AAU Makes Background Checks Mandatory to Keep Our Youth Safe
The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), one of the largest non-profit sports organizations in the country has been helping children realize their potential and achieve their dreams. Recently the organization has conducted wide background checks, screening 27,000 adults. This exercise brought disturbing results to light: 150 participants were screened to have issues that could be objectionable for an AAU membership.
The AAU has made background checks mandatory for all adult coaches and staff in the light of recent occurrences, also covered in our previous blog, where the former president of AAU, Bobby Dodd was accused of molesting young kids and Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of 45 counts of sexual abuse.” Dodd denied the allegations and no formal charges have been brought against him.
Following this incident, the AAU announced in June that it would “conduct background checks, ban one-on-one contact between adults and youths and require volunteers and staff to report any suspected child abuse to law enforcement and AAU officials.”
Another prestigious American organization for our youth, the Boy Scouts has a detailed plan in place to maintain a safe environment for its members. For instance, they have been maintaining a list of individuals who are considered ‘unfit for membership’ under ‘ineligible volunteer files’. A study conducted by Dr. Janet Warren of the University of Virginia found the rate of abuse in scouting programs to be very low when compared to other organizations: two per 100,000 Vs. 70 per 100,000 and this is attributed to their safety measure, which includes:
- Mandatory National criminal background check clearances.
- Checking with their national database of Ineligible Volunteers.
- Regular training, awareness program through booklet and mandatory reporting policies. Adults and youth are trained to “recognize, resist and report any suspected abuse and to prevent bullying and hazing, including cyber bullying.”
- Participation of parents at all scouting activities.
Efficient background checks and proper safety measures help organizations screen the right candidates for mentoring our youth. It may sound delicate but don’t hesitate to push for similar measures at your child’s little soccer league as we have seen how these checks helped the Scouts in reducing the risk.