A Message from Eagle Scout and Survivor Jason Lee
Fiction vs. Fact about the BSA’s Plan
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Our Commitment to Youth Safety
Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in our Scouting programs – it is our top priority. And today, Scouting is safer than ever before. We are aware safety is not a static issue, and as a result, the BSA is always looking for ways to improve our youth protection program to ensure we are utilizing the most up-to-date policies and procedures to protect children.
The BSA is pleased to work with the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice on the creation of a new Board seat that will be reserved for a survivor of past abuse in Scouting following the Effective Date of the BSA’s Plan of Reorganization. We intend to continue listening to survivors, evaluating our youth protection procedures, and working every day to make a positive impact on young people and communities across the country.
While any instance of abuse is one too many, it’s important to know that the vast majority of claims in the BSA’s financial restructuring case predate our modern youth protection policies. Specifically, 85% or more of the claims allege a first instance of abuse prior to 1990, and 50% or more of the claims allege a first instance of abuse prior to 1974.
The BSA has in place some of the strongest youth protection policies found in any youth-serving organization, which are continually evolving as informed by respected experts in the fields of child safety, law enforcement, and child psychology. The BSA’s multi-layered safeguards include the following measures, all of which act as barriers to abuse:
- Extensive, mandatory youth protection training for all volunteers and employees, with separate modules for youth and adults, that must be renewed every two years;
- Partnered with the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Foundation to educate and empower youth through the new “Protect Yourself Rules” videos. Through animated videos developed specifically for younger audiences, this program helps address abuse prevention and intervention in an approachable way by educating children to understand and recognize abuse and to empower them to get help any time they are made to feel uncomfortable;
- A leadership policy that requires at least two youth-protection trained adults be present with youth at all times during Scouting activities and bans one-on-one situations where adults would have any interaction alone with children – either in person, online, or via phone or text;
- A BSA team dedicated to addressing concerns raised about any individual in Scouting. The team is responsible for removing and banning individuals from Scouting, as well as reporting them to law enforcement when necessary;
- A thorough screening process for new adult leaders and staff including criminal background checks, with leaders and staff undergoing renewed background checks every five years;
- A ban on the use of recording devices/cell phones near bathrooms and shower houses; and
- The prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse to law enforcement.
The BSA also offers a 24/7 Scouts First Helpline (1-844-SCOUTS1) and email contact address ([email protected]) for help reporting suspected abuse or inappropriate behavior. For more information about the BSA’s youth protection policies, please visit Scouting.org/YouthSafety.