Child Safe Policy

Child-Safe Environment Policy and Code of Conduct 

General Statement
At Cedar Run, protecting children and the prevention of child abuse is our priority.  We understand that child abuse and inappropriate contact with children is a pervasive problem throughout the United States that must be managed in a pro-active manner. The safety and protection of the children in our care remain our number one priority.  Our Board of Trustees have approved and enacted the following plan to manage and monitor our programs in order to minimize the potential for abuse to occur. Should any allegation arise, Cedar Run will proactively work with the authorities and all parties involved to respond in a prompt, thorough and empathetic manner.

Child Abuse Definition
Cedar Run maintains a zero tolerance toward child abuse and child endangerment.  As defined by the APSAC Handbook of Child Maltreatment, “Child sexual abuse involves any sexual activity with a child where consent is not or cannot be given. This includes sexual contact that is accomplished by force or threat of force, regardless of the age of the participants, and all sexual contact between an adult and a child, regardless of whether there is deception or the child understands the sexual nature of the activity. Sexual contact between an older and a younger child also can be abusive if there is a significant disparity in age, development, or size, rendering the younger child incapable of giving informed consent. The sexually abusive acts may include sexual penetration, sexual touching, or non-contact sexual acts such as exposure or voyeurism.”

Staff and Volunteer Expectations

  • Background Checks
    All staff and volunteers 18 years-old and up are required to go through background checks in advance of the first day of employment. Staff and volunteers are required to go through new checks on a biannual basis.  Background check reports will be stored in a locked file (or digitally stored) in the Executive Director’s office or database with protected access. In the event that a staff member or volunteer is charged with a criminal offense in the state of New Jersey, they must disclose this information to the Executive Director at Cedar Run within 7 days.
  • Child Abuse Prevention Training and Code of Conduct
    All staff and volunteers will complete child abuse prevention training in advance of their first day of employment. They will also sign and date a copy of the Cedar Run Child-Safe Environment Policy and Code of Conduct and will receive a copy to keep (may be digital). Staff or volunteers under the age of 18 will sign alongside a parent or guardian.  All staff and volunteers will undergo a review of the training on a biannual basis.

Child-Safe Code of Conduct

  • Violations of Code of Conduct or Questionable Behavior
    Keeping children safe at Cedar Run is the responsibility of all staff and volunteers. Cedar Run staff and/or volunteers are to IMMEDIATELY report to their supervisor and/or director any questionable behavior they see or violations of the Code of Conduct. Staff and volunteers are to report any indications of or warning signs concerning abuse or inappropriate interactions involving a child.

 All residents of New Jersey are mandated reporters, meaning that any person who has a reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to acts of abuse or neglect should immediately report this information to the proper authorities. This means that any evidence of potential child abuse or observation of inappropriate contact by a parent, staff or volunteer member or other child at Cedar Run must be reported to the New Jersey State Central Registry Hotline at 1-800-792-8610 or 1-877-NJ-ABUSE (1-877-652-2873).  Please see RESPONDING TO AN ALLEGATION section of this policy for more detailed information on reporting.

  • Child Supervision
    At no time should Cedar Run staff or volunteers be in a situation where they are alone with a child and/or cannot be observed by others or students at any location on Cedar Run property or during any offsite Cedar Run program. In addition, children are never to be left alone together without supervision. Cedar Run will make every attempt to design and structure its programs to eliminate the potential for a staff member or volunteer to be in a one-on-one situation. If a staff/volunteer member becomes alone with a child, they should promptly move to a location where they can be observed by other Cedar Run staff/volunteer members. Cedar Run staff members or volunteers are not to have children leave the group for any reason on their own or with a partner. While indoors, doors will remain open and interactions observable, an exception being during a lockdown emergency situation.  It is advised to have at least 2 staff members or volunteers together at all times, and have no fewer than 3 students with a staff member at any given time.
  • Check-In and Check-Out Procedure
    All staff members and volunteers must strictly adhere to the Check-In and Check-Out procedures as described in the handbook and training.  This procedure is in place to ensure the safety and security of the children in our care while arriving at and dismissing from our programs.
  • Physical Contact
    Cedar Run staff members and volunteers should not hug children or encourage any physical contact with children other than necessary. Staff or volunteers should not touch children in any body location that would be covered by a bathing suit. Staff members or volunteers should not pick-up children and should not allow children to sit on their laps. Staff and volunteers will encourage child-safe greetings, such as high-fives and fist bumps, with children.  If a child is seeking more physical contact with a staff member or volunteer, alternative child-safe interactions should be discussed with that child’s parents or guardian.  Any incidental physical contact (for example, during game play or refocusing shoulder taps) should occur publicly and be observable by all in the vicinity.
  • Electronic Communications
    As an organization that holds personal character in the highest regard, Cedar Run is obligated to take actions to preserve the core values of the institution. As such, Cedar Run may terminate staff or volunteers for inappropriate actions including electronic communication that is contrary to our mission and may be detrimental to its community. Staff and volunteers may be held personally liable for any actions and commentary deemed to be defamatory, obscene, or libelous, whether pertaining to Cedar Run, individuals, or any other company.  Staff and volunteers are not permitted to use their personal devices (cell phones, iPads, watches, cameras, etc.) to take photos of, engage in electronic communication or social media, or play online video games with children under our care at Cedar Run.
  • Babysitting and Outside Contact
    Cedar Run staff or volunteers shall not provide care (babysit) or instruction or develop/maintain relationships with any children or families they meet through Cedar Run programs. If the staff member or volunteer has a pre-existing relationship with a child coming into a program, this must be disclosed to the Executive Director immediately. Cedar Run staff or volunteers may not have contact, beyond incidental, with children they meet in Cedar Run programs outside of Cedar Run.

