Child Abuse Prevention Training


First, it's important to point out that the training to be provided should focus on broader issue of child protection, the prevention of sexual abuse and other crimes against children. Mandated Reporter training is a different focus, of which there may be components of reporting included in the protection training, but that is not the type of training this ordinance requires.

Organizations may meet this training requisite in a variety of ways. The organization may provide in-person training as a regular part of its staff or volunteer orientation and there may be annual training opportunities provided to new staff/volunteers.

The California Department of Education has an extensive Child Abuse Prevention Training and Resources website with a robust list of a variety of resources. That site does provide information about both mandated reporter information as well as the 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has an excellent guide for organizations who work with children that offers much in the way of developing policies and procedures, training and facilitation.
Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-serving Organizations: Getting Started on Policies and Procedures (2007)

There are commercial providers who have programs that an organization may purchase training modules from or an organization may have their own contacts and expertise to provide the training. The following information lists a few organizations that may provide these types of training or may consult with your organization in the development of your own training.

Online Training

If individuals need to complete training outside of provided opportunities, they may utilize a variety of online training programs and information. There have been many online courses developed that address a variety of organizations, from education to religious to other youth serving programs that are both free and easily accessible. There may also be those that are free to pre-approved members, and then there are commercial providers of programs an organization may purchase training modules from. It is up to your organization to select the method that works best for your staff and/or volunteers. The following list of resources is not all inclusive of opportunities that exist, but that are free or low cost to the trainee.

The online training programs originate from various perspectives, and no one program is likely to fit every youth group program or activity. The organization requiring the training may choose to recommend the course that would best resemble the types of programs they offer. It is strongly suggested that the appropriate staff or volunteers review all training programs and select that which best suits the needs of the organization.

This is a short list of some programs and materials available at the time of this web update (4/2020) that could meet the requirement of this ordinance:

1. Darkness to Light - Stewards of Children
"Prevention training featuring real people and real stories about protecting children from sexual abuse."
  • This is a very good, low cost online training program available in both English and Spanish.
  • Program provides certificate upon successful completion of the Exit Test.
2. Boy Scouts of America (BSA). BSA online Youth Protection training program is an interactive video and question response program. Although the training focuses specifically on Boy Scouts of America policies and situations,the principles and methodologies can easily be adapted to meet a wide variety of youth-serving organizations.
  • This program is free, but requires account creation with BSA to create a training record. One does not need to be a registered BSA member to take the course.
  • Upon completion of the program, a certificate can be issued and used as proof of training completion to the requiring organization.
  • This link provides access to a YouTube production that also provides additional information with regards to content and MyScouting registration for the course completion quiz.
3. International Mission Board (IMB)
The free video and set of accompanying materials is designed for Christian communities with mission programs. However, the materials covered in the Child Protection Training Video are generally secular, very clear and easily applicable to any program or setting with children. Materials provided include a Leader's Guide, a Learner's Guide, Answers to Learner's Guide Questions, a scenario based Discussion Guide and the Suggested Responses in those situations. This is designed to be viewed as a group training so there is no online proof of completion. Your organization may choose to create an affidavit of volunteer completion, such as the Pine Terrace Baptist Church provides in their extensive Child Protection Policy and Training materials. They also link to Protect My Ministry, who offers fee-based Child Safety Training in an online course.

Additional Training and Policy Development Resources

A few other agencies or individuals that may provide additional information or resources for child abuse prevention training.

San Mateo County Child Abuse Council (CAPC)

CAPC Oversight Committee
Provides leadership to prevent child abuse by advocating and coordinating resources and raising community awareness through education and training.  

Child Welfare Information Gateway - US Dept. of Health & Human Services Children's Bureau

Preventing Child Abuse & Neglect resource page

YMCA of San Francisco

Chip Rich
Vice President of Operations
Created regional Child Abuse Polcy and training procedures for the YMCA organization.

Friends for Youth's Mentoring Institute

1741 Broadway, First Floor
Redwood City, CA 94063
"SAFE: Screening Applicants for Effectiveness. Guidelines to Prevent Child Molestation in Mentoring and Youth-Serving Organizations" (links to Amazon), by Friends for Youth staff, originally published 2006, Paperback 2017. An excellent resource for individuals and agencies that are designing and implementing effective youth programs.

National Alliance for Youth Sports Headquarters

2050 Vista Parkway
West Palm Beach, Florida 33411
Policy Guidelines "Background Screening in Youth Sports". Document can be downloaded and provides good information and resources regarding background checks and child protection policies and procedures development.

Stop It Now!

351 Pleasant Street, Suite B-319
Northampton, MA 01060
Helpline: 1-888-PREVENT (773-8368)
An organization focused on stopping sexual abuse of children. It provides its Circles of Safety training program that is "adaptable to any youth serving environment, and for any audience of adults in caregiving and/or protective roles." There are some online free webinars and other online resources. Contact them for consultation and further information.

Additional Publications

Resources on developing organizational policies regarding child protection.

Creating Organizational Policies to Prevent Sexual Abuse
The Prevention Researcher, Vol. 20(3), September 2013.  (Free PDF)

By Joan Tabachnick, MPPM

The Season of Hope: A Risk Management Guide for Youth-Serving Nonprofits

from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center, Youth Protection - website
EBook for purchase

Certifications & Proof of Compliance

Your organization may request a blank copy of the Compliance Certification cards that may be distributed to staff and volunteers upon training completion. This card will be acceptable as proof of training to any youth organization operating in the City of San Mateo. Additionally, upon request and with submittal of the compliance document, the City can provide a Certificate of Compliance for verification of organizational compliance. For either document, please provide the following information in an email request and the City will return a PDF copy of the blank cards to be controlled by the requesting organization, and/or mail a hard copy of the signed Certificate of Compliance.
  • Organization name
  • Requester name & title
  • Address
  • Phone
  • Email
You may contact Heather Stewart by email or at (650) 522-7164 for further information. (Rev. 7/2018)