In today’s world, it is vital to your organization and the safety of the children in your care that every precaution is taken to prevent cases of abuse and neglect. Youth sports organizations strive to be a place of acceptance and tolerance but far too often that makes it easy for predators to get in and leave pain and devastation in their wake. All you have to do is watch the news to see the effects of child abuse in our society. How can your organization protect itself? How can you make sure your coaches and other volunteers have all the information they need to spot potential signs of an abuser and how to stop it before it happens?
Our motto: Every volunteer screened. Every volunteer trained.
Protect Youth Sports is dedicated to making this a reality for any organization where volunteers are being actively used around children. Background checks as a stand-alone process are not enough; many offenders have never been caught. Group training is no longer enough! We need to make sure each of volunteers is trained before they serve.
Protect Youth Sports is excited to announce that we have updated our child safety training video to include even more useful training materials for your staff and volunteers. We have also made it available at no additional cost with the purchase of one of our Verity bundles.
“How does it work?”
When you subscribe to Verity, you are pay a small annual subscription that gives you access to child safety training at no additional cost. For every background check you order, you can order the online training video. This 90-minute video is broken into 8 sections and can be viewed from anywhere, anytime with an internet connection. Upon completion, coaches will be prompted to complete a 25 question quiz that ensures they viewed and understood the material. After scoring a passing grade of 70% or more the volunteer is issued a certificate of completion that is also stored in your system.
Do not let your organization be caught in the dangerous trap of neglect. Let Protect Youth Sports help you complete your child protection policy through effective child safety training.
For more information visit http://protectyouthsports.com/child-safety-training/ or call (877) 319-5587.
Protect Youth Sports is the Trusted Resource Provider for background checks and child safety training by Positive Coaching Alliance.
The recommended offering includes:
- integrated paperless solutions designed for youth sports
- online forms, applications, coach payments
- free online child safety training for abuse prevention
- thorough national background checks
- in-depth and complete re-verification of all criminal hits
- guaranteed accuracy and FCRA compliance on over 400 million national criminal records
Learn more about Protect Youth Sports and why this service is used by more than 8,000 youth serving organizations by signing up for your Free Videos.
Child molesters have specific ways of targeting children and using technology as a tool is one of the preferred methods. It’s ironic that a child predator, who is devious and cunning, would utilize text messaging and social networking to make friends with children when most of this is traceable and can be shown to a parent at any time. A child predators strategy to grooming their victims, which is the process a child predator uses to develop a friendship with the child, is used again and again until the child responds the way they want. An off comment or a friendly text message that is slightly out of bounds of normal conversation is used to “soften” the victim up and “push the boundaries” for future communication. By the time a child molester puts something in text that is clearly out of bounds, the child has engaged in enough communication to give the predator the confidence he or she needs to take the risk of stepping way out of bounds.
As parents we should keep a close eye on all the social networking and texting our children are doing, so we are able to perceive a threat that our children might not see as a threat. Children are more open to all forms of communication and explicit content. Children are now “sexting” to each other, which is the process of sending nude pictures between their phones. A joint study by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl suggests that 20% of teens (ages 13-19) and 33% of young adults (ages 20-26) have shared nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves either via text or by posting online. Teen girls are slightly more likely to do this than boys and 11% of the young teen girls (ages 13-16) admitted to sending suggestive photos of themselves.
Consider the recent arrest of a Former Boys and Girls Club Coach arrested for soliciting a girl. A 27 year old man faces attempted child solicitation and improper communication with a child for asking the girl if she ever “touches” herself. This question is clearly inappropriate, but some children might not realize that this is the behavior of a child predator and that questions like these are build up to what’s coming.
In the case of Clifford Moran, he began grooming his victim by communicating with her through texts about friends, family and the 4th grade. Then, it allegedly escalated to Moran wanting to see pictures of the young girl “maybe some naughty full body ones?”
According to Indiana Code of Law a person who solicits and improperly communicates with a child, as outlined in IC 35-42-4-6, is committing a felony:
Sec. 6. (a) As used in this section, “solicit” means to command, authorize, urge, incite, request, or advise an individual:
(1) in person;
(2) by telephone;
(3) in writing;
(4) by using a computer network (as defined in IC 35-43-2-3(a));
(5) by advertisement of any kind; or
(6) by any other means; to perform an act described in subsection (b) or (c).
