Now that 2014 is over, it’s a good time to look at the abuse prevention strategies you put in place last year to see what worked and what you need to improve in 2015.
Start by looking at your achievements for 2014. Did you put new policies in place that are protecting the children and vulnerable adults in your care? Did you expand your background screening practices? Did you make it easier for employees and volunteers to report concerns? If you achieved these types of goals during the year, then congratulations!
Here are items to evaluate when taking stock of your year:
- Review your serious incidents from the past 12 months. Determine what went wrong and what you must do avoid a reoccurrence in 2015. Look for trends or ongoing issues that need to be addressed immediately.
- Assess any near misses – potential incidents that fortunately did not lead to abuse. Think through what led to the close call and what kept it from becoming serious. Did the avoidance occur by sheer luck, or because you have systems in place that prevented it from escalating?
- Consider your training needs. Did all your staff and volunteers complete abuse prevention training (and not only mandated reporter training)? Your employees and volunteers can protect those in your care from abuse only if they know what is expected of them.
- Evaluate your training system. Does your system allow you to easily track who has completed required trainings? This is now industry standard. Decentralized systems can lead to training requirements slipping through the cracks, leaving your organization vulnerable to incidents of abuse and charges of negligence.
- Examine your policies. Has your program developed policies that address the challenges faced by youth-serving organizations today? For example, do you have a sample electronic communications policy that speaks to texting, Facebook, Instagram, and similar popular forms of social media? Contact us for a sample policy for electronic communications.
- Review your screening procedures. Does EVERYONE who has access to your clients have a certain level of screening based on their level of access (i.e., janitors, front desk people, volunteers, interns, etc.)? At a minimum, are you ensuring your organization has run a criminal background check on staff and volunteers with access to your clients? Click here to learn more about best practices in background checks.
The entire Praesidium team wishes you the best on your abuse prevention efforts in 2015. Please contact us with questions or needs at 800-743-6354 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org