately.

  3. In addition, if the suspected abuse occurred in the Scout’s home or family, you are required by state law to immediately report/contact the local child abuse hotline.

  4. Notify the Scout executive or his/her designee, if he/she cannot be reached call the 24/7 Scouts First Helpline at 1-844-726-8871 or email, scoutsfirst@scouting.org

Reporting Violations of BSA Youth Protection Policies

If you think any of the BSA’s Youth Protection policies have been violated, including those described within Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse, you must notify your local council Scout executive or his/her designee so appropriate action can be taken for the safety of our Scouts.

Scouting's Barriers to Abuse

The BSA has adopted the following policies for the safety and well-being of its members. These policies primarily protect youth members; however, they also serve to protect adult leaders. All parents and caregivers should understand that our leaders are to abide by these safeguards. Parents and youth are strongly encouraged to use these safeguards outside the Scouting program.  Registered leaders must follow these guidelines with all Scouting youth outside of Scouting activities.

REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS

The chartered organization representative, or in their absence the executive officer of the chartered organization, must approve the registration of the unit’s adult leaders. Registration includes:

  • Completion of application including criminal background check and mandatory Youth Protection training

  • Volunteer Screening Database check

 

Current Youth Protection training is required for leaders when renewing their registration or at unit charter renewal.

Adult program participants must register as adults and follow Youth Protection policies.

 

ADULT SUPERVISION

Two registered adult leaders 21 years of age or over are required at all Scouting activities, including meetings. There must be a registered female adult leader 21 years of age or over in every unit serving females. A registered female adult leader 21 years of age or over must be present for any activity involving female youth. Notwithstanding the minimum leader requirements, age- and program-appropriate supervision must always be provided. All adults accompanying a Scouting unit who are present at the activity for 72 total hours or more must be registered as leaders. The 72 hours need not be consecutive.

One-on-one contact between adult leaders and youth members is prohibited both inside and outside of Scouting.

  • In situations requiring a personal conference, the meeting is to be conducted with the knowledge and in view of other adults and/or youth.

  • Private online communications (texting, phone calls, chat, IM, etc.) must include another registered leader or parent.

  • Communication by way of social media (Facebook, Snapchat, etc.) must include another registered leader or parent.

 

Discipline must be constructive.

  • Discipline must reflect Scouting’s values.

  • Corporal punishment is never permitted.

  • Disciplinary activities involving isolation, humiliation, or ridicule are also prohibited.

 

RESPONSIBILITY

Leaders must ensure that all participating in Scouting activities abide by the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Adult leaders and youth members share the responsibility for the safety of all participants in the program, including adherence to Youth Protection and health and safety policies.

  • Adult leaders are responsible for monitoring behavior and intervening when necessary.

  • Physical violence, sexual activity, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, unauthorized weapons, hazing, discrimination, harassment, initiation rites, bullying, cyberbullying, theft, verbal insults, drugs, alcohol, and pornography have no place in the Scouting program and may result in revocation of membership.

  • All leaders are required to adhere to the Scouter Code of Conduct.

 

ACCOMODATIONS

Separate accommodations for adult males and females and youth males and females are required.

 

Tenting

  • Separate tenting arrangements must be provided for male and female adults as well as for male and female youth.

  • Youth sharing tents must be no more than two years apart in age.

  • In Cub Scouting, parents and guardians may share a tent with their family.

  • In all other programs, youth and adults tent separately. (Youth Protection and Barriers to Abuse FAQs)

  • Spouses may share tents.

 

Lodging/Cabin Accommodations

Whenever possible, separate cabins or lodging should be provided for male and female adults as well as for male and female youth. Where separate accommodations cannot be provided due to group size or limited availability, modifications may be made. Where completely separate accommodations are not available, additional supervision is required. 

  • If adults and youth of the same gender occupy single-room accommodations, there must be a minimum of two adults and four youth, with all adults being Youth Protection trained.

  • Physical separation by other means, including temporary barriers or space, should be used only when no other arrangements are possible.

  • These modifications are limited to single-gender accommodations.

 

Restrooms

Separate shower and latrine facilities should be provided for male and female adults as well as for male and female youth. If separate facilities are not available, separate times should be scheduled and posted. Privacy of youth is respected.

  • Adults and youth must respect each other’s privacy, especially in situations such as changing clothes and taking showers at camp.

  • Adult leaders should closely monitor these areas but only enter as needed for youth protection or health and safety reasons.

 

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS 

  • The buddy system should be used.

  • The use of smartphones, cameras, mirrors, drones, etc., in places or situations where privacy is expected is prohibited.

  • All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders.

  • The BSA does not recognize any secret organizations as part of its program.

  • Hazing and initiations are prohibited and have no part during any Scouting activity.

  • All forms of bullying and harassment including verbal, physical, and cyberbullying are prohibited.

  • Inappropriate public displays of affection are prohibited.

  • Sexual activity is prohibited.

  • Appropriate attire is required for all activities.

 

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS 

  • Adult leaders and youth members have a responsibility to recognize, respond to, and report Youth Protection violations and abuse.

  • See reporting information above. 

Digital Privacy

A key ingredient for a safe and healthy Scouting experience is the respect for privacy. Advances in technology are enabling new forms of social interaction that extend beyond the appropriate use of cameras or recording devices (see “Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse”). Sending sexually explicit photographs or videos electronically or “sexting” by cell phones is a form of texting being practiced primarily by young adults and children as young as middle-school age. Sexting is neither safe, nor private, nor an approved form of communication and can lead to severe legal consequences for the sender and the receiver. Although most campers and leaders use digital devices responsibly, educating them about the appropriate use of cell phones and cameras would be a good safety and privacy measure. To address cyber-safety education, the BSA has introduced the age- and grade-specific Cyber Chip program, which addresses topics including cyberbullying, cell-phone use, texting, blogging, gaming, and identity theft. Check it out.

BSA Social Media Guidelines

Although using social media is not a Scouting activity, their use to connect with others interested in Scouting can be a very positive experience. But the creation and maintenance of these channels requires forethought, care, and responsibility. 

Want to learn more about the Cyber Chip Program?

Go to our HomeScouting website to explore how to earn the Cyber Chip!

Created by the Buckeye Council, Boy Scouts of America

info@homescouting.org  |  2301 13th St NW, Canton, OH 44708