Working or Volunteering with Children?

If you work or volunteer with children it is important to know how to properly protect your organization against potential threats.

Abuse and Molestation Coverage protects your organization from the unthinkable act of a defenseless, dependent child being abused or molested. The Merriam Insurance Agency addresses abuse in two parts, prevention of abuse and defending allegations of abuse.

Is there adequate supervision? Does the organization you work for or volunteer with have adequate supervision for children in the daycare, free time, field trips, games, class time and so on?

A “no” to even one of these areas is an effective “no” to all. The Merriam team works with its clients to offer guidance and proper supervision of youth activities. Supervision protocols should be properly documented in order to aid an optimal defense in a court of law.

Is there adequate screening? Does your organization have a procedure that governs who can work with children?

Probing questions to volunteers can be awkward, therefore the process must be handled appropriately. While most organizations have some type of policy, they are not always thorough or properly constructed to provide maximum protection.

Is there proper training? Proper training of those who come into contact with children is key to preventing abuse. Training helps make those working with children more aware of the realities of abuse, and emphasizes the organization’s stance on abuse prevention.

Familiarity is key. While it is exciting to have new volunteers get involved, we encourage our clients to test the character of people over time before entrusting them with responsibility in high-risk areas.

Who is covered against allegations? Not all abuse allegations are substantiated. Many allegations are ultimately traced to ulterior motives rather than fact. Until the truth comes out, will your policy defend the accused?

Sometimes insurance will only cover the organization, abandoning the individual employees or volunteers to defend themselves.

Merriam can help to ensure that your organization, employees, and volunteers are properly protected.

Joshua D. Crowder, AAI-M