USA Swimming has announced an agreement with the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center (NCPTC) to review the sport’s Safe Sport program, which is the name given to the program designed to better protect swimmers from abuse by coaches, among other things.
“The Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center staff and I look forward to conducting an independent, in-depth review of USA Swimming’s Safe Sport program,” said NCPTC executive director Victor Vieth. “We applaud USA Swimming for giving us unencumbered access to allow our team to scrutinize the program, and, more importantly, to come up with solid recommendations to improve it.”
Chuck Wielgus, the Executive Director of USA Swimming, says that through this partnership, they are “looking for a validation of what they have done well and a recommendation about how they can make the program better.”
Wielgus said that it was important that they found someone both outside of USA Swimming to review the program, and someone who understands the challenges that a “large and respected organization has to deal with.”
The NCPTC, which early this year joined the not-for-profit Gundersen Health System, originated as a collaboration between Winona State University in Minnesota and the American Prosecutor’s Research Institute. A huge portion of their work to date has been involved in implementing “model undergraduate child protection programs” in colleges around the United States, and among those with which they currently have partnerships include the William Mitchell College of Law and New Mexico State University.
In their own words, the NCPTC “works to end child abuse, neglect and other forms of child maltreatment in three generations through education, training, awareness, prevention, advocacy and the pursuit of justice.”
An exhaustive search of the web and request to USA Swimming couldn’t find any perfect correlations to this sort of partnership, but in the wake of the Penn State scandal, they did release a public report that focused mostly on how to get mandated reporters to report sexual crimes. Read that report here. They have, however, done a lot of work across the country with child protection training.
Wielgus said via phone that this “will be an in depth review of the programs, policies, and procedures that will help measure USA Swimming against the other top youth sport organizations. We want to make them better and are fully committed to improving the program,” and will “welcome anything the reviewer has to offer, regardless of the results.”
Wielgus says that the conclusions of the review are expected at the end of January, 2014.