Keep an eye on all your children’s correspondence with leaders in church, sports, school or any other activities. A good rule of thumb is that no one over the age of 18 should be contacting your child directly, unless they come through you. This might sound too conservative, but this policy can also help you prevent other issues like “sexting” and overall it can help you build a hedge of protection around your most precious gift, your children.
Get information on how to train your leaders to spot potential child abusers through Protect Youth Sports and get background checks and child safety training resources.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
Penn State Scandal
As I am sure you have heard by now, Penn State university has been rocked by the scandal of a former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, who is accused of sexually assaulting young boys beginning as early as the mid 90’s and continuing throughout and after his tenure at Penn State.
Where Did Coach Paterno Go Wrong?
According to the attorney general report there are several accusations of assault happening both on and off campus property with one in particular being witnessed by a graduate assistant who reported what he witnessed to head football coach Joe Paterno. Paterno then reported the incident to his immediate supervisor who escalated the incident to senior staff, but never University Police or local officials.
The Grand Jury concluded that the sexual assault of a minor male in 2002 should have been reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and/or a law enforcement agency such as University Police or the Pennsylvania State Police in accordance with Pennsylvania’s mandatory reporting statute for suspected child abuse.
Most people don’t’ disagree with Joe Paterno first reporting to his direct supervisor what he heard from his graduate assistant about Jerry Sandusky assaulting a boy in a Penn State athletics facility shower room. You shouldn’t have to go over your supervisor’s head and report an incident to the police. What we can’t accept is why he waited a day to tell Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and why he didn’t make sure that Curley went immediately to the police with the report. We now know that Curley did not go to the police at all – and Paterno left the matter alone.
What Can We Learn?
In the light of this horrific tragedy, being angry and shocked is simply not enough. What happened at Penn State needs to go beyond anger, surprise, sensationalism, and lengthy news coverage. Every organization that works with children needs to look at what happened and do some self- evaluation of their current sexual abuse prevention strategies. Don’t be afraid to make changes.
Policies Protect Children
Start with a clear policy and guidelines on what is acceptable and not acceptable. The consequences of not having a child protection policy in place far outweigh the cost of implementing them. As fathers, mothers and caretakers we don’t care what the cost is to protect our own children. Youth sport and recreation should have the same level of protection in place that you would choose for your own children.
It’s not too difficult to establish a policy with clear, enforceable child protection guidelines. The basic tenants of your policy should include background checks for staff and volunteers, including coaches and officials that work with minors. Background checks of criminal and sex offender history that meet national standards typically cost around $10 to $20. And because only 1 in 10 sexual abusers has a criminal history it is also imperative to have mandatory child safety training on the topic of sexual abuse prevention and awareness. Be sure to get signed agreements from volunteers stating they have read and understand the policy and agree to adhere to the requirements of the policy. Enforcing the policy is essential to demonstrating that your organization has performed the necessary due diligence, in case someone still manages to slip through the cracks.
Children Won’t Always Tell
Next it is paramount that we figure out how to get kids to understand when something wrong has been done to them – and then report it to the right people. It is terrifying how pedophiles are able to keep their victims silent. Children remain silent because their abuser scares them into silence; there can also be shame and embarrassment, and sometimes even a feeling of affection for the person molesting them. Silence is terrible because it protects and enables the molester to keep on molesting, and it deprives the victims of the help they need. Studies have shown the average sexual predator victimizes 120 before being caught.
Predators Are On The Prowl
It is not enough to say “we know everyone” or “that will never happen here.” Our communities and youth sports program are a target for predators. Predators are eager to volunteer to coach children and they especially like that they can get immediate access to children by coaching or officiating. Predators don’t like to wait long before gaining access. If access is not permitted they will move to another target. The two-person rule is a great way to weed out any potential predators. This requires 2 adults to be present with children at all times.
About Protect Youth Sports
Coach & Volunteer Background Checks through Protect Youth Sports are designed to help league officials implement and maintain a thorough background screening program for employees, staff and volunteers, while using simple paperless technology to streamline the process.
