The Canadian Centre for Child Protection has partnered with Jays Care Foundation, the charitable arm of the Toronto Blue Jays, to develop a resource that will help create safe environments for children in sports organizations.
With the support of a direct donation from Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher, R.A. Dickey, Commit to Kids - Sport Edition was developed. This resource has strategies, policies, and a step-by-step plan for reducing the risk of child sexual abuse. The kit includes a Guide for Sport Organizations and a training video, as well as materials for parents and sports leaders.
"I carried the pain of sexual abuse for more than two decades. As a kid I didn't know how to deal with it, so I tried to forget. But you can't forget," said R.A. Dickey, who disclosed in 2007 that at eight-years-old he was sexually abused by a female babysitter, and later by a teenage male. "When kids register for sports they are entrusted to our care, and we have every responsibility to take all the steps possible to create positive experiences to enhance their development. This program helps sports organizations to do that."
Based on the Canadian Centre for Child Protection's original Commit to Kids program, this resource helps to create safe environments for children in sport by providing organizations with a plan using a risk-management approach that is much broader than criminal record and child abuse registry checks for preventing child sexual abuse. Because the majority of offenders do not have a criminal record, relying solely on record checks is ineffective in protecting kids from individuals who may cause harm to children.
"We are so proud of this new partnership with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Jays Care Foundation.," said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director, at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. "Jays Care has taken a leadership role in saying we are invested in the personal safety of children within communities. This resource, developed with their support, will enable sports organizations to proactively take steps to protect children."
To raise awareness of the Commit to Kids Program, two public service announcements featuring R.A. Dickey have also been developed and will begin airing on Friday, April 25 on Rogers Sportsnet.
In the past three months, 800 Commit to Kids - Sport Edition kits have already been distributed through the Blue Jays Annual Coaching Clinic and to the Ontario Baseball Association's Annual Coaching Clinic.
"The Toronto Blue Jays, through Jays Care Foundation, are committed to providing children with access to sport and save environments to play," says Danielle Bedasse, Executive Director, Jays Care Foundation. "The partnership with Canadian Centre for Child Protection to help provide resources to protect kids involved in sport from abuse is an important one. We look forward to working with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to help protect kids and allow them to realize all the benefits being involved in sports provides."
Visit Commit to Kids - Sports Edition for more information or to order the program.