Creating a Child Safe Environment

YMCA Child Safe Policy

Watertown Family YMCA offers programs and services to over 6500 children ages 6 months to 15 years in Jefferson County.

These include:

  • Day Care, Preschool, and SACC at 12 different sites through our Youth Development Branch.
  • Sports, Gymnastics, Fitness, Aquatics, Swim Team through our four branches including:
    • Carthage YMCA
      250 State St. Carthage
    • Downtown YMCA
      119 Washington St. Watertown
    • Fairgrounds YMCA 
      585 Rand Dr. Watertown

Parents place their trust in the YMCA to help their children thrive. Our core values: caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility are part of everything we do. Because of this, we place great value on creating the most child-safe environment possible.

The Watertown Family YMCA has more than 500 staff members and volunteers working with youth in many programs we offer. 

To keep in our programs safe, we take the following stpes in our screening of staff & volunteers:

  • Detailed application forms
  • Comprehensive interview process
  • Reference checks
  • Sex offender screening and criminal background checks
  • Internet Searches

Staff complete a child abuse prevention training program. Supervisors and managers complete additional training to further promote a child-safe environment. Supervisors and managers complete additional training to further promote a child safe environment. All staff members are mandated to report any suspected child abuse.

Staff are guided by a comprehensive protection plan which shapes the way we relate to children. This includes ensuring that staff and volunteers are not alone with a child. 

Child abusers can be parents. caretakers, friends, neighbors, or anyone who comes in contact with your child- even other youth. It takes everyone's help to stop the cycle of abuse.

Talk to your child about his or her experiences in YMCA programs, school, sports, or other activities.

Drop in on your child's programs.

Trust your instincts. Don't wait to tell us if something seems "strange." Speak up!

Watch for warning signs of abuse

  • Unexplainable bruising or other physical markings
  • Disturbed sleeping or eating patterns
  • Abrupt changes in behavior-anxiety, clinging, aggressiveness, withdrawal, depression
  • Fear of a certain person or place
  • Discomfort with physical contact
  • A child who abuses other children

Listen and watch for signs of your child receiving special attention that other children or teens are not receiving, including favors, treats, gifts, rides, increasing affection or time alone, particularly outside the activities of school, child care, or other activities.

Every once in a while. ask your child these questions

  • Is anyone scaring or threatening you?
  • Is anyone asking you to keep secrets?
  • Has anyone said anything to you that made you feel bad?
  • Is anyone touching you in a way you don't like?

Encourage your child to tell you or another trusted adult if anything happens to him or her.

Read our Staff Code of Conduct. If someone breaks it, let us know immediately.

The YMCA wants all children to be safe.

Unfortunately, child abuse does exist, taking many forms. 

Emotional- Threatening a child or using words that can hurt a child's feelings and self esteem; withholding love and support from a child.
Physical-Causing injuries to a child on purpose, such as bruises, burns, scars, or broken bones.
Sexual- Having sexual contact in any from with a child, including exposing, fondling, intercourse, pornography, or internet solicitation.
Neglect- Not providing children with enough food, clothing, shelter, medical care, hygiene, or supervision.

If you think a child is physically injured, seek out appropriate medical attention.
If you see signs of distress, withdrawal, or acting out, consider counseling for your child.
Talk to your YMCA director for assistance.
Child Child Protective Services or the police to report any abuse.