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, under the care of Trustees, meets at least once a year to remind ourselves of the Youth Safety Policy (YSP) and how it applies, consider how well the YSP and related processes are working, and identify any improvements to the policy and related processes that might be needed. The policy can be found in Appendix D of the Manual of Procedure. While the online version of this appendix has not been updated to reflect a change approved in 2020, the printed 2020 Yearbook contains that change, which was to include an introductory paragraph to the statement of purpose.
The current members of the working group are Julie Taylor (Clerk of Camping Program Committee); Alexandra “Alex” Bean and Caroline O. “Amrit” Moore (Co-Clerks of Junior Yearly Meeting); Ellen Arginteanu (Co-Clerk, Religious Education Committee), Adrian Bishop and Ramona Buck (Co-Clerks of Supervisory Committee); Carlotta Joyner and Kathryn “Katy” Schutz (Trustees); Annalee Flower Horne and Rebecca “Becka” Haines Rosenberg (Co-Clerks of Youth Programs Committee); Stephanie “Steph” Bean (BYM Presiding Clerk); Brian Massey (Camping Program Manager); Khalila Lomax (STRIDE Coordinator); Lexi “Sunshine” Klein (Youth Programs Manager); and Wayne Finegar (Acting General Secretary).
The current membership reflects a decision by the working group, approved by Trustees, to add the position of STRIDE Coordinator to those represented on the working group. This addition will be reflected in future revisions of the Manual of Procedure in the Trustees section.
We drafted and proposed to the Yearly Meeting that the youth safety policy be expanded to incorporate procedures to protect youth and staff in the increasingly more common online gatherings. The following language was approved at Third Month Interim Meeting and will be incorporated in future revisions of the Manual of Procedure.
During BYM-sponsored youth events that take place online, care should be taken to abide by all previous portions of this policy, especially those relating to staffing and youth worker interactions. Youth workers should be screened according to this policy before participating in online BYM youth events. Private one-on-one interactions between youth and youth workers remain prohibited and at least two adults must be present during the whole of any online BYM youth event to ensure that the possibility of private one-on-one interaction is minimized. Youth workers should continue to act responsibly when interacting through active (video, calls, chat) or inactive (content filtering, social media posting, or any other youth-accessible forum use) mediums with youth on any online, virtual, and/or long-distance platforms.
For any BYM program that wishes to hold online youth events, program-specific policies in the following areas must be developed and distributed to participants based on their role:
- Registration procedures that ensure youth only attend with parent/guardian consent.
- Rules for the setup and use of any specific web application or software used to facilitate the program, to minimize risk of harm to youth, recognizing that the features and risks of each application are different.
- Procedures for managing disruptive behavior, including malicious interruptions (like "Zoom-bombing").
- A photo and recording consent policy and procedure.
The working group is concerned that the current policy should be expanded, or clarified, to ensure that it addresses child abuse more broadly than just sexual abuse. We are working with Trustees on a definition of abuse that includes intentional emotional, physical, or sexual harm. A revised policy document would define the terms required and describe procedures for ensuring safety as well as mechanisms for internally and, as required, externally reporting any instance of suspected or known abuse. We anticipate that it would specifically address responses to racist behavior.
In our discernment on these matters, we have considered the BYM queries on anti-racism.
We encourage everyone in the BYM community to let us know of any incidents or situations that suggest a need for revisions to the youth safety policy.
The Youth Safety Policy Working Group, under the care of Trustees, meets at least once a year to remind ourselves of the Youth Safety Policy (YSP) and how it applies, consider how well the YSP and related processes are working, and identify any improvements to the policy and related processes that might be needed. The policy can be found in Appendix D of the Manual of Procedure (https://www.bym-rsf.org/publications/mop/youthsafety.html).
The Working Group consists of ex officio staff and members of committees with knowledge about the BYM programs that serve youth (Camping Program Committee, Religious Education Committee, Junior Yearly Meeting, Youth Programs Committee, Camping Program Manager, and Youth Programs Manager); Yearly Meeting leaders (BYM Presiding Clerk and General Secretary); and representatives from Trustees and Supervisory Committee.
This year, we met over the Internet twice (in November and May) and conducted other business by email. We decided the policy would be improved by adding some introductory language to state more clearly the purpose of the policy. We proposed adding the following language to the first paragraph of the policy statement.
“The purpose of this document is to establish a policy to keep children and youth in Baltimore Yearly Meeting (BYM) programs safe from abuse, procedures for ensuring that safety, and mechanisms for reporting any instance of suspected abuse.”
This addition was approved by Supervisory Committee, in the absence of a Third Month Interim Meeting. It was reported to Sixth Month Interim Meeting and will be reflected in subsequent revisions of the Manual of Procedure.
The Working Group is considering the need for additional language to address BYM-sponsored online activities. That language might describe the risks uniquely associated with this medium, and BYM’s responsibility and plans to mitigate them. We are considering that it might be useful to indicate the need for more detailed guidance and to highlight key components of it, such as adult permission for youth participation, the number of adult participants needed in online meetings, software-specific program settings to protect against inappropriate access to online events and behavior of participants, and recordings and photographs.
During this year, the Working Group did not specifically consider the BYM anti-racism queries in our deliberations. We expect to do so in the future.
Carlotta Joyner, Trustees, Clerk
No report received.
No report received.
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.