Making AYSO A Truly Safe Haven®
"Do I really have to fill out this entire form in order to help out an AYSO team? It's such a hassle, and it's all just to devote a few hours a week to a cause that should be happy to have me as a volunteer, right?"
The best way for you to respond to this type of question is simply:
"They're your children. How safe do you want us to be with them?"
Yes, we are thrilled that family, friends and others are willing and able to assist with our young team members in AYSO; but we have a duty to protect both the volunteer as well as the children in their charge.
Since 2000, AYSO's Safe Haven has been the premier child and volunteer protection program that was the first of its kind in youth sports. It includes proactive steps which provide a medium for positive, healthy child development.
The child protection aspect is intended to stop child abuse by screening out predators before they get into the program as well as taking the necessary steps to protect children in the program. This is accomplished, among other things, through our background checking system, the AYSO supervision ratio and through the awareness education component of our Safe Haven training.
Every volunteer with an application sent to the AYSO National Safe Haven Office for processing is subject to a national sex offender registry check and a "targeted" criminal background check. AYSO's Criminal Background Check Policy identifies volunteer restrictions based on criminal convictions found in these background reports.
While there is no way for us to measure the deterrent effect of such a thorough collection of information, we do know that AYSO enjoys some of the lowest liability insurance rates in the industry due to our diligent efforts to screen out would-be perpetrators.
We can only provide these services when we have a completed form on file for each and every volunteer. And while there is no way to ever weed out any and all potential child abusers; it is entirely impossible to do so without properly collected information.
So the next time that you get a question from a potential volunteer about the necessity of the volunteer form, remember that AYSO is all about a safe experience in soccer for our children.