The Heart of America Council is committed to delivering safe and high-quality programs for more than 29,000 Scouts and their families across nineteen counties in eastern Kansas and western Missouri. Our council continues to be at the forefront in independently providing a values-based program that develops the character, ethical behavior and leadership skills of our region’s youth.
We are committed to providing a safe and secure environment for our youth members. Youth protection requires sustained vigilance, and we work every day to protect children through mandatory policies and procedures at every level of our organization. We are also committed to continuous improvement in our approach to youth protection.
Our policies, procedures, and training have evolved to learn from the past while also borrowing from best practices developed by leading experts in this field. Today, the youth protection practices of the Boy Scouts of America are the gold standard among youth-serving organizations.
BSA’s safeguards in the areas of Mandatory Youth Protection Training, Mandatory Background Checks, Banned One-On-One Interactions, Mandatory Law Enforcement Reporting, and a Volunteer Screening Database are key parts of our multilayered approach to help keep kids safe. These measures were informed by respected experts in the fields of child safety, law enforcement, and child psychology, and are among the strongest safeguards found in any youth-serving organization.
It is critical that every adult in our program – whether they are a uniformed leader or a parent of a Scout – knows and follows BSA’s Youth Protection policies.
Know the Facts: Our Commitment to Safe Scouting
Our Ongoing Commitment to Keeping Kids Safe
Layers of Youth Protection Infographic
Updated Background Check Authorization for All Volunteers
Youth Protection Begins With YOU
Even if you are not a registered Scouting leader or volunteer, it is your responsibility as a parent or guardian to know and understand the Boy Scouts of America’s youth protection guidelines. One of the best ways to do this is to take BSA’s Youth Protection Training.
Complete Youth Protection Training
Another is to review the youth protection parent guide included at the front of your son’s or daughter’s Scouting handbook. This knowledge will not only benefit you and your child in Scouting, but also equip you to recognize the behavior of potential abusers in your child’s school, sports teams, house of worship, or other activities.
Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse
Past experience has led the Boy Scouts of America to create and implement the best youth protection procedures among youth-serving organizations nationwide. We constantly evaluate and invest resources to strengthen our policies and ensure they are in line with, and where possible, ahead of best practices for prevention. To support this ongoing effort we regularly consult with survivors and experts from law enforcement, child safety, psychology, and other relevant fields.
- “Two-deep” leadership – a youth is not allowed to be alone with an adult leader who isn’t his or her parent/guardian during Scouting activities. Additionally, no youth is permitted to sleep in the tent of an adult other than his or her own parent/guardian. We also prohibit one-on-one contact between adults and youth members, including texting and communications on social media.
- Criminal background checks – the BSA has a formal leader-selection process that includes criminal background checks and other screenings.
- No hazing – hazing and initiations are prohibited and may not be included as part of any Scouting activity.
- No bullying – verbal, physical, and cyberbullying are prohibited in Scouting.
Scouting's Barriers to Abuse Mandatory Reporting Procedures
Help For Abuse Victims
The Boy Scouts of America is outraged there have been times when individuals used our programs to gain access to and harm children, and for that we apologize to victims and their families. Nothing is more important than the safety of our youth members. We are committed to providing ongoing support to victims and their families, including counseling. We want to help victims heal on their own terms.
Support is available to anyone currently or previously involved in the Boy Scouts of America through our dedicated 24/7 Scouts First Helpline at 1-844-SCOUTS1 (1-844-726-8871) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.