The Hopewell Valley YMCA located within Mercer County, serves youth members and participants from Pennington, Hopewell, Titusville, and the surrounding areas. The YMCA youth programs are designed to provide a safe space for members and participants to grow emotionally, physically and create positive experiences.
The YMCA is working with Praesidium to strengthen our child protection best practices and to provide members and participants with world class care. Praesidium, like the YMCA, places a high emphasis on child protection and providing the best experience for members and participants in our care.
As defined by the State of New Jersey, Department of Children and Families, Abuse is the physical, sexual, or emotional harm or risk of harm to a child under the age of 18, caused by a parent or other person who acts as a caregiver for the child.
Physical Abuse: When a person close to the child deliberately commits an act that results in a physical injury to the child. These injuries can have serious, long-lasting effects. [childwelfare.gov]
Sexual Abuse: Child sexual abuse refers to the involvement of a child (person less than 18 years old) in sexual activity that violates the laws or social taboos of society and that he/she does not fully comprehend, does not consent to or is unable to give informed consent to, or is not developmentally prepared for and cannot give consent to. [cdc.gov]
Emotional Abuse: Is a pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance. [childwelfare.gov]
As defined by the State of New Jersey, Department of Children and Families, Neglect occurs when a parent or caregiver fails to provide proper supervision for a child or adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, or medical care although financially able or assisted to do so.
Indicators/ Warning Signs of Abuse:
Unexplained bruises, welts, burns, fractures, lacerations, abrasions
Wary of Adult Contacts
Frightened of specific individuals
Inappropriate behavioral traits for age group
As an organization, we have taken the following actions to keep kids safe in our Y facilities, camps and programs and maintain the reputation of safety we have built during our 175-year history.
All Ys in the U.S. are required to implement child sexual abuse prevention practices and policies to remain a member in good standing with the National Council of YMCAs. These requirements include:
- Completing a child abuse prevention self-assessment (created by a Y-USA-approved vendor) at least every two (2) years and implement an Action Plan to address opportunities for improvement.
- Having a policy that requires criminal background checks for staff and volunteers
- Providing and requiring annual training for staff and high-access volunteers on preventing and responding to youth-to-youth sexual activity and adult-to-child sexual activity or abuse
- In addition to requiring all staff and volunteers to report child abuse in accordance with applicable laws, all allegations of sexual abuse or victimization of minors (under 18) involving Y staff, volunteers, members or participants must be reported to the appropriate authorities.
- Having a policy that requires screening all adults against a national sex offender registry and written protocol for how to respond when adults are identified as registered sex offenders
- Implementing policies that define boundaries with youth
- Implementing procedures for identifying and managing high-risk activities
- Assigning youth protection to a leadership staff member’s responsibility and a committee’s chart of work
If you have concerns or questions about abuse at the Y or the Y’s abuse policy, contact the Hopewell Valley YMCA.
YMCA Main Ofiice: 609.737.3048
Doug Pszczolkowski – CEO
Daniel Williams – Senior Program Director
Karen Sharp – Child Development Director
New Jersey Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline
1-877-NJ ABUSE (1-877-652-2873)
National Child Abuse Hotline