Resources

Youth Program Sample Code of Conduct

S A M P L E This form may be adapted to use with preteen or teenage participants in your program. You may wish to make the language less formal or the vocabulary less sophisticated, depending on the developmental stage of the young people in your programs. You might also wish to add or subtract … Continued

Key Principles in Youth Protection: Considerations and Action Steps

 NOTE: This article includes excerpts from Chapter 6 of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center’s book, EXPOSED: A Legal Field Guide for Nonprofit Executives-2nd Edition. The Center is deeply grateful to Mark E. Chopko for his valuable contributions to this article and EXPOSED. Nonprofit leaders often seek ‘best practices’ or standards for excellence for which to … Continued

Cyberbullying & Cyber Threats to Young People

By Lexie Williams In August of 2009, a nonprofit college preparatory day school in Los Angeles was sued for $100 million dollars by a student’s parents following a case of on-site cyberbullying. The incident occurred when nine students accessed another student’s personal website from school computers and left death threats. The lawsuit alleged negligence committed … Continued

Vital Partners in Youth Protection: Engaging Parents and Caregivers

By Emily Stumhofer You’ve seen it in the news or heard about it through the neighborhood gossip chain, but you hope you’ll never hear the same news again: an appalling allegation of child abuse is uncovered at a trusted nonprofit. Almost anyone would feel repulsed, devastated, or enraged at such news, but perhaps the news … Continued

Protecting Vulnerable Populations

Attend this webinar to learn about best practice strategies for protecting members of vulnerable populations from harm caused by criminal acts, negligence and accidents. In addition to exploring best practice” approaches learn about critical, evolving challenges facing leaders of nonprofits that serve vulnerable clients. If your nonprofit serves children, the elderly or persons with disabilities, you won’t … Continued

Principles of Youth Protection

What are the conditions that allow children and youth to be abused by individuals working as employees and volunteers in nonprofit programs? What strategies are useful to nonprofits that want to lessen the opportunity for abuse by staff members? This Web Seminar introduces viewers to the Seven Principles of Child and Youth Protection. These principles … Continued

Managing Young Service Recipients: Effective Discipline and Control

Across the country, youth-serving nonprofits work hard to offer meaningful, enriching programs for kids of all ages. Concerned about the possibility of harm to service recipients, many organizations have focused intently on activities that reduce the likelihood that an adult caregiver will harm a young person. There is compelling evidence that these efforts are paying … Continued

Responding to Allegations of Abuse

Nonprofits that serve vulnerable populations (including children, the elderly and persons with disabilities) work hard to deliver vital services without inadvertently causing harm. Yet in addition to working hard to prevent harm, every nonprofit that works with vulnerable clients should develop a plan of action in the event the unthinkable happens. This Webinar provides a … Continued

Kids Matter: Managing the Risk of Bullying

October 28, 2015 The Fall 2015 issue of the Center’s periodic newsletter, Risk Management Essentials, is now available. This edition focuses on child safety in nonprofit organizations, particularly youth-serving organizations. One of our talented summer interns, Lexie Williams, wrote the cover article on ‘Cyberbullying & Cyber Threats to Young People.’ This hot topic receives more … Continued

Waivers and Young Participants

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Except in very rare instances*, a contract signed by a minor** is voidable by the minor until he or she reaches the age of majority. A “voidable” contract is legally binding on both parties unless the minor chooses to void the contract, at which time it will no longer be enforced. … Continued

The Essence of Youth Protection: Rules, Reporting and Consequences

By John C. Patterson Organizations are obsessed with ferreting out sexual predators and preventing them access to young people. Unfortunately, in their zeal to do this, organizations focus too much on the sexual predator, and not enough on the safety of the children they want to protect. Nearly every organization that offers services to children … Continued

Conquering the Fear of Scrutiny

By Melanie Lockwood Herman I Would Prefer That You Not Look To err is human. And to fear scrutiny of our shortcomings is human nature. Although the popularity of reality TV shows suggests otherwise, most people value their privacy and would prefer to keep television cameras out of their homes. It should not be surprising … Continued

Finding Danger in What Lies Beneath

By Melanie Lockwood Herman While I agree with the saying, “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” I’ve discovered that books with clever titles* are often great reads. I’ve been reading a fascinating new book this week titled “Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things,” by Rick Smith and Bruce … Continued

The Perfect Ride

By Melanie Lockwood Herman “Riding on a motorcycle can make you feel joyous, powerful, peaceful, frightened, vulnerable, and back out to happy again, perhaps in the same ten miles. It is life compressed, its own answer to the question “Why?” — Melissa Holbrook Pierson, The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles. On Sunday, September … Continued

