Employee Code of Conduct

1. In order to protect staff, volunteers, and program participants, at no time during a program is a staff/volunteer person to be alone with a single child where they cannot be observed by others. Staff and/or volunteers supervising children should space themselves in a way that other staff/volunteers can see them.

2. Staff and/or volunteers should never leave a child unsupervised.

3. Restroom supervision: Children who are participating in YMCA programs are not to be sent to bathrooms without a YMCA staff member present. The buddy system or three children together are not  acceptable practices and are no longer permitted at the YMCA. For single stall bathrooms the YMCA staff will be positioned outside of the bathroom to make sure no one else enters the restroom. At minimum, when multiple children are in the bathroom or locker room, YMCA staff members will be standing in the doorway so they can have at least auditory supervision of the children. Staff members can and are encouraged to be inside the facilities so they can be easily seen by the children and so they are able  to  immediately stop any inappropriate activity. This is best done with multiple staff members so individual staff are not subjected to unwarranted allegations.  Protocols that address the variety of unusual  circumstances possible during outdoor or off-site activities shall be established and made part of that  program/activity’s operating guidelines.

4.   Staff and/or volunteers should conduct or supervise private activities in pairs, e.g., diapering, putting on bathing suits, taking showers, etc. When this is not feasible, staff and/or volunteers should be positioned so that they are visible to others.

5.   Staff and/or volunteers shall not abuse children in any way including:
Physical abuse: striking, spanking, shaking, slapping, etc.
Verbal abuse: humiliating, degrading, threatening, etc.
Sexual abuse: touching or speaking inappropriately
Mental abuse: shaming, withholding kindness, being cruel, etc.
Neglect: withholding food, water, basic care, etc.

Any form of abuse will not be tolerated and may be cause for immediate dismissal.

6. Staff  and/or volunteers must use positive techniques of guidance, including redirection, positive reinforcement and encouragement rather than competition, comparison and  criticism.  Staff and/or volunteers will have age-appropriate expectations and setup guidelines and environments that minimize the need for discipline.  Physical restraining is used only in predetermined situations (when necessary to protect the child or other children from harm), administered only in a prescribed manner, and must be documented in writing.

7. Staff and/or volunteers will conduct a visual health check of each child, each day, as they enter the program, noting any fever, bumps, bruises, burns, etc. Questions or comments will be addressed to the parent or child in a non-threatening manner. Any questionable marks or responses will be documented.

8. Staff and/or volunteers will respond to children with respect and consideration and treat all  children equally, regardless of gender, race, religion, culture, disability or economic level of the family.

9. Staff and/or volunteers will respect children’s rights to not be touched or looked at in ways that make them feel uncomfortable, and their right to say “No.”  Other than diapering or as required by safe instructional methods, children are not to be touched on areas of their bodies that would be covered by a bathing suit.

10. Staff and/or volunteers will refrain from intimate displays of affection towards others in the presence of children, parents, and staff.

11. Staff and/or volunteers are not to transport children in their own vehicles or allow youth participants old enough to drive to transport younger children in the program.

12. Staff and/or volunteers must appear clean, neat, and appropriately attired.

13. Using, possessing, or being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs during working hours is prohibited.

14. Smoking or use of tobacco in the presence of children or parents during working hours is prohibited.

15. Possession or use of any type of weapon or explosive device is prohibited.

16. Using YMCA computers to access pornographic sites, send e-mails with sexual overtones or otherwise inappropriate messages, or develop online relationships is not allowed.

17. Profanity, inappropriate jokes, sharing intimate details of one’s personal life and any kind of harassment in the presence of children, parents, volunteers, or other staff is prohibited.

18. YMCA staff and/or volunteers will not initiate contact with or accept supervisory responsibility for participating children outside approved YMCA activities. Staff and/or volunteers may not be alone with children they meet in YMCA programs outside the YMCA. This includes babysitting, sleepovers, driving or riding in cars, and inviting children to their homes. Any exceptions require a written explanation before the fact and are subject to prior approval from the Executive Director.

19. Staff and/or volunteers must be free of physical and psychological conditions that might adversely affect children’s physical or mental health. If in doubt, an expert should be consulted.

20. Staff and/or volunteers will portray a positive role model for youth by maintaining an attitude of respect, loyalty, patience, courtesy, tact, and maturity.

21. Staff and/or volunteers should not give excessive gifts (e.g., video games, tv, jewelry) to youth nor be exclusive. Gifts around celebrations and holidays are to be shared with all participants.

22. Staff and/or volunteers may not date program participants who are under the age of 18.

23. Under no circumstances should staff and/or volunteers 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).

24. Employees who, in the course of their work, have access to confidential information have an obligation not to disclose that information to other employees, members or other persons within or outside the Association.

25. Staff and/or volunteers are required to report to a supervisor any other staff or volunteer who violates any of the policies listed in this Code of Conduct.

26. Staff and/or volunteers are required to read and sign all policies related to identifying, documenting, and reporting child abuse and attend trainings on the subject as instructed by a supervisor and listed in the Metro YMCAs of the Oranges Personnel Guidelines and Child Abuse Prevention Policy and Procedures.

27. Staff and/or volunteers will display and uphold the Character Development values of Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility, as consistent with the Mission of the YMCA, by leading by example and incorporating the values in their programs and positions.