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.
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.
New to Scouting? Click here to login and take Youth Protection training .
You do not have to be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America to take Youth Protection training.
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.
- 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.
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 that anyone could be a molester.
- Respond when someone is doing something that goes against your gut or against the safety guidelines.
- Report attempted or actual molestation or any activity that you think is wrong to a parent or other trusted adult.
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
- Ensure the child is in a safe environment.
- 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.
- 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.
- Find your local Scout executive.
- The Incident Information form can be accessed here .
- For more information on incident reporting, click here.
NEW Youth-on-Youth Training Materials
The Boy Scouts of America places the greatest importance on creating the safest environment possible for our youth members. To that end, BSA’s ScoutingU has created some additional Youth Protection training to professionals, volunteers, and leaders regarding the prevention of youth-on-youth incidents that might occur within the context of Scouting, especially in a camping or overnight setting. It is designed to help prepare adult leaders to prevent and appropriately respond to these incidents.
This informational document with an accompanying PowerPoint presentation for BSA leaders, parents, volunteers, and professionals should be delivered at the council, district, or unit level by a Youth Protection Champion, training chair, district chair, district executive, or other appropriate Scout leader to leaders for camping and overnight activities.
Suggested training opportunities include:
- Existing facilitator-led Youth Protection training sessions
- Pre-camp leaders’ meetings for summer camp and first-time leaders’ meetings at all outings
- Camp schools
- Scout executives’ and district executives’ trainings on responding to youth protection incidents
- Other training events that include the “Youth Protection Training for Volunteer Leaders and Parents” DVD