Human Resources & Youth Protection IN ACTION

Continuing our series on the Six Elements of Organizational Impact here is

ELEMENT #4— Human Resources & Youth Protection

Having an effective youth protection policy proactively empowers an organization to be prepared to respond to abuse and harm and act in ways to protect youth and adults and the organization itself. McNary Group has expertise and passion for helping organizations continually improve and find solutions to seemingly intractable problems that can hinder comprehensive youth protection.  

Thus, we created a framework that includes Nine Domains of effective youth protection. 

  1. Culture & System
  2. Risk Management
  3. Knowledge & Training
  4. Youth Rights
  5. Boundaries & Behaviors
  6. Accountability & Responsibility
  7. Responding & Reporting
  8. Procedures & Policies
  9. Screening & Monitoring of Adults

Together, each of these nine domains aims to address key areas of youth protection.

Culture & System

We ensure that:

  • the organization’s existing culture, capabilities, and resources meet criteria for best practices in youth protection
  • the system of delivery of programs is examined and evaluated
  • unique cultural considerations are intentionally explored with a youth protection lens 

Risk Management

We ensure that:

  • proactive risk management strategies exist
  • youth protection resources and training are available and mandatory participation categories are established
  • policies address risks 
    • related to: the environment where programs are delivered, staff to youth ratios, response to abuse allegations, the understanding of youth protection policies of other organizations’ that are involved with the youth you serve, etc. 

Knowledge & Training

We ensure that:

  • education and training are prioritized and valued on a quarterly or annual basis 
    • related to: signs of abuse provided at orientation, grooming, and other relevant topics 

Youth Rights

We ensure that:

  • the inherent rights of children and adolescents within the organization are clearly stated
  • youth rights are the rights that everyone should have 
    • i.e., the right to safety, the right to choices, and the right to respect.
  • young people of any social, economic, or race category have rights, and this statement is lived at the organization
  • groups of youth that are more vulnerable to abuse/exploitation due to marginalization and structural racism are given unique and purposeful attention
  • rights are posted and referenced often

Boundaries & Behaviors

We ensure that:

  • acceptable and unacceptable behaviors and practices of anyone who works for the organization and directly with youth exist 
    • including: clear and regularly referenced codes of conduct, understanding of relationships and roles, description of special circumstances, etc.
  • clear and appropriate boundaries are communicated and procedures addressing signs or instances when boundaries are being violated are followed

Accountability & Responsibility

We ensure that:

  • the organization actively executes steps to fulfill their responsibilities to the youth they serve
  • accountability emphasizes the value and importance of communicating with, as well as soliciting feedback from key players about activities, expectations, and outcomes for young people impacted by the organization
  • roles and responsibilities in relation to daily practices of protecting youth are clear and carried out

Responding & Reporting

We ensure that:

  • organizations are ready to respond to risk and alleged or suspected abuse/neglect/trafficking
    • meaning that: mandated reporting laws are understood, confidentiality procedures are detailed, special training on the nature of disclosures and/pr impact of trauma have been implemented, leave procedures are established if alleged abuse happened at the organization, etc. 

Procedures & Policies

We ensure that:

  • policies are proactive and reactive
  • written policies are available to staff, volunteers, parent/guardians, and children/youth
  • all policies and procedures are provided by leadership and acknowledged by all staff
  • reviews and discussions about youth protection policies and procedures occur annually, at a minimum

Screening & Monitoring of Adults

We ensure that:

  • adults are screened before and during their engagement with youth
    • by: checking background references, establishing intentional practices to monitor interactions, etc.
  • policies are crafted and regularly enforced so adults monitor and hold each other accountability 

When it comes to our youth, there is always room for improvement and re-evaluation. 

Scan the QR code below or click here to take our self-assessment and see where your organization lies. 

McNary Group has been able to advance each of these domains in our local community through various partnerships. Namely, Louisville’s tutoring and mentoring program— Sowing Seeds with Faith. 

Case Spotlight: 

Sowing Seeds with Faith

Sowing Seeds with Faith (SSWF) empowers, equips, and engages the youth of the Greater Louisville Area to navigate college and career readiness through various pathways by setting high expectations, promoting accountability, providing structured support, and instilling values grounded in faith. SSWF aims to cultivate a culture that inspires a holistic approach in developing youth on their journey toward success and fulfillment.

As a youth-serving organization, SSWF understands the importance of the continual establishment and reestablishment of youth protective policy. In 2022, McNary Group contracted with SSWF to create a summer camp handbook.

The purpose of the handbook was to standardize summer camp administrative procedures, ensure the safety and security of camp participants, mitigate liability, and define the roles and responsibilities of camp staff and volunteers. 

In two phases of work, McNary Group was able to apply each domain of youth protection to create a lasting, foundational document for SSWF’s youth programming. 

Here is an overview of the handbook creation process: 

Phase 1: Planning and Assessment

  • Comprehensive review of the organization’s programs and existing policies
  • Prioritizing the essential youth protection policy categories that the organization requires 

Phase 2: Development of Policies and Procedures

  • Development of policies and procedures within the organization
  • Creation of a comprehensive handbook grounded in trauma-formed principles, including child protection policies, codes of conduct, and best practice responses related to incidents and non-compliance issues
  • Providing recommendations throughout the process
  • Development of a plan for dissemination, training, and accountability measures

McNary Group thanks Sowing Seeds With Faith for entrusting us to assist in their efforts of protecting our youth. It was a pleasure to collaborate within our community!

We would love to work with your organization as well.

Let’s get in touch!