Protect Youth Sports can help you avoid many of the problems that occur with low quality, instant databases and state-level-only police checks, which lead to lead to missed records, incomplete records, out-of-date records and inadequate protection from sexual predators. Don’t put your children and organization at risk!
Visit us www.protectyouthsports.com
If you think a person should be able to submit their own background check to your organization, you might want to think again.
There are several issues with allowing a coach, volunteer or employee to retreive their own background check. They could submit for a background check and falsify the report before submitting it to your oganization. This has been the case at Johnston School Department when an applicant submitted false papers to the school department. According to the police report the applicant tried to get a job with the Johnston School Department as a volleyball coach. The applicant was arraigned on a charge of filing false documents and sent to the Adult Correctional Institutions on a previous warrant.
To verify a persons identification we recommend a Social Security Number (SSN) verification, including a name and date of birth check. By conducting a simple check like this we can verify a person’s identity and you can be sure the information they are providing is first of all true and accurate, then you can use this information to search court records and national database records for felony, misdemeanor and sex offender history. Every organization should take the responsibility to collect an applicant’s agreeement for a background check and perform the proper due dilligence, themselves, by conducting an SSN verification and criminal records search. This should be repeated annually as long as the volunteer or employee is in contact with youth or other vulnerable persons.
Published at www.protectyouthsports.com
Protect Youth Sports launched the Coach Pay System as part of Verity Paperless Solution. This solution is allowing organizations and leagues that do not have a budget for screening coaches to charge their coaches online through a secure payment gateway. To date there has been overwhelming interest in the online Coach Pay System. There have also been several large youth sports organizations taking advantage of other features available in the Verity Paperless Screening Solution. Listen to what Kasey Connors, the Community Tennis Manager from the Unites States Tennis Association for Middle States had to say about Verity.
“I am writing in reference to our recent experience with Protect Youth Sports and their background screening they provide. USTA Middle States has over 3,000 players participating in our youth team tennis program and prior to this year we had no background screening process. We were new to understanding how a process like this would work and the team at Protect Youth Sports was extremely helpful in setting us up and very attentive to answering all of my questions.
The Verity system is very easy to use, as well as easy to customize and format for our specific information we need to collect from our coordinators and coaches. The reports have been very handing in making sure we are screening everyone prior to each of our leagues starting. The customizable webpage that is specific for our coaches also has been a bonus for us in branding our league
The customer service provided to us particularly in the compliance office has been extraordinary. We wanted to have as little interaction with the reports as possible and they were very accommodating in setting us up based on our needs. As Middle States covers three states, they were also very helpful in making sure we chose the correct background screening to run based on where all of our coaches live. Our client support specialist always gets back to me in a timely manner and took much anxiety off my chest in implementing our background screening process.
As a youth sports administrator I would highly recommend Protect Youth Sports as your background screening provider.”
By Glen Evans, GlenEvans.net
Recently in New Bedford, a 14 year old girl was sexually assaulted by a little league coach. Near Galveston, Texas, a soccer coach accused of an inappropriate relationship with a 15 year old killed himself after being arrested when his relationship with the girl was revealed.
In northern Virginia, a popular physical education teacher, and soccer coach reportedly sexually assaulted a 12 year old girl in the school gym.
This is shocking and ridiculous. How is it child predators have access to our children while playing sports?
A simple search in any search engine will list in detail the numerous offenses being reported across the United States, and the trend is very disturbing. Aside from the fact that these types of crimes are life altering for the victimized children, they leave parents mistrustful and worried their children will be hurt or victimized.
Brad Snellings, Marketing Director for Protect Youth Sports puts it this way, “Child predators and criminals should be discouraged from applying for coaching jobs. Requiring background checks as part of your youth sports organization policy is a good way to dissuade someone from eveb applying.”
Many youth sports organizations are run by volunteers with limited budgets, and the problem would seem too big to tackle.
Many organizations may assume they can’t afford to put all their coaches and officials thorugh lengthy background checks, but the reverse is true.
I can imagine a youth sports coordinator feeling like they can’t do this because of an adminstrative nightmare, but that wouldn’t be true because of a great online resource I am going to share with you.
