January is officially behind us. Give yourself a big pat on the back for making it through the influx of January Joins! While keeping those members engaged and connected is likely top of mind, are you also making safety a priority?
If you’re like most YMCAs, you have a formal policy in place to protect your staff, volunteers, members, and program participants from sex offenders. You’re likely doing background checks on staff and volunteers. But what do you know about the countless members that walk through your doors each day?
With members outnumbering staff 270:1, it’s not as easy to keep tabs on who could be putting others at risk. Each year, between 10,000 to 20,000 registered sex offenders are released back into communities. With the YMCA being the largest child care provider in the US, it’s particularly important to stay up to date on who shouldn’t be there, since 67% of all victims of reported sexual assault are under the age of 18.
I work with YMCAs nationwide to ensure that they have the tools to easily keep tabs on registered sex offenders. Many of them are running checks on their membership database vs. their state registry. While that’s a great first step, they are shocked to find out that their statewide registry may not cover everyone. Why? If someone who is a registered sex offender moves to another state, they are required by law to un-register from their current state, and register in their new state. During this transition, they may not show up on ANY state registry, or worse; they may decide not to re-register at all.
Through our partner, Raptor Technologies, we’re able to provide a simple way for you to scan your database as often as you’d like against the nationwide registry so that you’re alerted of every registered sex offender. Learn more about how this works or contact us to discuss your center in particular.