The national Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) has released a comprehensive report from two independent task forces – ‘Recommendations to the Amateur Athletic Union from the Youth Protections and Adult/Volunteer Screening Task Forces’ – and announced actions to implement steps to protect the well being of hundreds of thousands of young athletes that include requiring that all adults involved in AAU activities – including coaches, staff, and volunteers – undergo detailed background checks, according to an AAU press release. The full 31-page report is available at http://image.aausports.org/dnn/pdf/TFreportfinal.pdf. The report released by the AAU – one of the largest non-profit volunteer sports organizations in the United States – also calls for adopting clear policies and procedures designed to ensure that young athletes are never left alone with individual adults and requiring all AAU volunteers and staff to report any incidents of suspected child abuse to law enforcement and AAU officials. In the report, the task forces – the Youth Protection Task Force and the Adult/Volunteer Screening Task Force – were made up of nationally recognized experts in child protection and law enforcement and offered 42 recommendations for changes in AAU policies, procedures, and protocols that covered six broad subject areas: culture, protocols, screening, participation, training, and reporting. The historic child protection measures in the report included the following significant recommendations:
- Culture: The AAU should establish and foster a culture that clearly and explicitly makes child protection an overarching value and priority.
- Protocols: The AAU should adopt clear policies, procedures, and protocols to protect children from abuse and exploitation to the fullest extent possible, including preventing adults from being alone with children.
- Screening: The AAU should implement significant screening procedures for all adults who participate in AAU activities to identify and exclude individuals who may pose a threat to youths.
- Participation: Anyone who is prohibited from participating in an organization that serves youth or who violates the AAU’s child protection policies should be barred from participating in AAU activities.
- Training: The AAU should educate staff, adult volunteers, parents/guardians, and youth participants on safety protocols and appropriate behaviors to keep children participating in AAU activities safe.
- Reporting: All AAU volunteers and staff should report suspected child abuse to appropriate law enforcement authorities, child abuse hotlines, and AAU authorities.