In my view, they can’t afford not to. From a parental perspective, youth organizations who allow child molesters to operate within their organization would somehow be negligent, especially when their are online tools that streamline the process.
The Florida Senate recently passed legislation that would require youth coaches to undergo background checks, when it was revealed by a CBS 4 news report which showed a Florida organizations were allowing two long-time coaches at Tamiami Park, men who coach six and seven year-olds every week were arrested on drug felony charges. Police say coaches Jorge Perez and Manuel Ojeda ran a big pothouse in Southwest Miami-Dade.
Allowing drug dealers to coach our kids? Not my kids!
Although they were charged with serious felonies, they were still allowed to coach due to a loophole. Legislative efforts are now being made to close this hole and protect children. I wouldn’t want my kids being influenced by drug dealers, and I am sure most parents would agree.
One organization that is making a difference in this arena is Florida based Protect Youth Sports. From my research, I would comfortably say it is the most comprehensive coach background check process currently offered.
Protect Youth Sports has a multi-level approach for any Youth Sports Organization because they offer standard background checks and offer the opportunity to have several different types of searches done. For example, your sports organization could choose to check a coach’s driving record, a county court search, and a sexual predator search. If the volunteer will be handling money, you can also have a more extensive background check done.
Each state has different requirements, and Protect Youth Sports has an online consultation service that shows you exactly what your state requires. This is what makes this system so great. Most youth sports organizations already have overworked volunteers, who may question whether they have the time to get all of this done and to administrate it properly.
Protect Youth Sports has created a process where it is all done on the internet. It makes it very easy. A coach goes online, provides information within a database, signs an online form and Protect Youth Sports takes care of the rest.
Once the background check is done, usually with 48-72 hours, the results are available for the coordinator to see and make a decision about the appropriateness of the coach candidate.
For the organization serious about protecting children, Protect Youth Sports also has an online video training course concerning child safety, so coaches can receive quick training to recognize when a child may be being abused, and the requirements necessary to report the abuse to the appropriate authorities.
Once the training course is viewed by the coach, a certificate is available for print and it is documented that the course has been completed within the system.
Another great thing about Protect Youth Sports background checks is that the background checks are re-verified. Imagine doing a background check on a prospective coach, and getting the wrong information back. The risk is a good person may be unfairly accused. Protect Youth Sports provides a re-verification process that decreases the chances of this happening, so your youth sports organization can be assured they are receiving the most accurate, dependable information available.
The National Alliance for Youth Sports has even endorsed PYS. John Engh, chief operating officer said, ”Protect Youth Sports has demonstrated a unique awareness to the needs of youth sports organizations and has developed a very thorough process for running national background checks and re-verifying the accuracy of records.”
Coach background checks are increasingly being used by sports leagues, recreation centers, and children’s organizations due to the disturbing trend and increased reporting in the media regarding child sex abuse cases.
If you have questions about beginning a background check program for coaches, PYS even has a short video course explaining how it all works. Signing up for the course is easy and you can just go to their homepage at www.protectyouthsports.com and fill in the form with your name and email address.
The video links are then sent to your email box and you can discover how to protect the kids in your care using their state of the art system.
As a police officer, this writer is uniquely aware of the threats against children. Child predators are extremely adept at infiltrating organizations, gaining trust, and then victimizing children. Although most normal people would like to avoid thinking about this, our litigious society won’t allow it. There is a lawyer, judge and jury somewhere who will make your organization pay for ignoring this problem, especially when the internet and related technology is readily available to help you.
Youth sports exist to give our kids a great experience, to challenge them physically and help them grow into maturity. A sex abuse scandal will not only harm the child who is victimized for a lifetime, but will rob your sports organization of the hard earned trust it has worked so hard to achieve within the community. Do not allow this to happen to your athletes.
Protect them with a great background check program for your coaches and volunteers, and I recommend Protect Youth Sports to help you streamline the process.
The value of youth sports on a child’s development will vary depending on their experiences. Some kids will learn to enjoy competition in a healthy atmosphere that builds the emotional, physical and social skills necessary for their adult life and future development. They may learn to compete effectively with others, hone their skills and challenge themselves to achieve greater things. Their self confidence, poise under pressure and mental attitude could be affected for a lifetime and impact their future successes on and off the field.
