Child Protection

How the Y Creates Safe Spaces for Children and Teens

As an organization, we have taken the following actions to keep kids safe in our Y facilities, camps and programs and maintain the reputation of safety we have built during our 175-year history.

All Ys in the U.S. are required to implement child sexual abuse prevention practices and policies to remain a member in good standing with the National Council of YMCAs. These requirements include:

  • Completing a child abuse prevention self-assessment, administered by a Y-USA–approved vendor, at least every two years
  • Having a policy that requires criminal background checks for staff and volunteers
  • Providing and requiring training for staff and volunteers on preventing and responding to child abuse
  • Requiring staff and volunteers to report child abuse in accordance with applicable laws
  • Having a policy that requires screening all adults against a national sex offender registry and written protocol for how to respond when adults are identified as registered sex offenders
  • Reporting the following events to Y-USA:
    • Allegations and/or criminal charges of child abuse, child sexual exploitation, or child sexual misconduct involving a current or former YMCA staff, volunteer, or member (including incidents related to the YMCA and outside of the YMCA)
    • Allegations of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or sexual misconduct between youth participants in attendance at a YMCA and/or enrolled in YMCA activities.

YMCAs have access to resources through Y-USA to assist them in meeting these requirements.

  • Ys engage external experts in abuse prevention, such as Praesidium, which provides access to a comprehensive self-assessment as well as best practices in screening, training, supervision and reporting practices.
  • Passionate local Y leaders around the country facilitate peer-to-peer learning and continuously improve and strengthen Y abuse-prevention efforts. Specifically, we work alongside the Guardians for Child Protection--a collective of Y CEOs committed to activating the power of the Y and other youth-serving organizations to engage communities, improve internal operations and advance policy and environmental change to protect children from sexual abuse.
  • We work closely with strategic partners to advance federal policies that seek to protect children from various forms of abuse and neglect. Whether it’s passing the Child Protection Improvements Act (CIPA) into law or increasing funding for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), our advocacy efforts reflect the Y’s commitment to child safety.

Child Protection Resources: Be Our Ally in Protecting Children
Learn more about steps everyone can take to help create a culture of safety and prevent child sexual abuse.

Guardians for Child Protection
Darkness to Light 
Five Days of Action
The CDC: Preventing Child Sexual Abuse
National Child Advocacy Centers
Prevent Child Abuse NC 
NC Department of Public Safety 

Report An Incident
If you need to report an emergency situation involving child sexual abuse, please call 911.

Otherwise, please contact the appropriate local and state authorities to report suspected incidents of child sexual abuse. 

Contact Y-USA
If you suspect child sexual abuse has occurred at a Y facility or program in the U.S., please notify Y-USA by completing this form