Youth Safety Policy Working Group Annual Reports
The text of recently received Annual Reports are below, with the most recently received at the top and older reports below. To jump to a particular report, simply click the year listed below.
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The Youth Safety Policy Working Group (YSPWG) is established in the Youth Safety Policy and is under the care of Trustees. It consists entirely of ex officio members, some of whom represent the committees and staff members responsible for Yearly Meeting programs that serve youth; the remaining ex officio members represent Yearly Meeting leadership, Trustees, and the Supervisory Committee.
This year, the working group has only met by email. It has received reports from the Camping Program Committee and Junior Yearly Meeting that there have been no incidents in the preceding year to which the Youth Safety Policy applies. Overall, the policy has been working well.
The Camping Program Committee has asked that the working group consider changes to the two-adult guideline in the policy. Along with the Youth Programs Committee, it also asked that we seek legal advice on the transportation provisions in the policy. We received input from our attorneys on both these issues but have not yet had the opportunity to consider changes to the policy on these matters, which we expect to undertake in the coming year.
In addition, last summer, we received suggested revisions from our new attorneys to reflect recent changes in relevant laws. The suggested changes to the policy itself are minimal, and we need input from our programs whether those changes apply to our programs. The most extensive suggestions applied to our appendix summarizing pertinent laws. Before incorporating these suggestions, the working group would like to have an assessment of how these changes might affect our programs. We have heard that our camping programs have kept up with all of these changes and are in compliance with them. However, we have not had a chance to review these effects for all of our youth programs as a working group. So, in the coming year, we will also be doing that and expect to bring these suggested revisions to the wider body.
In the past few years, the routine practices of this working group have been evolving, and we hope that establishing some basic routines will help ensure that we get through our work in a timely way. We have found that any changes that we might propose to the policy really need to be brought to the Yearly Meeting no later than March Interim Meeting so that they can be implemented during the next camp season.
The Youth Safety Policy Working Group (YSPWG) is under the care of the Trustees. It meets at least once per year to review the current Youth Safety Policy and to discuss any youth safety concerns that may have arisen. The working group consists of staff and representatives of committees involved in youth and camp programs as well as the General Secretary, Presiding Clerk, Clerk of Supervisory and a representative of Trustees.
The working group had meetings by conference call on 2/11/2016 and 3/16/2016. In those meetings, we heard reports from each of the committees that provide youth programs as well as from the General Secretary. No relevant incidents were reported for the preceding year, and no proposals for revisions of the policy were made.
In the reports, we did hear:
- Suggestions for improvement in the background check process, which staff will address.
- The Youth Programs Committee has been discussing how mental health issues affect its programs and getting training for mental health first aid for staff and volunteers.
- Though not a big problem, Junior Yearly Meeting has some minor challenges with sign-in/sign-out procedures as well as planning staffing when it’s hard to predict how many children it will have in each age group. It is exploring program changes to help increase flexibility in staffing. The fluidity of staffing also poses challenges for training. Youth Programs Committee faces a similar challenge with Friendly Adult Presences.
- The General Secretary and Trustees have been exploring acquiring legal counsel for the Yearly Meeting for a variety of issues, including helping to ensure that we stay up-to-date on state laws relating to youth safety.
- A reminder that the policy includes a provision for allegations of behaviors outside of Yearly Meeting activities that raise concerns.
- A reminder that the policy provides a process for responding to allegations that have been made. Training on the Youth Safety Policy should cover this process.
- Forthcoming revisions to the Employee Handbook may suggest conforming changes to the Youth Safety Policy next year.
No report received.
No report received.