Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center, the region’s leading resource to prevent abuse, protect children and heal families, is sharing safety tips for parents and caregivers to consider when booking camps, childcare and organized sports this season.
“Knowledge is power,” said Dr. Carole Swiecicki, Executive Director of Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center. “Helping prevent child abuse starts by making informed decisions, so asking questions beforehand can allow your child to have a wonderful, exciting and, above all, safe experience.”
It is important for parents and caregivers to ask the following questions before entrusting their child to summer camps, childcare programs, or after school programs:
Does the program conduct background checks on all employees?
How is staff screened?
Does the agency/program have a policy in place that no child is to be left alone with an adult?
Does the camp have ACA accreditation? (The American Camp Association evaluates the camp’s safety, health, program and camp operations.)
What is the ratio of staff to children?
What training does the staff receive to keep children safe?
Does this place have a child protection policy regarding how they report suspected abuse? Who monitors compliance?
Does the policy mandate reporting to all authorities?
How does the camp handle emergencies?
While cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, it is also important for parents and caregivers to consider recommended guidelines from health care professionals to ensure proper health and safety protocols are in place. Some suggested questions include:
What recommended health and safety actions are in place?
Will face masks be required at this program?
Can groups be kept small and distancing protocols observed?
Where will children play – pools, playgrounds, sports fields – and what are the local ordinances on those sites?
How will meals and food be served?
Does this place have procedures to check for signs and symptoms in children and employees daily upon arrival?
What policies are in place should a staff member or child test positive for COVID-19 and how are these monitored?
Does this place have substitutes available should a staff member get sick?
Dee Norton currently serves children and families who are victims of abuse at its 1061 King Street location. While the Center located at 677 Long Point in Mt. Pleasant is currently closed to the public, it is open to Dee Norton staff to provide enhanced telehealth services.
To learn more about how you can help prevent child abuse, visit www.deenortoncenter.org. The website also includes relevant pandemic resources, including tips for speaking with your child about the outbreak.
About Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center
The Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center is the region’s leading resource to prevent abuse, protect children and heal families. Primary services include forensic interviews, medical examinations and mental health assessments as well as immediate support and coordination. The center also provides evidence-based therapy to child victims and their families. For more information, visit www.deenortoncenter.org