Policy and Practices for Adults Working With Children

1. Purpose

The Swamp Donkey Musical Theatre Society (“SDMTS”) offers courses, workshops, and performance opportunities to young people. The safety and well-being of children in our care is of the upmost importance.  We recognize that this population is vulnerable and want to ensure they are protected from all forms of injury and abuse.  As such, SDMTS has developed the following policy that outlines the basic background screening process to reduce the risk of hiring potentially abusive individuals, supervision guidelines to ensure the safety of children in our care, and reporting requirements where an individual believes a child is in need of intervention.  

2. Background Screening Process

Where Swamp Donkey hires or appoints individuals to work in lead positions with children in our care, including but not limited to the Artistic Director; course and workshop instructors; and production team leads, either as volunteers or in paid positions, the screening process will include:

  • a resume outlining past employment and volunteer experience;
  • an interview that discusses past employment experience and indicates potential problem behaviours;
  • reference checks with past employers; and
  • a Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Check.

Where Swamp Donkey appoints individuals to work as volunteers with children in our care, though not in lead positions as described above, the screening process will include:

  • A Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Check.

In both cases set out above, in the event the screening process reveals the individual has been convicted of a violent crime or a crime involving a child, the individual will be not be considered for the position in question.

Where individuals work with SDMTS for a period of more than five years, they shall complete and submit to SDMTS an updated Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Check every three years.

3. Practices for Working With Youth

Some of the specific guidelines that must be employed by adults working with children include: 

Limiting one to one contact with children 

Adults should avoid being alone with a child in their care. Two adults should always be available to avoid one to one situations.  One adult should be present with several children.

Holding activities in accessible, highly visible areas

Activities with children should be held in settings that are accessible and highly visible to others.

Maintaining open-door policies

Closed door interactions between adults and children should be avoided. Doors should remain open during activities with children whenever possible.

Behaving appropriately at all times

Adults should understand the boundaries of their relationships with the children in their care. Adults should avoid after-hours relationships of any kind. They should refrain from touching and initiating contact with children to ensure innocent touching and contact is not misconstrued.

4. Reporting

The Child, Youth, and Family Enhancement Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. C-12, requires any person who has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a child is in need of intervention to report the matter forthwith to the appropriate authorities.  In accordance with the legislation, SDMTS requires adults to report concerns they have about a child being at risk of neglect, abuse, or sexual exploitation to the authorities, regardless of whether or not the concerns relate to the child’s involvement in SDMTS programming.  Adults are asked to report their concerns to the Child Abuse Hotline which can be reached 24/7 all year at 1-800-387-5437 (KIDS).  In addition, any adults who are concerned about potential injury or abuse of youth while they are under the care of SDMTS should advise SDMTS immediately.

5. Contact Information

Please contact us by email at swampdonkeytheatre@gmail.com if you require additional information about this policy.

6. Acknowledgement of Policy

All adults who work with youth in the care of SDMTS are required to sign this document, thereby acknowledging they are aware of and understand SDMTS’s policies and practices regarding working with youth in our care.

I certify that I have carefully read and fully understand the provisions of this Policy and agree to be bound by them.  

____________________________    ____________________________    

Signature                                 Name, Printed