Youth Protection

 





You do not have to be a registered member or have a member ID to take Youth Protection training.

To take Youth Protection training go to MyScouting.org and create an account.

From the MyScouting.org portal, click on E-Learning and take the Youth Protection training.

Upon completion, you may print a certificate of completion to submit with a volunteer application or submit the completion certificate to the unit leader for processing at the local council.

When your volunteer application is approved, you will receive a BSA membership card which includes your member ID number. After you receive your membership card, log back into MyScouting, click on My Profile and update the system by inputting your member ID number. This will link your Youth Protection training records, and any other training, in MyScouting to your BSA membership.

The Boy Scouts of America places the greatest importance on creating the most secure environment possible for our youth members. To maintain such an environment, the BSA developed numerous procedural and leadership selection policies and provides parents and leaders with resources for the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Venturing programs.

Leadership Selection

The Boy Scouts of America takes great pride in the quality of our adult leadership. Being a leader in the BSA is a privilege, not a right. The quality of the program and the safety of our youth members call for high-quality adult leaders. We work closely with our chartered organizations to help recruit the best possible leaders for their units.

The adult application requests background information that should be checked by the unit committee or the chartered organization before accepting an applicant for unit leadership. While no current screening techniques exist that can identify every potential child molester, we can reduce the risk of accepting a child molester by learning all we can about an applicant for a leadership position—his or her experience with children, why he or she wants to be a Scout leader, and what discipline techniques he or she would use.

Required Training

  • Youth Protection training is required for all BSA registered volunteers.
  • Youth Protection training must be taken every two years. If a volunteer’s Youth Protection training record is not current at the time of recharter, the volunteer will not be reregistered.

Youth Protection Reporting Procedures for Volunteers

There are two types of Youth Protection–related reporting procedures all volunteers must follow:

  • When you witness or suspect any child has been abused or neglected—See "Mandatory Report of Child Abuse" below.
  • When you witness a violation of the BSA's Youth Protection policies—See "Reporting Violations of BSA Youth Protection Policies" below.

Mandatory Report of Child Abuse

All persons involved in Scouting shall report to local authorities any good-faith suspicion or belief that any child is or has been physically or sexually abused, physically or emotionally neglected, exposed to any form of violence or threat, exposed to any form of sexual exploitation, including the possession, manufacture, or distribution of child pornography, online solicitation, enticement, or showing of obscene material. You may not abdicate this reporting responsibility to any other person.

Steps to Reporting Child Abuse

  1. Ensure the child is in a safe environment.
  2. In cases of child abuse or medical emergencies, call 911 immediately. In addition, if the suspected abuse is in the Scout's home or family, you are required to contact the local child abuse hotline.
  3. Notify the Scout executive or his/her designee.

Reporting Violations of BSA Youth Protection Policies

If you think any of the BSA's Youth Protection policies have been violated, including those described within Scouting's Barriers to Abuse, you must notify your local council Scout executive or his/her designee so appropriate action can be taken for the safety of our Scouts.

Scouting's Barriers to Abuse

Scouting's Barriers to Abuse

The BSA has adopted the following policies for the safety and well-being of its members. While these policies are primarily for the protection youth members, they also serve to protect adult leaders. Refer to the Guide to Safe Scouting, contact your local council, or email youth.protection@scouting.org for more information.

  • Minimum two-deep leadership on all outings required. Two registered adult leaders, or one registered leader and a parent of a participating Scout or other adult, one of whom must be 21 years of age or older, are required for all trips and outings. Appropriate adult leadership must be present for all overnight Scouting activities; coed overnight activities – even those including parent and child – require male and female adult leaders, both of whom must be 21 years of age or older, and one of whom must be a registered member of the BSA.
  • One-on-one contact between adults and youth members prohibited. In any situation requiring a personal meeting, such as a Scoutmaster's conference, the meeting is to be conducted in view of other adults and youths.
  • Separate accommodations for adults and Scouts required. When camping, no youth is permitted to sleep in the tent of an adult other than his or her own parent or guardian. Councils are strongly encouraged to have separate shower and latrine facilities for females. When separate facilities are not available, separate male and female shower times should be scheduled and posted. Likewise, youth and adults must shower at different times.
  • Privacy of youth respected. Adult leaders must respect the privacy of youth members in situations such as changing clothes and taking showers at camp, and intrude only to the extent that health and safety require. Adults must protect their own privacy in similar situations.
  • Inappropriate use of cameras, imaging, or digital devices prohibited. While most campers and leaders use cameras and other imaging devices responsibly, it has become very easy to invade the privacy of individuals. It is inappropriate to use any device capable of recording or transmitting visual images in shower houses, restrooms, or other areas where privacy is expected by participants.
  • No secret organizations. The Boy Scouts of America does not recognize any secret organizations as part of its program. All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders.
  • No hazing. Physical hazing and initiations are prohibited and may not be included as part of any Scouting activity.
  • No bullying. Verbal, physical, and cyber bullying are prohibited in Scouting.
  • Youth leadership monitored by adult leaders. Adult leaders must monitor and guide the leadership techniques used by youth leaders and ensure that BSA policies are followed.
  • Discipline must be constructive. Discipline used in Scouting should be constructive and reflect Scouting's values. Corporal punishment is never permitted.
  • Appropriate attire for all activities. Proper clothing for activities is required. For example, skinny-dipping or revealing bathing suits are not appropriate in Scouting.
  • Members are responsible to act according to Scout Oath and Law. All members of the Boy Scouts of America are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the principles set forth in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Physical violence, theft, verbal insults, drugs, and alcohol have no place in the Scouting program and may result in the revocation of a Scout's membership.
  • Units are responsible to enforce Youth Protection Policies. The head of the chartered organization or chartered organ-ization representative and the local council must approve the registration of the unit's adult leader. Adult leaders of Scouting units are responsible for monitoring the behavior of youth members and interceding when necessary. The parents of youth members who misbehave should be informed and asked for assistance.
  • Mandatory reporting of child abuse. All involved in Scouting are personally responsible to immediately report to law enforcement any belief or good faith suspicion that any child is or has been abused or exploited or endangered in any way. No person may abdicate this reporting respon-sibility to any other person.
  • Social media guidelines. The policy of two-deep leadership extends into cyberspace. Another adult leader should be copied on any electronic communication between adult and youth member.

