Frequently Asked Questions

Are you active in the field of youth protection?

Yes.  Through my safety and security consulting practice I work with youth serving organizations and collaborate with other professionals and I continue professional development through two professional associations: The American Institute of Architects and ASIS International.  I am also an active member of the National Coalition for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, allowing me to interact regularly with child abuse prevention experts, researchers, public policy advocates, and others in the field.

What is your experience as an expert witness?

To date, I have served as an expert witness, consulting expert or subject matter expert on four child abuse cases.

What do you see as some of the common youth protection errors made by organizations?

The entity responsible for care and custody of a child should have an institutional thought process that helps ensure good solutions are in place and remain in place.  This first involves a systematic way of asking:

  • Have we thought about every category of  injury (e.g. intentional vs. accidental harm) in advance?
  • Do we have a plan to prevent or mitigate it?  What is the basis of the plan?  What resources have we committed it to?
  • How do we know the plan is working as intended and how do we know to adjust it?

Depending on the nature of the risk, the following steps can help ensure that important questions continue to be asked:

  • Establishing youth protection objectives that align with the organization’s mission
  • Conducting regular comprehensive threat-vulnerablility assessments to identify probablities and severities
  • Systematically reviewing of policies and regulations by the organization’s counsel and board
  • Having relevant policies, procedures and rules of conduct that align with community standards or accepted best practices.
  • Having a screening and selection process that takes into account degrees of access to youth.
  • Having a defined supervision strategy.
  • Implementing safety training and awareness for employees and volunteers.
  • Having a defined safety improvement plan.
  • Establishing feedback loops to inform the organization of how well the program is working.