The safety of kids is a priority in Young Life. Our staff and volunteer leaders know they are responsible for modeling lives of hope and integrity.
Young Life has developed missionwide policies and procedures to ensure that kids are protected when they are with Young Life staff and/or leaders as well as when kids are part of Young Life-sponsored activities.
Young Life's Standard Practices for Keeping Kids Safe
- All Young Life staff and volunteer leaders go through a careful screening process that consists of an application, interview(s) and character references. Criminal background checks are completed on all staff and volunteers.
- As part of the screening process, staff and volunteer leaders are given access to our Staff Resources Site to read Young Life’s Faith and Conduct Policies. The policies include Conflict Resolution Guidelines and Young Life’s:
- The Faith and Conduct Policies are followed by an acknowledgment page where staff and volunteer leaders indicate they have read, believe in and agree to support the Statement of Faith and Mission Purpose Statement. This agreement also indicates they understand and agree to abide by Young Life's Faith and Conduct Policies.
- Applicants also complete a Background Questionnaire in which staff and volunteer leaders must disclose, as permitted by state law, any misconduct.
- Young Life is structured so that field staff and volunteer leaders all have trained supervisors.
- The Human Resources department trains new Young Life field staff on maintaining appropriate boundaries in relationships with kids. The Human Resources department also trains area directors on how to screen and train their volunteer leaders.
Creating an Atmosphere of Acceptance
At a time when bullying among middle school, high school and college students is a growing concern among parents and educators, Young Life seeks to have a positive impact in the communities of which we are a part. Young Life leaders model acceptance and love for all kids, and we encourage students involved in our programs to do the same.
The vast majority of youth suicides could be prevented if more young people developed trusting relationships with adults and sought help for themselves or for their suicidal friends. I have been a supporter of Young Life for more than thirty years and have seen the preventative benefits of the positive relationships that are formed between students and Young Life leaders. A very key element to youth suicide prevention is having a sense of belonging and Young Life provides that!
Dr. Scott Poland, Licensed Psychologist & Suicide Prevention Expert
When Kids Need Help
As Young Life leaders enter the world of kids, they witness firsthand the reality of adolescent struggles. Young Life leaders support kids who struggle with risky behaviors, depression, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and even death by suicide.
We take our work in caring for kids’ wellbeing through their struggles seriously. Our staff and volunteers receive training in the signs and symptoms associated with child abuse, teen suicide, self-harm, and other crisis situations. Staff and volunteers receive training related to appropriate crisis intervention steps. Additionally, there is training in the support they can offer to families under these stressful circumstances.
- We have a 24/7 crisis line that Young Life leaders can call to speak with a licensed professional with concerns about the safety of any student and advice toward the steps they can take to keep them safe.
- When warranted, those calls lead to a direct intervention with a call to 911 and/or a call to involve parents to support and keep their kids safe.
- When involving parents, we recommend that they seek professional help and offer referrals to support kids and families under stressful circumstances.
Adolescents who enter adulthood with positive mental health are those with coping skills and resilience in the face of stress and pressure. Studies show that one of the top contributors to resiliency in young people is a close relationship with a caring adult.
Young Life believes that all kids, particularly hurting kids, need caring adults who will listen without judgment. Young Life leaders are doing this every day. They enter the world of kids and cultivate friendships. Leaders seek to give kids safe spaces to be themselves, as well an adult friend who can help them manage the pressures they face, so kids can thrive in adolescence.
Keeping Kids Safe at Camp
Contact Young Life with any questions or concerns regarding safety.