FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Take The Time for Youth Safety

Aug 31, 2023 Written by Kim Wierman, Sr. Director – FIRST LEGO League; JoAnn Halloran, Sr. Program Manager – FIRST Tech Challenge; Collin Fultz, Sr. Director – FIRST Robotics Competition




Last fall, FIRST® Robotics Competition shared a blog reminding our community of the resources available to help protect our youth.

As teams are reforming for the new season, we want to remind you to take time to make sure all team members, adults and youth, understand their role in creating a safe environment.

Start with the FIRST® Youth Protection webpage and FIRST Youth Protection guide. Make sure everyone understands the FIRST Code of Conduct and Reporting Requirements as well as where to Report a Concern. Safeguarding youth is everyone’s responsibility, so if you “See something, Say something!" Anyone that observes something inappropriate or experiences something that makes them uncomfortable should report the behavior to a trusted adult; whether that is a mentor, coach, event volunteer, or FIRST Youth Protection.

Individuals who fail to adhere to the Code of Conduct or FIRST Youth Protection policies may be excluded from working in FIRST programs and at FIRST events.

Each US and Canada-based FIRST team is required to have at least two adult mentors who have passed Youth Protection screening prior to being able to register for events. All adults who regularly work with youth team members should also complete a Youth Protection background screen. Adults who have not obtained Youth Protection Clearance may only work with teams under the close direction of a lead coach/mentor or a screened adult designee. It is recommended that any adult regularly involved in a team’s activities (I.e. involved in 30% or more of the team’s activities) complete Youth Protection screening and training. Lead mentors are responsible for determining whether other adults are “regularly involved” and can invite them to be screened from their Team registration dashboard by selecting “Request Screening” (see screenshot example below).



While screening through the dashboard is only available for volunteers in the US and Canada, the other parts of the FIRST Youth Protection guide and training are applicable globally. Groups of mentors may take the training together, which can provide an opportunity to ask questions and discuss scenarios.

Teams should also host a Team Safety Meeting early in the season, covering everything from safe tool operation to safe interactions. The FIRST Safety Manual for FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Youth Protection webpage for all programs have resources that can be used during these meetings.

The rules that apply to in-person meetings can also apply to online communications. From page 20 of the Youth Protection guide, coaches should not initiate contact with any students via any FIRST platforms, social media, or other electronic means unless it is about a FIRST-related project or activity. When contacting youth participants about FIRST or team related activities, parents, guardians, and other team coaches/mentors should be included on the communications whenever possible/practical.

All FIRST participants and volunteers of any age may report Youth Protection Concerns, Medical Incidents, and other concerns to FIRST using the FIRST Reporting Portal, or by emailing Remember that in the United States there are laws that require individuals working with youth to report known or suspected instances of child abuse and neglect. You can find a complete list of State Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Numbers and other contact information.

FIRST is always working on new youth protection training and awareness materials and we welcome feedback from coaches and mentors on what would be most useful. If you have suggestions, questions, or would like more information, please email

You can find more information, training, and guidance on the FIRST Youth Protection page.

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