Kevin MacDonald, of the Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club, is the District 5280 Senior Assistant Governor for Risk Management. To protect Rotary and youth from risks of potential abuse or perceived/alleged abuse of minors in Rotary programs, and because of publicized cases in other organizations, Rotary now requires a risk management training program and background check for every Rotarian who works with youth in Rotary programs. This process is required every 2 years for any Rotarian involved in any outside activities with youth present, other than in a formal Rotary meeting. (For Youth Exchange people, this is required every year.)
Rotarians can register online and do a 45 minutes online course at, & can arrange a background check at (do not use “www”). Kevin handed out print-outs of his slides as educational material for the Rotarians present. A “Live Course” presentation in a Club meeting can also qualify.
The purpose is to protect youth by preventing all forms of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, neglect, or harassment of children, and to recognize it and properly report it (without accusing anyone). Any adult with an allegation must be removed from all contact with youth until resolved, and all allegations (without making accusations) must be reported to law enforcement authorities to determine validity. Any member with confirmed allegations must be terminated from Rotary membership.
Youth must be treated with respect, and situations of one adult supervising one child should be avoided. Care must be used with social media with youth. If a youth mentions a concern, listen carefully, stay calm and assure privacy of the youth & alleged perpetrator (but not confidentiality because someone else must be told for investigation). Get the facts without interrogation or asking why, reassure the youth that telling you is the right thing, keep a detailed written record including time & date, remove the youth from the situation, and report to law enforcement (or to a Youth Protection Officer or SAG Risk Management if non-criminal harassment). Youth should be offered immediate support services, and the District Governor must be notified.