Youth Protection Reminders & Updates

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Events are underway, and we wanted to share a few reminders and updates relating to Youth Protection.

First, we will start with the resources available to teams on the Youth Protection webpage. Under Youth Protection Policies & Training, you can find our Youth Protection Program Guide & Training videos. Under Team Resources & Videos, you will find additional videos and resources available to teams. As mentioned in a recent blog, we highly recommend that all teams host a team meeting on travel expectations and Youth Safety. With this in mind, we have created a PowerPoint (file will automatically download) that teams can use as a starting point to cover safety with their students. We are also developing new resources to help raise awareness and knowledge of YPP policies and will share them out this season when they are ready.

Also on the Youth Protection webpage, we have added information about Mandatory Reporting. In the United States and Canada 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 for the USA and other contact information on the Child Welfare Gateway website State Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Numbers. The contact information for reporting suspected child maltreatment in Canada can be found on the Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal under the Provincial and Territorial Assistance page. Other countries may have similar laws and information for other global locations can be found on the ICMEC Education Portal.

In addition to the mandatory reporting information above, Medical Incidents and Youth Protection concerns can be reported to FIRST® using the FIRST Reporting Portal. The FIRST Reporting Portal is monitored daily but is not a crisis hot line. If you have an emergency, safety issue, or event-related issue that needs immediate resolution you should speak to a trusted adult such as a mentor, an event volunteer, pit admin, event manager or emergency services (such as law enforcement, as applicable). Even when issues are resolved on-site, we still encourage participants to follow up by submitting a report on the FIRST Reporting Portal, so we have a record of issues that occurred. What to report:

  • Medical Incidents: All physical injuries/illnesses, however slight, that take place at a FIRST Official Event must be reported.
  • Youth Protection Concerns: The Youth Protection Program focuses on the prevention of harm and abuse to youth participants. If the concern involves youth as the impacted party, please use the Youth Protection option on the form. These concerns can encompass a wide variety of one-time or ongoing issues such as suspected abuse, bullying, harassment, discrimination, or serious violations of the FIRST Code of Conduct.
  • Other: If you are unsure what type of concern you have, you can make a report under “Other” and we will ensure that your report gets to the appropriate department or person to address the concern (ex: local FIRST partner, team hosting organization, FIRST program staff, etc.).
    • Feedback about game play, rule changes, or award descriptions are considered program related concerns and should not be reported through this portal. Please share these thoughts with Please note that the match results and award results are final, and we will not review match videos.
    • For issues regarding interpersonal conflicts or differences in opinion or approach between adult volunteers, parents or youth participants, we recommend those concerns be directed first to an appropriate local party who is best positioned to help such as the team hosting organization (e.g. school) or trusted adult, and/or the  local FIRST partner.

Finally, we wanted to include a reminder on screening. Each US and Canada-based FIRST team is required to have at least two adult mentors who have passed Youth Protection screening. Teams need to update their rosters for events, and we highly recommend that lead mentor 1 or 2 looks through the list of mentors associated with your team, remove any that may no longer be working with your team, and add in any new mentors. 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 strongly 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 by following these steps:

  1. Log in to the FIRST Dashboard
  2. Click on the blue “Primary Contacts” link located under the Team Contacts/Roster column
  3. Locate the mentors contact card
  4. Click options in the upper right-hand corner of contact role card
  5. Select “Request Screening.” The non-lead mentor will receive an email invitation to go directly to the screening vendor. 

Screenshot of mentor contact card in the FIRST DashboardAll US & Canada event volunteers must go through the YPP Screening. If you plan to volunteer at an event this season and have not started your background check yet, we recommend doing this as soon as possible. Some jurisdictions are experiencing delays completing background screening orders at the county and state level. You can check if your jurisdiction may be impacted by visiting the National Crime Search website.