Tough Lessons for Organizations Serving Vulnerable Clientele

By Melanie Lockwood Herman Last week’s verdict in the criminal case against Jerry Sandusky offers a sobering reminder about the risk of sexual misconduct or abuse facing every nonprofit that provides services to vulnerable clientele, including children, individuals with disabilities and the elderly. While it remains true that vulnerable service recipients are statistically safer while … Continued

8 Essential Words

By Melanie Lockwood Herman A few days ago I was reminiscing about the dinner table of my childhood with a close friend. Our conversation about language led me to recall a “word of the day” game that I played with my siblings and parents. Each evening one of the kids was expected to show up … Continued

It’s Hard to Talk about Child Abuse

By Erin Gloeckner and Melanie Lockwood Herman Child sexual abuse is so repulsive, that it is truly difficult to talk about. It is painful to admit that any person would harm a child in such a vulgar, intimate way. The sad truth is that we need to talk more about child abuse in order to … Continued

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

Risk Management Strategies for Nonprofits Serving Young Adolescents If youth is the season of hope, it’s often so only in the sense that our elders are hopeful about us; for no age is so apt as youth to think its emotions, partings, and resolves are the last of their kind.  Each crisis seems final, simply … Continued

The Essence of Youth Protection: Rules, Reporting and Consequences

The Essence of Youth Protection: Rules, Reporting and Consequences By John C. Patterson Organizations are obsessed with ferreting out sexual predators and preventing them access to young people. Unfortunately, in their zeal to do this, organizations focus too much on the sexual predator, and not enough on the safety of the children they want to … Continued

Child Pornography: Not Our Problem?

By John Patterson, Senior Program Director Recently, we learned of several youth-serving organizations that had employees or volunteers charged with Internet crimes against children. The most common crime was possession or distribution of child pornography. Most often the incriminating evidence was found on the personal computers of the individuals charged. Some cases had images of … Continued

Knee-Jerk Risk Management?

by John C. Patterson Should FBI criminal history record checks be required of individuals who work with children? On the surface, the answer to this question would appear to be a resounding yes. Further analysis, however, reveals that a more conditional endorsement of criminal history record checks is warranted. First, we should state for the … Continued

Preventing False Accusations of Child Sexual Abuse

Recently there was a story in The Washington Post about a Montgomery County, MD schoolteacher who had been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior by seven sixth grade students. The teacher was immediately suspended and his life was turned upside down. Upon closer investigation, it was revealed that one of the students, upset over being disciplined, … Continued

Protecting Vulnerable Clients from Abuse

Protecting Vulnerable Clients from Abuse By Mark E. Chopko, Esq.

Take Children Safely Out to the Ballgame

Organized sports and recreation can improve physical fitness, coordination, self-discipline and teamwork, but these beneficial activities put participants at risk for injury unless precautions are in place. Half of organized sports-related injuries are preventable, reports the National SAFEKIDS Campaign. It’s a matter of protecting bodies while they are still growing and developing motor and cognitive … Continued

Play by the Rules or Leave

Violence cannot build a better society. Disruption and disorder nourish repression, not justice. They strike at the freedom of every citizen. The community cannot‹it will not‹tolerate coercion and mob rule. — Commission on Civil Disorder, 1968 Violence pervades the lives of America’s youth… Surveys document that today’s youth are aware of violence and feel less … Continued

How Lifestyle Figures in an Appropriate Mentor Match

By John C. Patterson There is a fine line between gathering the necessary information for making the appropriate match and infringing on the privacy of all parties involved. Yet, the parents’ right to set limits on who they feel is an acceptable match for their child requires information about the lifestyle of the mentor matched … Continued

Perspectives on Gangs and Gang Violence

The stereotypical media image for youth gangs is only partially accurate. According to the Justice Department, a gang is a well defined group of youths between 10 and 22 years old.” To be considered a “youth gang” a group must be involved in a pattern of criminal acts. The criminal acts, especially acts of violence, … Continued

Code of Conduct Sample

S A M P L E This form may be adapted to use with preteen or teenage participants in your program. You may wish to make the language less formal or the vocabulary less sophisticated, depending on the developmental stage of the young people in your programs. You might also wish to add or subtract … Continued

Planning for Summer Fun

Planning for Summer Fun By Michael Gurtler The beginning of the summer swim season is just around the corner. Many pools, beaches, lakes and ponds will see high rates of use over the summer weeks. In addition, many nonprofit organizations will sponsor special summer events that involve swimming and other forms of water-inspired recreation. While … Continued

Background Checks, Screening and Your Nonprofit

Melanie Lockwood Herman The term “background check” means different things to different people. Some nonprofit leaders use the term loosely to refer to a variety of screening tools, such as criminal history background checks, credit checks, reference checks, or the verification of prior employment and higher education. One former client initially told me that her … Continued