Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in Youth-Serving Organizations: Creating Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships and Environments

Millions of youth in the U.S. participate daily in youth-serving organization (YSO) activities and develop relationships with other youth, adult staff, and volunteers. These organizations play a vital role in promoting child well-being, youth connectedness, and resilience. Because of this, YSOs are critical partners for preventing all forms of child abuse, including child sexual abuse (CSA).

This project’s goal is to develop resources based on the best available evidence to support diverse YSOs in preventing CSA and ensuring safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children and youth. Many YSOs have implemented policies and procedures based on CDC’s 2007 publication, Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-serving Organizations: Getting Started on Policies and Procedures [4.56 MB, 55 Pages]. To support these organizations in their child sexual abuse prevention efforts, the project team will publish an update to this publication in 2024. In addition, new online resources, including customizable tools and worksheets designed to meet organizations where they are in CSA prevention policy planning and implementation, will be available to all YSOs in 2024.

This project is a collaborative effort funded and led by the CDC Foundation with technical assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Violence Prevention. CDC Foundation funding for the project is supported by grants from The Oak Foundation, Porticus, and World Childhood Foundation USA.

Recent and current activities include:
  • A partner panel meeting during which we heard from 25 experts in the field and incorporated their feedback into key aspects of the project
  • A comprehensive literature review covering the past 15 years of new research related to CSA prevention within YSOs
  • An environmental scan being carried out through focus groups, in-depth interviews with YSO representatives, and a review of current programs and policies across national and local YSOs.
    • The environmental scan has a special focus on YSOs working with diverse populations, including organizations that serve:
      • American Indian/Alaska Native youth
      • Youth who are experiencing or at-risk for homelessness
      • Youth who are immigrants, migrants, or refugees
      • Youth with disabilities
      • Youth who are LGBTQ+

Findings from these activities will be incorporated into the updated publication and online resources available on CDC’s VetoViolence webpage.

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