But what happens to a kid that has a negative experience in youth sports? This can have as dramatic an affect as a positive experience. Instead of feeling more confident, they feel less confident. Instead of managing the pressures of life with poise, they avoid and distance themselves from others. Instead of developing a can do attitude, they are filled with thoughts that tell them they don’t’ measure up or will never be good enough. These are common and most kids will grow up and be just fine, eventually outgrowing or learning to deal with their insecurities.
A kids’ youth sports experience will certainly affect the rest of their lives one way or another, positive or negative. What about a kid that experiences sexual abuse? The emotional impact will last a lifetime and could even cause the abused child to perpetuate the cycle, by becoming the abuser. These are harsh realities of the world we live in and we need to limit these occurrences as best we can. Our kids have enough insecurities and negative thoughts to deal with, without the devastating impact of sexual abuse weighing them down.
The thought of a kid being sexually abused by a leader, mentor or coach is without a doubt terrifying. It causes us to feel a sense of disgust that leaves us unable to comprehend how someone could do that to a kid. That might be why we tend to avoid thinking about it, talking about it or preparing for it.
We spend a lot of time teaching kids what they need to learn to get better and be more successful, but are we teaching our volunteers and staff what they need to learn in order to protect our kids? The purpose of this article is to not only inform you about the reality of sexual abuse, but to also help you prevent this from happening in your league and organization.
First and foremost, you need to implement a Child Protection program and Policy. Your policy should require Training for all your volunteers, staff and employees to be educated on the realities of abuse and the signs to look for. Your policy should also require all volunteer, coaches and staff to pass a background check.
First, let’s start by telling our volunteers and staff the facts about sexual abuse and sexual abusers.
Facts about Sexual Abuse and Sexual Abusers:
- Sexual Molesters will seek access to children where protective barriers are low.
• Only 10% of sexual predators will EVER encounter the criminal justice system.
o As a result, your criminal background check – even if it works perfectly – will only identify a fraction of those who want to abuse children in your programs.
o Sexual abusers KNOW when there is nothing for you to find – even if you run a check.
o Background checks are important, but have limitations: NOT A SILVER BULLET!
o If a background check is ALL we do, our security blanket is the size of a place mat.
- 1 of 3 girls and 1 of 6 boys will be sexually molested before reaching age 18.
o THIS IS AN ISSUE OF EPIDEMIC PROPORTION … AND IS GROWING.
• 66% of molestation victims will not tell until adulthood (if ever).
• Male molesters preferring boys will have an average of 150 victims before prosecution.
• Male molesters preferring girls will have an average of 52 victims before prosecution.
• 85% of convicted molesters are men; 15% of convicted molesters are women.
• 90% of sexual abuse victims are abused by someone they know and trust.
o Amber alerts and the ‘snatch and grab’ are a fraction of sexual abuse occurrences.
o the greater risk is from those we allow coach our teams or parents
- Sexual molesters will groom children AND gatekeepers prior to sexual behavior.
o staff members and volunteer leaders are gatekeepers
o staff members and volunteer leaders MUST understand and recognize grooming process
- There is NO visual profile for a molester.
o most molesters appear helpful, trustworthy, kind and safe
o to recognize a molester, gatekeepers MUST understand and recognize grooming process
If education were as simple as providing a handout to our volunteers, coaches and staff that would be great; unfortunately that is not enough if we expect them to help us prevent abuse. Against this backdrop Protect Youth Sport has create online Child Safety Training that you can now use to conduct training with your volunteers. The training includes an interactive online video training, testing and certification, for awareness of sexual abuse and abusers and how to prevent and report abuse.
Background Checks are a must.
Background checks have become a standard practice in youth sports, as coach violence and sexual abuse and harassment have become more frequent occurrences.
First and foremost, background checks are necessary as a matter of safety:
• Discover previous arrest and convictions for sexual and/or violent offenses
• Protect your organization from legal liability and lawsuits
• Prevent allegations of negligent selection and hiring
A proper background check should be part of your risk management strategy, including documented protection policies, procedures and child abuse prevention training.
