Protecting and Providing a Safe Space for Children at the YMCA


At the Summit Area YMCA, we stand committed to providing a safe environment for everyone who enters our doors or participates in our programs, most importantly the safety and well-being of children entrusted to our care. We have a series of measures in place to keep kids safe. Currently, the Summit Area YMCA:

• Conducts daily automatic National Sex Offender Registry screenings on all adult members, program participants, volunteers, guests and staff who are in our database. Additionally, we immediately screen anyone who is entering the building for the first time and is not in our system at that time;
• Conducts biannual State & County Criminal Record Checks (felony and misdemeanor), Inmate and Criminal Record checks, Arrest and Booking Records checks on all staff regardless of continuous employment;
• Conducts extensive interviews and employment history checks prior to hiring staff and program volunteers;
• Requires three reference checks for all staff and program volunteers;
• Requires annual comprehensive staff training on child abuse prevention, recognizing and responding to abuse;
• Requires staff and volunteers to identify, document, and inform supervisors of any allegations or suspicions of child abuse;
• Requires staff and volunteers to report any allegations or suspicions of abuse to the proper authorities in accordance with New Jersey law;
• Prohibits staff and volunteers from being alone with a child where they cannot be observed by others;
• Prohibits staff and volunteers from contact with children they meet in YMCA programs outside of the YMCA;
• Prohibits staff and volunteers to leave a child unsupervised;
• Prohibits staff and volunteers from inappropriate or unwelcome displays of affection toward others or children;
• Requires staff and volunteers to respect children's rights to not be touched in ways that make them feel uncomfortable, and their right to say no;
• Prohibits staff and volunteers from abusing children including: physical abuse - strike, spank, shake, slap; verbal abuse - humiliate, degrade, threaten; sexual abuse - inappropriate touch or verbal exchange; mental abuse - shaming, withholding love, cruelty; neglect - withholding food, water, basic care, etc.;
• Requires staff and volunteers to conduct a visual check of each child each day as they enter the program, noting any fever, bumps, bruises, burns, complaints of illness, etc.;
• Prohibits staff and volunteers from transporting children in their own vehicles;
• Prohibits staff and volunteers from release children to anyone other than the authorized parent, guardian, or other adult authorized by the parent or guardian (written parent authorization on file with the YMCA);
• Requires staff and volunteers to portray a positive role model for youth by maintaining an attitude of respect, loyalty, patience, courtesy, tact, and maturity;
• Prohibits staff and volunteers from profanity, inappropriate jokes, sharing intimate details of one's personnel life, and any kind of harassment in the presence of children;
• Prohibits staff and volunteers from using, possessing, or being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs during working hours;
• Prohibits staff and volunteers from smoking or use of tobacco in the presence of children.

The Summit Area YMCA takes pride in providing safe places for children to grow in skills and self-confidence. As an advocate for child abuse prevention, it’s important to bring awareness to the fact that the potential for abuse occurs around us all frequently. We urge parents to have conversations with their children teaching them about body safety and establishing healthy boundaries. Recognizing warning signs and concerns are important first steps in child abuse prevention.

Learn more about the Y's child abuse prevention resources and trainings here

Child Abuse Prevention 

Take action against child abuse in our 5 Days of Action.





About Darkness to Light
Darkness to Light is a nonprofit organization with the mission to empower adults to prevent child sexual abuse through awareness, education, and stigma reduction. Darkness to Light’s flagship program, Stewards of Children®, is an evidence-informed, award-winning training that teaches adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. More than 1.9 million adults have been trained using Darkness to Light trainings. For more information, visit

About Praesidium Inc.
At Praesidium, their mission is to prevent the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults and to preserve trust in respected organizations. For more than 30 years, Praesidium's experts have worked to prevent sexual abuse. For more information, visit

About Redwoods Group Foundation
The Redwoods Group Foundation supports programs that can change the world and helps them reach more people than ever before, through funding and backbone support. We currently focus on child sexual abuse prevention, drowning prevention, and growing the field of social entrepreneurship. For more information, visit

Stewards of Children®
In part of Darkness to Light, this prevention training features real people and real stories about protecting children from sexual abuse. The framework of the training is built off the foundation of The 5 Steps to Protecting Children™. For more information, visit




In 1886, we were founded as the Young Men's Christian Association, but today, we are The Y. An association that values, and is made stronger by, its diverse people. We stand for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility — For a better us. We are committed to creating equal opportunity for all regardless of gender, age, disability, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. We strive to create a welcoming and inclusive culture in which our four core values — responsibility, honesty, caring and respect — are integral to everyday operations.

Each year, as one of the area’s leading 501(c)3 charitable organizations, the Summit Area YMCA serves more than 15,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the New Jersey communities of Berkeley Heights, Gillette, Millburn, New Providence, Short Hills, Springfield, Stirling and Summit. Our history is rooted in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those in need.