FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

FIRST Youth Protection

Nov 14, 2022 Written by Collin Fultz, FIRST Robotics Competition Senior Program Director

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Edited 11/15/22 to reflect that US and Canada-based teams are required to have at least two adult mentors who have passed Youth Protection Screening. 

 

Safety is at the forefront of FIRST® participation. The FIRST Youth Protection Program provides all participants in FIRST programs information, guidelines, and procedures to create a safe environment for our student participants. The information below contains key components of the FIRST Youth Protection Program that all adults and youth – especially mentors and event volunteers – should be aware of while participating in FIRST programs.

Reporting Portal

FIRST refreshed our Reporting Portal last season that allows anyone in the community to report a concern to FIRST. More details about the Reporting Portal can be found in this blog post and on the Regional & District Event webpage.

FIRST has a zero-tolerance policy regarding retaliation against anyone who reports a concern or who cooperates in an investigation of a reported concern.

All submissions to the Reporting Portal are investigated by FIRST with appropriate action taken based on the findings.

Mentor and Event Volunteer Training

The FIRST Youth Protection page provides a number of resources that volunteers should be familiar with before working with youth in our programs. The FIRST Youth Protection Program guide contains the policies and guidelines that all volunteers and youth participants must adhere to when participating with FIRST. The Youth Protection page also has a link to Youth Protection Training Videos. This training is intended to enable adults working with FIRST teams to recognize situations that may pose a threat to team member safety and take the actions necessary to prevent and report injuries. We encourage anyone participating with FIRST to take this training to better understand how to protect themselves and our youth participants. The training consists of a series of short videos; each video is no more than 5 minutes, and the entire series can be completed in 40-50 minutes.

Mentor & Volunteer Screening

All adult event volunteers are required to pass Youth Protection screening. Each US and Canada-based FIRST team is required to have at least two adult mentors who have passed Youth Protection screening. As we get closer to Kickoff and teams are starting to meet more often, we also recommend that Lead Mentors require any individual who will participate in 30% or more of team activities go through the screening and training. Lead Mentors can request screenings on other team mentors by using the “Manage Contacts” button on their Team Roster on the FIRST Dashboard.

If you have questions, would like more information, or would like to speak to someone directly, please email safetyfirst@firstinspires.org or call 603-206-2050. You can find more information, training, and guidance at http://www.firstinspires.org/youth-protection.

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