We are often asked by youth sports organizations, “What type of criminal background check should I do for my staff, employees and volunteers?” Protect Youth Sports has consulted with thousands of youth sports organizations to help them understand the types of criminal records sources. Protect Youth Sport has even developed an online consultation system, so you can view recommendations for criminal background checks in each state. When searching the “national” criminal database it?s important to understand what jurisdictions are included in the database, how often the records are updated, what identifiers are/are not given, what search parameters are used, and what compliance issues are associated with a database “hit” as it relates to the FCRA §613.
Protect Youth Sport’s recommendations include a criminal background check, as well as a “true” 50 states sex offender registries search with several states that must be searched by “name-only”, because some states do not provide date of birth on the offenders. A social security number verification is included to verify the correct name and date of birth of the applicant and to alert you to possible mis-matches between the name provided by the applicant and the name registered to the social security number. A mis-match could indicate that the applicant is attempting to hide their true identity.
Protect Youth Sports is one of very few companies serving the coach background check marketplace that offers an FCRA §613 compliant “national” criminal database search for youth sports. Protect Youth Sports sends “instant” results for “no-hit” records. For “hit” records there is a 24-48 hour process of re-verification, in which the county courthouse records are updated to the “national” criminal database records, prior to sending results back.
Protect Youth Sports makes recommendations for your state and also does a complete re-check of all background check hits, so you get the right information the first time, before you qualify or disqualify coaches from volunteering.
A background check can also have a pre-screening affect whereby repelling any would be offenders from even applying to work with the kids. Of course this will only repel those who have prior criminal records.
Youth sports decision makers must make sure to cover all the bases when it comes to protecting youngsters in their programs. When recruiting and evaluating volunteers, no youth sports administrator wants to strike out by appointing someone who may not be qualified for the job, or who puts children in danger. To help decision makers with these crucial responsibilities Protect Youth Sports, one of the nations’ premier background check providers, introduces an all new system for leagues and associations to totally manage their volunteer youth sports coaches background checks and training.
About Protect Youth Sports:
Coach Background Checks through industry expert Protect Youth Sports are designed to help leagues and youth sports officials implement and maintain a thorough background screening process and child abuse prevention program for volunteers, staff and employees. Preventing sexual predators and violent offenders from working with children and youth is our primary concern.
Many of the problems that youth sports leagues encounter with background checks are caused by low quality, instant checks and state-level-only background checks. Instant checks and state-level-only checks lead to missed records, incomplete records, out-of-date records and inadequate protection from sexual predators.
Protect Youth Sports has established a firm and reputable standing within the youth sports market for background screening. Benefitting from this very much proven history could not be any simpler, as over 5,000 organizations have found.
Call (877) 319-5587
Fifteen men allegedly looking to have sex with underage girls were arrested last weekend in an undercover sting in Florida, law enforcement authorities said.
The suspects were arrested between Thursday and Sunday and charged with traveling to meet a minor for sex or related crimes, during an extensive undercover operation conducted by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, along with state and federal officials.
“These men expressed specific desires to prey upon who they believed were innocent children,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Monday at a news conference.
Police said 12 of the 15 suspects responded to ads posted on Craigslist by authorities that had a similar theme “mom or dad seeking guidance for my daughter” for girls between 10 and 14 years old. A chat room was used in the other three cases.
“Some of the men even sent pornographic images of themselves to the detectives and made very specific requests about what they wanted these children to do to them,” Judd said.
When the suspects arrived at the undercover location, they were met, not by the children wearing lingerie as they had hoped, but by undercover agents in vests who placed the men under arrest.
Judd said one of the agents was shocked to discover that a suspect, 33-year-old Tommy Dupre, had been his son’s former baseball coach. ”This gentleman coached youth sports baseball in Lakeland. Our undercover sergeant recognized him because he coached his son 8-10 years of age,” Judd said.
The wife of Kevin Scott, 35, was shocked to hear the news of her husband’s arrest, telling police, “I never want to see him again, I don’t want my children see him again, I hope he rots in jail for life.”
For information on screening your coaches, click here