Unveils two reports on Child and Youth Safety
OTTAWA, June 25, 2012 /CNW/ - As part of its 2012 Child and Youth Safety
Plan's implementation, Scouts Canada unveiled today two major documents: the KPMG Review of Scouts Canada
Leader Suspension and Termination Files from 1947 to 2011 and the
Scouts Canada Child and Youth Safety Update 2012.
"Scouts Canada is committed to showing strong leadership in the area of
child and youth safety," said Steve Kent, Chief Commissioner and Chair
of the Board of Governors. "Over the past seven months, we have worked
hard and shared a wealth of expertise and experience in Child and Youth
Safety with our Child and Youth Protection Advisory Committee and many
other experts in the field. They have provided us with recommendations
and guidance as we developed or revised our policies and procedures and
started the implementation of our Child and Youth Safety Plan."
Ms. Melodie Bissell, President and CEO, Winning Kids Inc., Ms. Gina M.
Haggart, COO and Vice President of Business Development, Winning Kids
Inc., Ms. Lisa Evanoff, RespectED National Training Manager, Canadian
Red Cross, and Mr. Rod Piukkla, Vice President, Police Services
Technologies, BackCheck, attended the announcement this morning.
Scouts Canada's Child and Youth Protection Advisory Committee is a
third-party panel of experts commissioned by Scouts Canada to conduct a
complete review of all of its policies and procedures on child and
youth safety and make recommendations on additional measures that
ensure Scouts Canada's policies meet current and future needs.
The Committee is composed of leading child and youth protection experts
from the Child Welfare League of Canada, Canadian Red Cross, Canadian
Society for the Investigation of Child Abuse, Canadian Paediatric
Society, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the BC Office of
the Representative for Children and Youth.
"Our common goal is to protect kids. We are doing everything we can to
make things right. Together, we must raise awareness of the critical
issue of child abuse and work on improving cooperation and developing
integrated strategies and tools," said Steve Kent. "We intend to build
on the productive relationships that we have developed with many of our
child and youth safety partners. We want to work with them towards
common strategies to initiate a broader discussion in this country on
how to better keep kids safe."
Since 1907, Scouts Canada has helped 17 million Canadian children and
youth discover a world of adventure, outdoor experience, friendship and
fun. Nothing is more important to the organization than the safety and
wellbeing of the children and youth that are entrusted to its care.
For decades, Scouts Canada has been a leader in Child and Youth Safety.
It was one of the first organizations in the nation to institute a
comprehensive volunteer screening policy, and the first to adopt the
'two-leader rule' whereby at least two adults must be present with
children and youth at all times. Scouts Canada has always been known
for continuously enhancing its safety procedures.
When questions were recently raised about the organization's child and
youth protection policies and practices, Scouts Canada took an honest,
open and transparent approach that confronted both the good and the bad
of its history.
"We want parents and the Canadian public to know the full extent of our
commitment to providing a safe, secure and nurturing environment for
children and youth," said Kent. "And we are committed to continuously
enhance our organization's safety policies and procedures."
The KPMG Review of Suspension and Termination Files is a thorough
arms-length review of all records held by Scouts Canada related to the
suspension and/or termination of volunteer leaders for sexual
misconduct against youth from 1947 to 2011. KPMG's review of the 486
records covering 64 years lasted seven months and identified findings
in five specific areas: records management, governance, contact with
authorities, suspensions and terminations and other observations.
KPMG's review was delivered to Scouts Canada on Thursday, June 21,
Of note from the review:
The review does not identify any systemic intent to cover up or "hide"
an individual or abuse incident.
Prior to 2001, Scouts Canada had no national protocol or process for
organizing and maintaining records that were managed and stored in
regional offices across Canada. Scouts Canada's decentralized
governance model, in place until 2001, resulted in inconsistent
management of important records from office to office, as well as
inconsistencies in decisions related to record keeping.
In 73% of all records, the authorities were aware of incidents of abuse,
with either Scouts Canada alerting the authorities or the authorities
alerting Scouts Canada. Before 1992, this average was 65%, while
post-1992, the average increased to 85%.
Every one of these records that was linked with potential instances of
abuse has been turned over to police authorities as they were brought
to Scouts Canada's attention during the review process. Since all these
records are in the hands of police departments, any disclosure of
details would be improper in order to allow the police authorities to
review these matters as they deem appropriate.
Regarding suspension, termination and listing on the record of
individuals who were banned from or ineligible to join Scouts Canada,
KPMG noted that particularly prior to 2002, the organization often fell
short of listing suspended individuals within the prescribed time (180
days). The two primary causes of delay appear to have been a) waiting
for adequate evidence such as the results of police investigation or
court conviction and b) concerns about the organization's liability
related to unproven accusations of abuse.
The review also showed a list of gaps that occurred in the past in a
variety of circumstances mainly because of Scouts Canada's prior
decentralised governance model, lack of a computer-based membership
management system or lack of education of parents and kids. Scouts
Canada currently employs a centralized model supported by a national
membership database and will launch educational programs for children
and parents later this year. A resource booklet for parents has also
been developed and it can be found at http://www.scouts.ca/cys/forparents.
Child and Youth Safety Update
Scouts Canada also recognizes and intends to learn from errors of the
past, and ensure that it does not become complacent now or in the
future. To meet today's expectations and anticipate the needs of
tomorrow, Scouts Canada is revitalizing its culture of safety and
entrenching it more deeply at every level of the organization and in
each of its activities.
To achieve that goal, Scouts Canada launched an extensive review and
update of the multiple dimensions of Child and Youth Safety throughout
its policies, procedures, programs and activities.
A new Child and Youth Safety Plan was developed and is currently being
implemented leading up to the new Scouting year. The plan contains more
than 30 action items mainly focusing on historical review, policies and
procedures, adult screening and training, child, youth and parent
education and communications.
"Scouts Canada will also introduce new educational resources to boost
our young members' knowledge and resiliency. We want to teach them how
to stay safe and to open a dialogue about abuse. We will engage young
people and their parents through activities that will help empower
them, reinforce a culture of safety among members of Scouting, and make
sure that vigilance is our watchword," added Kent. "We are committed to
making our communities safer for kids, and we want to work more closely
with youth organizations, governments, and other partners in order to
address gaps in systems and to make Canada safer for all children and
There are two fact sheets available that summarize each of the two
KPMG Review of Suspension and Termination Files - June 2012
Scouts Canada Child and Youth Safety Update - June 2012
The fact sheets and the reports, as well as our Child and Youth Safety
material, are available in PDF format at scouts.ca/child-and-youth-safety-update.
About Scouts Canada
Scouts Canada, the country's co-ed leading youth organization, has more
than 100,000 members nationwide representing every faith and culture.
Scouts Canada groups offer programming in more than 19 languages
reflecting Canada's multicultural landscape and communities. Kids in
Scouts have fun adventures discovering new things and experiences they
wouldn't discover elsewhere. Along the way, they develop into capable,
confident and well-rounded individuals, better prepared for success in
the world. For tens of thousands of children and youth across Canada,
Scouts is the start of something great. For more information, visit Scouts.ca.
Scouts Canada is a not-for-profit organization (Charitable Registration
No. 10776 1694 RR0028) and a member of the World Organization of the
SOURCE Scouts Canada
For further information:
or to request an interview, contact:
Executive Director, Marketing and Communications
tel: 613.224.5134 ext. 271