    • This includes but is not limited to:
      • Transportation in a non-Cedar Run vehicle
      • Private special events such as movies, sporting events, or any other similar excursions
      • Visits to any residence (including social gatherings, babysitting, tutoring, nannying, etc.)
  • Bathroom policy
    Children must be potty trained in order to attend Cedar Run programming. Staff will not provide regular support to students in the bathroom.  If a child needs regular support in the bathroom, they will not be permitted to remain in Cedar Run programming.  On the rare occasion that a young child needs support in the bathroom, the staff member or volunteer will adhere to the bathroom procedures below and notify the family immediately after for possible early pick-up that day.

    • Children who are participating in Cedar Run programs are not to be sent to bathrooms without a Cedar Run staff/volunteer member present. The buddy system or three children together are not acceptable practices and are not permitted at Cedar Run. For single stall bathrooms, the Cedar Run staff/volunteer 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 Cedar Run staff/volunteer members will be standing in the doorway so they can have at least auditory supervision of the children. Staff/volunteers are not to enter a bathroom stall with a child.  To the extent possible, staff/volunteers should be close to 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/volunteers so individual staff/volunteers are not subjected to unwarranted allegations. If a staff member or volunteer must enter a stall in a bathroom emergency situation, another staff member should be with them and the stall door must remain open.  Staff are not to physically support a child in the bathroom, with the exception of handing them toilet paper or a change of clothes.  If a child needs extra support in the bathroom due to being ill, etc., parents should be notified and asked to promptly pick up the child.
  • Child ratio expectations
    Cedar Run has been enacted to meet or exceed all State of New Jersey Childcare ratios. Cedar Run has established ratios as minimums, not goals to achieve. Certain programs and activities may require more stringent ratios. Ratios alone do not equate to effective supervision, but if established ratios cannot be maintained the activity will be changed or additional staff/volunteer members added.
  • Transportation
    Cedar Run ratios and supervision standards apply during transportation. Staff/volunteers will spread themselves out in the vehicle and maintain their focus on the children while transportation is occurring. If the children being transported are of multiple age groups, they should be seated by age group, with older children positioned to the rear of the vehicle. Boys and girls generally should not be seated together; children with known relational challenges should also not be placed together. If larger capacity buses are used, staff/volunteers should monitor behavior by walking through the aisle on a frequent but irregular basis, and only when it is safe to do so.
  • Off-site Activities
    The risks to children change when they are off-site. In order to protect them from predators who may be at field trip locations the following standards will be enacted:

    • The ratio of students to staff/volunteers will be strengthened when programs go off-site. The appropriate ratio will be determined based on age of the children and the field trip activity and location.
    • Staff/volunteers will check all bathrooms immediately prior to use by the children and will be in the restroom when being used by children, but not inside the stalls.  If the bathroom is single use, staff should remain outside the bathroom door.
    • Children’s changing of clothes should take place prior to leaving the Cedar Run facility and if possible should wait until the group has returned to minimize the use of changing facilities in public locations.
    • Picking up of children while on field trips should only be allowed if prearranged and with written consent from the child’s parent or guardian.  The parent/guardian or pre-authorized recipient should be required to show proof of ID and sign a receipt for the child.
  • Visitor and Member Expectations Around Children
    Visitors/Members/Staff/Volunteers should be aware that all are expected to use appropriate language and act in a positive manner. Members or Visitors, who talk in a sexual manner, perform sexual gestures, sexual acts, or attempt inappropriate contact with a child will have their membership or guest privileges suspended or terminated depending on the degree of the offense. The police may be contacted, if warranted. No use of cameras or cell phones is allowed by visitors or members in any areas occupied by children under Cedar Run supervision.  All staff members or volunteers must immediately report any visitors or members acting inappropriately around children at Cedar Run to their direct supervisor.
  • Parent/child education
    Parents and children participating in camp, after school, teen programs, and childcare are to be informed of the policies staff/volunteers have agreed to follow regarding physical contact, outside contact, and electronic communications including photos and videos.  A copy of this Child-Safe Environment Policy and Code of Conduct will be made publically available for families and the community on our Cedar Run website.

