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Letter: Child Protection in South Brunswick

Tom Libassi, Executive Director of South Brunswick Family YMCA

I would like to take a moment to talk to you about a very important subject – Child Protection.

For the past several years, I have been serving as co-Chair of the Child Protection Task Force for the NJ YMCA State Alliance. As you may know, all Ys are independent. The Alliance is the affiliation of all New Jersey Y's that discuss and address various issues facing many Y's.

As a result of the Child Protection Task Force, Ys across NJ have been implementing updated policies, procedures and guidelines to enhance the safety and protection our children. The policies cover everything from background checks, fingerprinting and references of Y employees and volunteers, to child abuse training, social networking, babysitting and outside contact, cell phone use, counselor ratios, and more.

In addition, the NJ Ys are collaborating with Darkness to Light to “…raise awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse by educating adults…” (http://www.d2l.org).

A fact that stands out: one in every four girls and one in every six boys is abused before the age of 18 years of age. The goal is to educate 5 percent of the adults in each community about child sexual abuse. Research indicates that 5 percent is the 'tipping point' when information begins to flow throughout the community.

Recently, the South Brunswick Township Council passed a resolution regarding criminal background checks for coaches across all township sports organizations.

Per the South Brunswick Patch article, “The new agreement means coaches of more than one team for the different township sports organizations will only need to get one background check instead of a different check for each sport they coach.”

I applaud the Township Council's efforts to continue to address child protection.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at 732-329-1150 ext. 205 or via email at tom@southbrunswickymca.org.

Respectfully,

Tom Libassi, Executive Director of South Brunswick Family YMCA

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