The primary responsibility of the CYO Basketball Program has always been to ensure the safety and protection of your children that you have entrusted to our care while offering a positive experience through athletic competition. The seemingly constant media headlines about Jerry Sandusky and other national and local coaches that have abused children are disgusting. They have reminded those of us that manage youth programs that updating our safety net is critical to ensuring the continued safety of our players.
First, it’s important to know that a lot has changed since Cardinal Sean O’Malley came to the archdioceses. EVERY person that comes into contact with children within the dioceses must complete the Protecting God’s Children (a child sexual abuse awareness) program. While most other youth programs have no such training, the CYO Basketball Program already has strict guidelines for coaches and volunteers that are intended to provide a safe environment for all players within the archdioceses. The Player Protection Program we have developed is in addition to the guidelines already in place within the archdioceses.
We have contracted with an expert in social services to fortify our safety net. The result was the development of a more comprehensive program that includes several layers of oversight coupled with an open and inclusive communications environment where our coaches, the players, and the payers’ parents all play a crucial role.
We have not done this because of any actual or rumored concerns within our program, or any CYO Basketball Program. We have done this to stay ahead of the predators among us that have sick and evil intentions for seeking access to our children.
The Player Protection Program consists of a five layered structure that has the following elements:
- An annual Coaches seminar that focuses on the latest information and techniques available to inform our excellent coaching staff to maintain awareness of child sexual abuse and the grooming techniques that predators use on victims and their parents
- A Coaching Code of Conduct that offers guidelines for how to best handle the situations that may occur during the season. Some of these may include guidance on mentoring troubled or at-risk children
- A questionnaire, interview, and evaluation process for new volunteer coaches and team helpers A background check through the state sponsored Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) process
- An environment of open communications where our players and their parents remain aware, vigilant and vocal about anything they may see or hear that is out of the ordinary or not in compliance with our guidelines
We are very proud of St Mary’s CYO Basketball Program and our outstanding coaches. We take the protection and safety of your children very seriously. We hope the tenants of our program will offer guidance to other youth programs within Franklin, our neighboring towns, and other parishes within the archdioceses.
If you have any questions or comments about our Player Protection Program, please contact Charlie Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.