Creating a Child Safe Environment
JCC and Youth
The Jewish Community Center of Omaha reaches out to the entire community and provides its members with a unique opportunity to associate through a variety of social, cultural, recreational, educational and physical fitness program, activities and services.
Our Pennie Z. Davis Child Development Center, Youth Services Department and Teen Programming Department offer children a safe, nurturing and fun filled environment in which to learn and grow.
Parents place their trust in the JCC to help their children thrive. Our mission – to create a positive Jewish environment in which children build, strengthen and preserve Jewish Identity and traditions – are part of everything we do. Because of this, we place great value on creating the most child-safe environment possible.
The Jewish Community Center of Omaha has more than 100 staff members and volunteers working with youth in the many programs we offer.
To keep children in our programs safe we take the following steps in our intensive screening of employees and volunteers:
- Detailed application forms
- Comprehensive interview process
- Reference checks
- Criminal background record checks
Employees complete an extensive child abuse prevention training program. Supervisors and managers complete additional training to further promote a child-safe environment. All staff members are mandated to report any suspected child abuse.
Staff is prohibited from working one-on-one with youth outside of the JCC. Policies exist to ensure staff and volunteers are not alone with a child. The JCC does not encourage or endorse the use of our staff as babysitters or caregivers to members they have met in our programs. If a parent chooses to hire a staff member, the parent has been guided that they should conduct their own interview and background check to make sure the individual meets their own needs and criteria. Child abusers can be parents, caretakers, friends, neighbors, or anyone who comes in contact with your child—even other youth. It takes everyone’s help to stop the cycle of abuse.
WORKING TOGETHER FOR SAFETY
Talk to your child about his or her experiences in JCC programs, school, sports, and other activities.
Drop in on your child’s programs.
Trust your instincts. Don’t wait to tell us if something seems “strange.” Speak up!
Watch for warning signs of abuse:
- Unexplainable bruising or other physical markings
- Disturbed sleeping or eating patterns
- Abrupt changes in behavior-anxiety, clinging, aggressiveness, withdrawal, depression
- Fear of certain person or place
- Discomfort with physical contact
- A child who abuses other children
Listen and watch for signs of your child receiving special attention that other children or teens are not receiving, including favors, treats, gifts, rides, increasing affection or time alone, particularly outside the activities of school, child care, or other activities.
Every once in a while, ask your child these questions:
- Is anyone scaring or threatening you?
- Is anyone asking you to keep secrets?
- Has anyone said anything to you that made you feel bad?
- Is anyone touching you in a way that you don’t like?
Encourage your child to tell you or another trusted adult if anything happens to him or her.
Read our staff Code of Conduct. If someone breaks it, let us know immediately. Also, please download our Child Safe Environment brochure.