Meeting Standards: Child Safety and Protection

SAIS accreditation standards 4 and 5 ask schools to show evidence that they have planned for the safety and protection of the children in their care. The following resources are provided to help schools in meeting these standards and responding to the accreditation engagement questions on child protection.

Standard 4: Stakeholder Communication & Relationships – The school develops and maintains effective communication and relationships to further its mission. An SAIS accredited school communicates clearly and accurately with its stakeholders and encourages collaboration to further its mission.
4.4 Assures that there is ongoing evidence of communication with appropriate agencies, such as public health, mental health, physicians, and other professionals. The school should be able to demonstrate that it has established relationships with appropriate external community resources so that both routine and emergency services in a wide variety of fields are readily available (see Indicator 5.11).

Required documents:

  • Communication to and from community resources such as police, fire department, city/urban planning offices, child protective services, state and local emergency management, mental health resources, and other agencies and service providers as appropriate.

Standard 5: Resources & Support Systems – The school has the resources, services, and policies necessary to support its mission.  An SAIS accredited school has sufficient human and material resources, employs a qualified and competent staff, and provides ongoing professional development. The school has well-defined and communicated policies and procedures to promote a safe, healthy, and orderly environment.
5.14 Provides documentation of ongoing health and safety procedures and inspections.
This can be satisfied with certificates of inspection from agencies that are charged with inspecting and certifying the campus on safety matters.

Required documents:

  • Description and documentation of the hiring process including screening and background check procedures (both initial and periodic) for employees.
  • Evidence of faculty training as required for CPR, first aid, child protective services issues and reporting, etc.
  • Evidence of ongoing training for adults in recognizing and reporting of sexual misconduct.
  • Evidence of ongoing, age-appropriate training for students in recognizing and reporting of sexual misconduct.
  • Virginia schools have requirements in addition to those listed above.

The Questions on Child Protection for Accreditation Consideration are designed to guide schools through addressing several accreditation standards and indicators related to the protection of students.

While best practices call for schools to plan and schedule training opportunities, develop definitions and policies, and outline procedures no matter where they fall in their accreditation cycle, these questions pertaining to the protection of children must be addressed by the school during the accreditation visit chair’s initial standards compliance visit. Schools will be asked to complete the Accreditation Engagement Questions form during the 12 months leading up to their accreditation visit.

SAIS has collected the following resources to guide schools as they plan professional development and develop policies and procedures in the area of child safety and protection.

The resources below address several questions on the protection of children:

The resources below address specific items within the Questions on Child Protection document:

Has the school developed and adopted an appropriate definition of child abuse (physical, emotional, and sexual), including inappropriate behavior of children toward other children?

Does the school have a policy that describes its commitment to preventing and responding appropriately if children are harmed, or if allegations of harm to children are made?

Has the school developed structured procedures for reporting suspected or disclosed maltreatment or abuse?

Each state may have its own reporting guidelines and training:

Does the school have specific child protection policies, practices, and faculty and staff training programs to ensure the safety and welfare of all students, including as appropriate: trips, student exchanges, boarding facilities, homestay, and residential arrangements? Does the school engage in periodic internal/external reviews and revisions of policies, protocols, and practices pertaining to all facets of student safety?

Does the school have formal procedures for determining the character of adults who interact with students? Do these procedures include obtaining and verifying references and conducting background checks?

Does the school have a scheduled program of regular, systematic professional training for all adults who have unsupervised contact with students (i.e., volunteers, contractors, faculty, and staff) on boundary setting between adults and students, recognition, intervention, reporting, and responding to allegations of sexual misconduct?

Does the school regularly provide developmentally appropriate training for students on recognizing and reporting sexual misconduct?

Does the student safety plan address clear lines of responsibility, procedures for both immediate and follow-up actions, a communication plan, identification of community and outside resources, and a record of actions taken?