The guidelines over child protection can vary widely between countries, organisations and clubs, but one rule that should be uniform is that parents need to be given as much information as possible (and access to information) when it comes to reassurance that their child is in safe hands.
In England, the FA has a long stream of guidelines aimed at protecting kids in schools and organised club environments, and these are built using the knowledge and backing of organisations such as the National Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Children, Sport England and others.
The nature of coaching means that many volunteers simply fall into their roles quite informally. That doesn’t mean that parents shouldn’t still need to check the person coaching their child, and any club should gather such information.
References should be sought, and must be written by individuals who are not related to the applicant (one from his/her place of work is often used).
The Criminal Records Bureau can and should also be consulted. Bigger youth football clubs have Child Welfare Officers and these can be used as a direct point of contact for parents. Clubs should also check other documents, such as qualifications, and should introduce a general child protection policy, plus further policies on selection, recruitment, whistle blowing, health and safety, and anti-bullying.
This collation of paperwork need only be done once, but it is important to react quickly and efficiently when a parent enquires, and it’s essential in verifying coaches in the first place.
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