The Intervention Cycle
Child protection is expressed through two cycles. The Intervention Cycle and the Prevention Cycle. These are intended to stop child abuse before it gets into the program. The intervention cycle has four elements which include:
- Create Child Protection Policies. Some of these policies include
- The Region is committed to the protection of all its children from abuse and neglect.
- The Region shall have at least one Child and Volunteer Protection Advocate(CVPA), responsible for overseeing the AYSO Safe Haven child and volunteer protection program in accordance with AYSO guidelines. He or she shall be a member of the Regional Board and will act as the main resource on child protection issues and shall be the Region’s liaison with the National Safe Haven Administrator/Manager at the AYSO National Office.
- The Region requires all volunteers to submit a completed AYSO Volunteer Application Form each year, either online or by using the manual hard copy form.
- Once the head coach has assumed charge of the children on his or her team, he or she remains responsible until a designated adult has taken charge.
- Screen Volunteers
- Using the volunteer application form provides the Region with six levels of screening. Please review the AYSO Screening protocols found in the CVPA manual.
- Train Volunteers
- All coaches, referees, Regional Board Members and other volunteers who work directly with children, and the Child and Volunteer Protection Advocate shall be trained before working with children. Head coaches, assistant coaches, and referees shall be certified.
- Only official AYSO materials and courses (or those approved by AYSO) may be used to train and certify these volunteers. Only official AYSO programs, procedures, and policies will be taught. Courses and clinics shall be taught by AYSO certified and registered instructors.
- All other Regional volunteers will be trained in child and volunteer protection as appropriate.
- Volunteers shall be subject to ongoing evaluation, and additional training may be required to maintain good standing within the Region and the organization.
- Promote Education and Awareness
The educational component of Safe Haven should include quality leadership
- Train every volunteer. This means minimum training standards and continuing education.
- Certify every volunteer. Volunteers must demonstrate competency and awareness of child and volunteer protection, discipline specific knowledge, age appropriate techniques, and AYSO culture.
- Safe Haven manuals for Child and Volunteer Protection Advocates, Regional Board Members, coaches and referees.
- Provide Safe Haven brochures and information sheets.
- Family programs
Initiate a program to educate and teach kids about AYSO culture.
The Prevention Cycle
There are eight elements in the Safe Haven Prevention Cycle. These are proactive steps that provide the medium for positive, healthy child development.
- Foster Meaningful Relationships
- The coach-player relationship can be the one of the most influential relationship in a child’s life.
- It is important for coaches and all volunteer to understand that they are role models for our youth.
- Make Kids Full Participants
- Kids want to be listened to, they want to be part of the decision making process.
- Most players feel that they have some good ideas and ways to improve their soccer experience.
- We encourage you to solicit and validate the opinions of your players.
- Promote Ethical Behavior
- We’re talking about right versus wrong.
- Remember, kids will follow your lead. We are the ultimate example of ethical behavior.
- Teach kids that it really is about how they play the game and how they treat each other. It’s not about winning.
- Be consistent. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and try to always say it kindly.
- Model and Teach Conflict Resolution
- There is a saying, “If We Don’t Model What We Teach, We Are Teaching Something Else.”
- We set the example in how we interact with each other as adults.
- We may not agree with another coach’s decision or a referee’s call, but what matters most is how we handle ourselves at these times.
- We need children to see that all situations can be discussed calmly.
- Encourage Kids to Speak Out
- Keep in mind that all kids have different levels of confidence when it comes to speaking out or expressing their opinions.
- Try to find ways with kind words and genuine interest to draw kids out in a safe environment that is created by the adult in charge.
- Cultivate Kids’ Self-Images
- Having a positive self-image is the first step towards a successful adulthood.
- Avoid expressing empty praises, kids know when we’re telling the truth. For example: Praise kids for the qualities they bring to the field.
- Implant Excellence in Individual Achievement
- Help players set goals.
- There must be a reason for each action. If a child is given a task, the reason for that task must be clear in the mind of the adult and explained to the child. A coach should not have 6-year-olds run five laps for a bad play because “it builds character and stamina.” Having 6-year-olds dribble soccer balls once around the field at the start of practice might be justified as a means of warming up muscles, increasing cardiovascular activity, and building ball skills.
- Keep Things FUN
- AYSO soccer should be fun for both players and volunteers.
- Focus on how players and volunteers interact.
- Make an effort to put a positive spin in all that we do.