Violations of any BSA's Youth Protection policies must immediately be reported to the Scout executive.

Digital Privacy

A key ingredient for a safe and healthy Scouting experience is the respect for privacy. Advances in technology are enabling new forms of social interaction that extend beyond the appropriate use of cameras or recording devices (see “Scouting's Barriers to Abuse”). Sending sexually explicit photographs or videos electronically or “sexting” by cell phones is a form of texting being practiced primarily by young adults and children as young as middle-school age. Sexting is neither safe, nor private, nor an approved form of communication and can lead to severe legal consequences for the sender and the receiver. Although most campers and leaders use digital devices responsibly, educating them about the appropriate use of cell phones and cameras would be a good safety and privacy measure. To address cyber-safety education, the BSA has introduced the age- and grade-specific Cyber Chip program, which addresses topics including cyberbullying, cell-phone use, texting, blogging, gaming, and identity theft. Check it out.

BSA Social Media Guidelines


The "three R's" of Youth Protection

The "three R's" of Youth Protection convey a simple message for the personal awareness of our youth members:

  • Recognize situations that place you at risk of being molested, how child molesters operate, and that anyone could be a molester.
  • Resist unwanted and inappropriate attention. Resistance will stop most attempts at molestation.
  • Report attempted or actual molestation to a parent or other trusted adult. This prevents further abuse and helps to protect other children. Let the Scout know he or she will not be blamed for what occurred.

Key Resources

State Statutes on Child Welfare
Reporting requirements for child abuse differ from state to state. The Child Welfare Information Gateway provides access to information and resources on a variety of topics, including state statutes on child abuse. This site is not operated by the Boy Scouts of America.

Guide to Safe Scouting
The purpose of the Guide to Safe Scouting is to prepare adult leaders to conduct Scouting activities in a safe and prudent manner.

It Happened to Me: Cub Scout Meeting Guide
Video Facilitator Guides. A sample letter to parents and guardians as well as English and Spanish meeting guides for facilitators' use when showing the age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention video.

A Time to Tell: Troop Meeting Guide
Video Facilitator Guides. English and Spanish meeting guides for facilitators' use when showing the age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention video.

Personal Safety Awareness Meeting Guide (Venturing Program)
Video Facilitator Guides. A sample letter to parents and guardians as well as English and Spanish meeting guides for facilitators' use when showing the age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention video.

Youth Protection Training Facilitators Guide
Video Facilitator Guides.

Cyber Chip
To help families and volunteers keep youth safe while online, the BSA introduces the Cyber Chip. The Scouting portal showcasing Cyber Chip resources includes grade-specific videos for each level.

Youth Protection Champions
To address the need for Youth Protection–specific volunteers at all levels, the BSA has implemented its new Youth Protection Champions program. These volunteer champions will be the key drivers of Youth Protection at their assigned levels.

Camp Leadership ... A Guide for Camp Staff and Unit Leaders
Brochure for unit leaders and camp staff who are responsible for providing a safe and healthy camp setting where Scouts are free from the worries of child abuse.

ScoutHelp
Support is available for victims of past abuse.

Youth Protection Mission Statement

True youth protection can be achieved only through the focused commitment of everyone in Scouting. It is the mission of Youth Protection volunteers and professionals to work within the Boy Scouts of America to maintain a culture of Youth Protection awareness and safety at the national, regional, area, council, district, and unit levels.