DISTRICT 7040 YOUTH PROTECTION POLICY

Revised January 2020
 
1. Statement of Conduct for Working With Youth
District 7040 strives to create and maintain a safe environment for all youth who participate in Rotary activities. To the best of their ability, Rotarians, Rotarians’ spouses and partners, and other volunteers must safeguard the children and young people they come into contact with and protect them from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
 
Rotary District 7040 Youth Protection Policy applies to all District activities that involve minors and other vulnerable persons. This is not limited to the Youth Exchange Program but is all inclusive including EarlyAct, Interact, RYLA, Rotary Adventures, Rotaract programs or any program involving youth.  It would include a club that uses local students who are not part of a formal Rotary Youth Program on a highway cleanup, or other project.
 
2. Definitions
Volunteer — Any adult involved with Rotary youth activities who interacts directly with youth, whether supervised or unsupervised
Youth program participant — Anyone who participates in a Rotary youth program, whether child or adult
 
3. Liability Insurance
The 7040 district clubs carry liability insurance with appropriate coverage and policy limits. This policy protects the organization from third-party claims and lawsuits alleging negligence by the organization, its employees, or its volunteers.
 
4. Club Compliance
The district governor is responsible for supervision and control of all youth activities in the district, including those associated with Rotary Youth Exchange. District 7040 will monitor all participating clubs and ensure that they comply with youth protection and Rotary Youth Exchange certification requirements.
 
All clubs that participate in Youth Programs must provide the district with a copy of the following for review and approval:
  • A signed compliance statement that the club is operating its program in accordance with District 7040 and RI policies
  • Confirmation that volunteers will be prohibited from contact with program participants until a written application, interview, reference check, a training module available in the RI Learning Center, and a vulnerable persons background check has been conducted and clearance for unsupervised contact with program participants has been issued.

A club that does not participate in any programs with youth must annually send a non-participation form signed by the club president to the Youth Protection Officer, copied to the District Governor.

5. Volunteer Selection and Screening
A government Best Practices Guide for screening volunteers can be found hereAll Rotarian and non-Rotarian volunteers interested in working with youth program participants must meet RI and district eligibility requirements. RI prohibits the membership and participation of any volunteer who has admitted to, been convicted of, or otherwise been found to have engaged in sexual abuse or harassment.
 
If a person is accused of sexual abuse or harassment and the law enforcement investigation is inconclusive, or if law enforcement declines to investigate, additional safeguards are necessary to protect any youth program participants with whom the accused may have future contact, as well as the accused. A person later cleared of charges may apply to be reinstated as a youth program volunteer. Reinstatement is not a right, and reinstatement to his or her former position is not guaranteed.
 
All Youth Program Rotarian and non-Rotarian volunteers that have direct, unsupervised contact with program participants must:
  1. Complete a volunteer agreement form.   A new application is required whenever information changes or after 3 years of no change, provided there is an annual signature update in the space provided to certify no change.
  2. Undergo an annual criminal background check that varies by the geographical regions of our District.  These checks are essentially obsolete the moment they are issued, necessitating an annual update.  Again, it's a deterrence measure and the search must encompass both criminal and sex offender registries.
  • Procedure for Canadian Rotary Volunteers to obtain the required Criminal Background Check:
    • Applications can be made to the local police departments.  Where available, the Vulnerable Sector (VS) check the first year, followed by annual Criminal Record Checks, or a third-party background check provider, is acceptable.  Information on myBackCheck is available on the district website.  This is an online system and can be used without going to a police department. 
  • Procedure for NY Rotary Volunteers to obtain the required Criminal Background Check:
  1. Be interviewed, preferably in person or by video conferencing.
  2. Provide a list of personal references with contact information (it’s recommended that references include no family members and no more than one Rotarian).
  3. Take a sexual abuse and harassment training course. Effective youth protection policies may not prevent all incidents, but they can support the young people participating in Rotary programs and reduce negative outcomes. An interactive learning module can be found in the Learning Center of RI. You must be logged into My Rotary to participate. If you prefer, an e-learning module is also available. If you’re a club president or Rotarian who works with youth in any way, this module will help you to apply and address youth policies in your club or district. The site enables you to print a certificate once you have completed all requirements. You, or your club must keep this certificate for records keeping along with the other documents in the 5-step process. The training is good for 3 years. It is a good idea to renew this at the same time as renewing a volunteer application.
  4. You can add the steps that a member has gone through to District Designations in a member's profile. See the file on the left about Member designations.
6. Training
District 7040 and member clubs may provide further youth-protection training and information on youth programs through training sessions, provision of documents, and online learning sessions.
 
7. Allegation Handling and Follow-Through
District 7040 takes all allegations of abuse or harassment seriously and will handle them in accordance with the Abuse and Harassment Allegation Reporting Guidelines.
 
The district will cooperate with all law enforcement agencies, child protective services, and legal investigations and will not interfere with official investigations when conducting its own independent review.
 
District 7040 may appoint a youth protection officer or district review committee to evaluate and review files, policies, and allegations regularly. The 7040 Youth Protection Officer is PDG Ariane Carriere. 
 
8. Travel by Youth
Youth travel outside of the local community must comply with youth protection policies. For all youth travel sponsored by District 7040 or its clubs, the following will be done before departure:
  1. Obtain written permission from the parents or legal guardians of program participants
  2. Give parents and legal guardians details about the travel, including locations, accommodations, itineraries, and the organizer’s contact information
  3. When traveling more than 150 miles, or 240 kilometers, from the residence, verify that program participants have adequate insurance, including benefits for medical services, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation of remains, and legal liability
9. District 7040 Youth Exchange Administration
The District 7040 Youth Exchange program, in collaboration with participating clubs, must develop and have a copy of its own administration program that is developed in accordance with RI practices and procedures. This also includes travel of Youth Exchange students.
 
10. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statement
As a global network that strives to build a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change, Rotary values diversity and celebrates the contributions of people of all backgrounds, regardless of their age, ethnicity, race, color, abilities, religion, socioeconomic status, culture, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
 
Rotary will cultivate a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture in which people from underrepresented groups have greater opportunities to participate as members and leaders.