Resources to Help Educate Parents About Camper Safety

Many of you may be aware that CBS News carried a story Monday morning, December 10, 2018 about abuse at summer camp.

While we are pleased that CBS has brought the issue of camper safety to the forefront, ACA staff are working to assure that the information reaching the public is both accurate and helpful and, further, that the value of ACA accreditation is at the center of that discussion. It is critical that any follow up to this story helps educate parents about the value of ACA accreditation, including its focus around health and safety of campers and staff.

ACA staff are ensuring relevant resources are readily available to camp professionals and the public. It is important to note, while individual states have varying levels of licensing requirements, ACA accreditation is the only standard across all 50 states and it often goes well beyond the minimal standards required by state regulation. The following highlights how ACA accreditation differs from state regulation: ACA Accreditation Compared to State Regulation

We also encourage you to share the following resources from our website with any parents who may inquire about your processes for providing a fun, healthy and safe experience: The Value of ACA Accreditation

To address parents’ concerns regarding staffing, you may refer to the specific standards about staff screening, supervision and training.

For reference to the Child Protection Improvements Act (CPIA), know that ACA has been advocating for CPIA the since as far back as the 1990s. This year President Trump signed the omnibus spending package, which included provisions for the CPIA. The new law enables organizations serving vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities to conduct fast, accurate, and affordable FBI background checks on prospective volunteers and employees. Prior to this law being passed, more than one-third of states do not have access to FBI background checks. The Department of Justice has yet to implement this law.

International cultural exchange staff are required to complete background checks that meet the standard set by the US State Department for their particular country of origin, and most placement agencies have a rigorous interview process. Accredited camps must work with their placement agency to verify the appropriate background checks in writing in order to meet the related mandatory standards, as there are no exceptions for international staff.

We encourage you to take this opportunity to highlight the benefits of a camp experience for children today as well as the benefits of ACA accreditation, including your implementation of mandatory standards relative to staff screening, supervision and the training you are providing to avoid scenarios like one-on-one camper and staff situations, among others.

Please see some sample social media posts to use on the benefits of accreditation.