Updates for 2010!

2010 Fall Standards Newsletter

Revised Standards

As you should know by now, there has been a recent revision to the standards. In the event you missed this announcement in the December 7, 2010 issue of ACA Now, here it is:

The ACA National Board is committed to the protection of children and youth. Because of societal events, significant news media regarding child abuse, and the expectation by parents regarding reasonable precautions for child safety — the national board asked the National Standards Commission (NSC) to review the ACA standard concerning staff screening. The board asked the NSC to research and consider the standards in the youth-development field — with specific focus upon what other organizations require regarding criminal background checks. Upon completing an environmental scan, which included other accreditation bodies as well as national youth serving organizations, it became evident the 2006 version of the ACA standard regarding the requirement for criminal background checks (not mandatory) was NOT in line with these organizations and the industry standards. Therefore, the recommendation was made to the ACA Board of Directors to require criminal background checks on new staff eighteen years of age or older beginning in 2011. Earlier this fall, Standard HR4B was approved as MANDATORY beginning 2011.

HR4 states: Does the camp have written evidence of a policy in practice that requires screening for all camp staff with responsibility for or access to campers that includes:

(Part B) For new camp staff 18 years and older, paid, volunteer, and contracted, a criminal background check? The wording of the current standard has not changed and ACA does not dictate what type of criminal background check must be conducted.

What does this mean for your camp? The current compliance rate for HR4B is already very high — so your camp may not need to make any changes. If you were not currently meeting this standard, then you must begin setting up a process to conduct criminal background checks on all new staff over the age of eighteen (paid, volunteer, and contracted). ALL CAMPS MUST COME INTO COMPLIANCE WITH STANDARD HR4B FOR THE 2011 SEASON! We at ACA realize that conducting a criminal background check is just one method by which camps work to be create a safe environment for campers, and we agree with other accrediting bodies and youth serving agencies that it is a very important practice.

ACA has developed a number of resources to help your camp understand the options available when performing criminal background checks. Our resources include an online e-Institute Course: Criminal Background Checks — Dispelling the Myths and Confronting the Realities, and a resource page full of excellent articles and links.

As there is no wording change to this standard, we will NOT be printing any revised pages for the Accreditation Process Guide. We will need the help of ALL visitors to share this news as you talk with camp owners/directors. We will also continue to send communication regarding this revision to our camps and members.

Standards (Full and Revised) and Visitors Courses

As for 2010, any camp being visited in 2011 will need to complete a standards course. Which course they need to complete will depend on a variety of factors. All courses have been revised to include information on changes made to the standards between spring 2006 and fall 2010 (includes revision to Standard HR4B). See the list below to help distinguish WHO should take which course. All of these courses are available in both online and in-person format.

Who Takes What Course?

Standards Course (5–6 hours in length): An individual from a camp being visited for the first time in 2011 who will be involved in the preparation of and on-site the day of the visit, the new director of a camp that has been visited previously under this set of standards, or someone from a camp the section indicates should take the FULL course. While this course is available online, it is strongly recommended this course be taken in person. Access to the online version is through the local office.

Standards UPDATE Course (1–1.5 hours in length): An experienced individual from a camp that has gone through an accreditation visit under the 2006 revisions — the 2011 visit will be their second time for an accreditation visit with this set of standards. This course is available online at: www.ACAcamps.org/einstitute/standardsupdate

Visitor Update Course (1 hour in length): Any visitor who did not complete the update for the 2010 season and would like to conduct a visit in 2011 will need to complete this course. This course may be completed online or in person. The online course can be accessed through the ACA e-Institute at: www.ACAcamps.org/einstitute/visitorupdate. As a visitor, if your camp is being visited in 2011 and you are involved with the preparation for this visit, you do not need to complete the Standards Update Course.