Responding to an Allegation

  • Reporting Suspicious Behavior to a Supervisor and/or Executive Director
    All staff/volunteers have received specific training concerning the requirement to report violations of Cedar Run policies immediately to their supervisor and/or Executive Director. The contact number for the New Jersey State Central Registry Hotline will be posted in areas where staff members and volunteers gather.  All Cedar Run staff/volunteers are expected to observe other staff/ volunteer/member/visitor behaviors, including those of supervisors and directors, and to report any suspicions to an appropriate supervisor and/or Executive Director.  All reported suspicious behavior will be documented in detail on the Cedar Run authorized Recording form by the reporter, supervisor and/or Executive Director and will be kept in a locked file in the Executive Director’s office.

All residents of New Jersey are mandated reporters, meaning that any person who has a reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to acts of abuse or neglect should immediately report this information to the proper authorities. This means that any evidence of potential child abuse or observation of inappropriate contact by a parent, staff or volunteer member or other child at Cedar Run must be reported to the New Jersey State Central Registry Hotline at 1-800-792-8610 or 1-877-NJ-ABUSE (1-877-652-2873).

Cedar Run will adhere to the reporting and responding to an allegation procedure as defined below by N.J. Admin. Code § 3A:52-4.9:

Special requirements to prevent child abuse and neglect:

(a) The sponsor, sponsor representative, Executive Director, or any staff member shall verbally notify the State Central Registry Hotline (1-877 NJ ABUSE/1-877-652-2873) immediately whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect by a staff member, or any other adult, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.9, 8.10, 8.13, and 8.14.

(b) In addition to the reporting requirements specified in (a) above, the sponsor, sponsor representative, Executive D     irector, or any staff member shall advise the parent(s) of the occurrence of any unusual incident(s) that occurred at the center and that might indicate possible abuse or neglect involving the child. Such notification shall be made on the same day on which the incident occurred. Such incidents may include, but are not limited to, unusual sexual activity; violent or destructive behavior; withdrawal or passivity; or significant change(s) in the child’s personality, behavior or habits. The center shall maintain on file a record of such incidents and documentation that parents have been informed of them.

(c) The Department, during the course of investigating an allegation of child abuse or neglect, may determine that corrective action is necessary to protect the children whenever:

  1. The sponsor, sponsor representative,ExecutiveDirector, or staff member has been found by the Department’s Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit (IAIU) to pose a risk of harm to children;
  2. The sponsor, sponsor representative,ExecutiveDirector, or staff member has committed an act of child abuse or neglect, as substantiated by the IAIU; or
  3. The sponsor, sponsor representative, Executive Director, or staff member has been convicted of such acts.

(d) Whenever the Department makes a determination that corrective action is necessary to protect the children, the sponsor or sponsor representative shall carry out the Department’s recommendation for corrective action. Such corrective action may include, but not be limited to:

  1. Removal or suspension of the affected sponsor, sponsor representative, Executive Director, or staff member(s) from the center or reassignment to other duties that do not involve contact with the children; or
  2. When the sponsor, sponsor representative, Executive Director, or staff member resides at the facility where the center is located, removal of the affected employee from the premises for a period of time extending from one hour prior to the arrival of the children until one hour after the children have left.

(e) Such suspension, removal, or reassignment, as specified in (d)1 and 2 above, shall remain in effect until the results of the Department’s investigation have been determined and a final decision in the matter has been rendered by the Office of Licensing.

(f) If an allegation of child abuse or neglect is substantiated against a staff member, the sponsor or sponsor representative shall immediately terminate the staff member’s employment at the center. If an allegation of child abuse or neglect is substantiated against the sponsor or sponsor representative, the Department shall revoke or refuse to renew the license or Certificate of Life/Safety Approval, as applicable.

  • Working With the Media
    All media inquiries should be forwarded to the Executive Director, who will determine the media statement to be given.