Whether you’re rushing to complete errands or enjoying a nice date night, it’s likely that you often find yourself in need of a babysitter for your kids. However, it can be difficult to find a person you trust completely to take care of your child. 1 in 10 children experience sexual abuse before the age of 18, and 40% of instances of child sexual abuse are perpetrated by older youth. With Child Abuse Prevention Month coming up in April, here are some tips for choosing the right person to care for your child.
1. Ask the potential babysitter for references. Talk to parents of kids they have cared for in the past as well as references for any other jobs they may have held to get a better sense of who they are.
2. Consider asking for a background check, or running a search on the National Sex Offender Public Website. Although it doesn’t hurt to check, reporting and prosecution rates of sexual violence are low, so it is still important to go beyond a cursory search and contact references.
3. The OCRCC partners with Darkness to Light, a nonprofit that works to end child sexual abuse, to offer the Stewards of Children® training, which teaches adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Consider asking your childcare provider to attend training with you—there are many trainings coming up in March and April, including some in Orange County! Follow this link to find trainings in your area. If you or your babysitter can’t make the in-person training, there’s an online training as well!
4. Talk to your children about personal safety and boundaries. Teach them that their body belongs to them and them alone, and no one has the right to touch them in a way that makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable. To learn more about how to talk to children about protecting themselves, check out the links on the Community Education section of the OCRCC website.
5. Teach yourself to recognize the signs of child sexual abuse.
If you are a childcare provider, you can learn more about preventing child sexual abuse through our Stewards of Children training. You can also become a Childcare Volunteer at the Center! Childcare Volunteers look after amazing children while their parents attend support groups and workshops. Our next 2.5-hour training is coming up in May, so please contact Client Services Director Bethany Wichman-Buescher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-968-4647 for more info or to apply.
Ellie McWilliam-Grench is our Admin & Outreach Intern. She is a sophomore at UNC-Chapel Hill.