Working Together to Keep Kids Safe

Our commitment to child abuse prevention

We want all children and teens to be safe. Unfortunately, child abuse does exist, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and neglect.

FACT: Most abuse happens by people whom youth know and trust. Abusers can be caretakers, friends, neighbors, activity leaders, parents relatives, and even other youth.

FACT: Although rare, every major youth-serving organization in the country has had incidents or allegations of abuse by a staff member, volunteer or program participant.

YMCA staff have open conversations with the children in our care about personal safety to help them recognize and avoid potentially abusive situations. We encourage children to tell an adult if someone is bothering them or touching them in a way that they don’t like. We emphasize respect for yourself and for others in all of our programs.

here's what we do to keep your child safe:

  • We thoroughly screen staff and volunteers, including completing criminal background checks.
  • We train all staff in recognizing and preventing abuse.
  • We carefully supervise and monitor our programs.
  • We talk to children about appropriate and inappropriate touching and how to respond.
  • We have a “rule of three” policy to prevent staff and volunteers from being alone with a child or teen where others cannot observe them.
  • We have policies that discourage staff contact with children and teens outside of YMCA programs.

We believe that quality programs for youth require open, ongoing communication between families and staff.

It takes everyone's help to stop abuse.

Parent and caregiver resources

Florida Abuse Hotline
1-800-96-ABUSE (962-2873)
Fax: 1-800-914-0004
TTY: 1-800-955-8771
You will be asked for names and identifying information about the victim, the alleged perpetrator, and witnesses (if available), and for a brief description of the abuse.

FL Department of Children and Families
Offers detailed information on how to report abuse, what DCF needs to know, and mandated reports.

Lauren’s Kids
Interactive tool that provides language and activities for you and your child.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

if you suspect your child, or any child you care about, has suffered abuse, take action. The YMCA is here to help. Contact us for any questions or help with the reporting process. Call our administrative office at 850-432-8327.

Strategies for parents

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

Stay in close communication with your child’s caregiver and program leaders.

Trust your instincts. If something seems “strange” or “off,” speak up.

Listen and watch for signs that your child is receiving special attention that others aren’t, such as favors, treats, gifts, rides, increasing affection or time alone, especially outside of the typical activities of school, child care and extracurricular activities.

Watch for warning signs of abuse:

  • Unexplainable bruises or other physical marks.
  • Disturbed sleeping, eating, or bathroom behavior and patterns.
  • Sudden changes in behavior, such as anxiety, clinging, aggressiveness, withdrawal, depression.
  • Fear of a certain person or place.
  • Discomfort with physical contact.
  • A child who abuses other children.

Occasionally ask your child or teen these questions:

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

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

Our Mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.