The BSA’s brand new version of Youth Protection Training rolled out March 1, 2018. This new program, known as YPT-2, is mandatory for all registered BSA volunteers and employees. Because of the changes to this training, even those who have completed YPT in the past two years must still complete this new version. All leaders, staff, and adults accompanying units for more than 72 hours total must complete their training before participating in any Scouting activities.
“In Scouting, our first obligation is to provide a safe environment where we can foster character and leadership in the youth of our nation.” However, since risk is often part of our Scouting adventure, our first obligation is to provide a safe environment. That is what the National Council included in a 2018 news release.
No parent lets their child join Scouting expecting anything less than a safe program, one where Scouts are free from abuse. “We are heartbroken and outraged that there have been times when Scouts were abused, and we sincerely apologize to victims and their families,” BSA said in its release. For that reason and for the safety of all youth, BSA pledged: “We are committed to sustained vigilance and continuous efforts to improve and enhance our youth protection program,” and in cooperation with “our volunteers, partners and professionals, we will make Scouting a safe place for youth and families.”
Over many decades, BSA has “taken bold, innovative steps in establishing barriers to prevent child abuse. These barriers include two-deep leadership for all youth activities, mandating youth protection training for leaders, involving our chartered partners in the selection of leaders, and requiring mandatory reporting of any suspicious conduct with a youth to governmental agencies…. As our understanding of these threats has evolved, so has our approach to keeping youth safe. We continue to rely on leading experts and the latest research to help us better understand threats facing young people and to design barriers to abuse.”
Youth Protection: The Next Evolution
BSA explained that this next-generation youth protection program is a bold approach, but is “just one part of our ongoing effort to enroll the entire Scouting community in the fight against child abuse.” This includes the updated youth protection training, which can be found at my.Scouting, and was launched March 1, 2018.
The revised training “draws on research from experts in the field of child abuse and child maltreatment, as well as survivors, to identify the contributing factors and threats across the spectrum of child abuse including bullying, neglect, exposure to violence, physical and emotional abuse, as well as child sexual abuse.” The improved training blends “interviews from psychologists, law enforcement professionals and survivors, leaders and parents alike” to help Scouters “learn about the root causes of abuse, how to recognize types of abuse and how to respond.”
Updated Compliance Policies and Mandatory Training Requirements.
In addition to the updated training and resources, BSA announced these requirements:
- As of January 1, 2018, no new leader can be a registered without first completing youth protection training.
- As of January 1, 2018, no council, regional or national leader will be allowed to renew their registration if they are not current on their youth protection training.
- As of September 1, 2017, no unit may re-charter without all leaders being current on their youth protection training. Registrars no longer have the ability to approve charters without full compliance.
- Effective June 1, 2018, all adults accompanying a Scouting unit who are present at the activity for 72 total hours or more must be registered as a leader, including completion of a criminal background check and Youth Protection Training. The 72 hours need not be consecutive.
- Youth Protection Training is mandatory for every leader, even those who completed the previous program within the past two years. It needed to be completed by October 1, 2018, or before registering as a leader.
However these new policies and training are just a beginning. BSA “is also implementing a comprehensive communications strategy that will provide ongoing information, training and resources across every aspect of Scouting. This includes even more content in ScoutingWire, regular youth protection webinars, a youth protection newsletter, and Safety Moments to bring safety into all of our meetings with youth and adults alike. This information will continue to ensure that youth protection is always top of mind and that our parents and leaders are prepared to be proactive and decisive in recognizing, responding and reporting all forms of child abuse.”
How can those involved in Scouting report suspicions of inappropriate behavior?
The BSA has a dedicated 24-hour Scouts First Helpline (1-844-SCOUTS1 or 1-844-726-8871) available to report any suspected inappropriate activity. Contact local law enforcement immediately in any case of suspected inappropriate behavior.