National Youth Protection Symposium Strengthens Collaboration Among Top Youth-Serving Organizations to Help Keep Kids Safe

ATLANTA, Georgia (Nov. 1, 2012)—Today, the Boy Scouts of America joined with the nation’s leading youth-serving nonprofits and nationally recognized experts at the National Youth Protection Symposium to provide a vital opportunity for nonprofit youth-serving organizations to discuss the subject of child sexual abuse prevention, hear from leading experts in the field, and share ideas on best practices to collectively find more effective ways to address this issue.

“This is a groundbreaking opportunity for youth-serving professionals to come together to further enhance our youth protection capabilities. We are humbled by the caliber of experts who agreed to share their knowledge, experience, and research with our diverse group of nonprofits,” said Michael Johnson, national director of Youth Protection, Boy Scouts of America. “This meeting is a critical step in our shared mission to continue to develop superior child sex abuse prevention programs.”

This symposium is hosted by the Boy Scouts of America’s Youth Protection office and will be facilitated by the executive director of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, Dr. Michael Haney. The combined efforts of the nationwide youth-serving organizations that are participating positively impact the lives of nearly 20 million youth.

The intended outcome of the event is to engage youth-serving nonprofits in a dialogue to discuss emerging trends, new research, and evolving best practices. The conference organizers will summarize the conclusions of the meeting for a report that will be shared with the attendees and made available to youth-serving organizations.

The Boy Scouts of America’s Youth Protection office began planning the symposium late last year. It invited major youth-serving organizations to attend and Haney to facilitate the event. Additional facilitators will include Amy Russell, deputy director of the National Child Protection Training Center; and Stephanie Smith, an expert in criminal cases against children.

The meeting will include sessions led by nationally recognized child sexual abuse experts. It will focus on such topics as the prevalence and prevention of child sexual abuse, the behavior of sex offenders, and the emerging threat of online predators. Specific topics and speakers include:

  • Prevalence and Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse (Dr. David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center)
  • A Call to End Child Sexual Abuse in Youth-Serving Organizations (Victor Vieth, J.D., executive director of the National Child Protection Training Center)
  • Sex Offenders: Adult Behavior and Grooming (Dr. Anna Salter, leading expert on sex offender behavior)
  • Situational Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse (Dr. Keith Kaufman, author of The Prevention of Sexual Violence: A Practitioner’s Sourcebook)
  • What We Know About Children and Adolescents With Problematic Sexual Behavior (Dr. Barbara Bonner, professor of clinical psychology at Children’s Medical Research Institute, director of the Center on Child Abuse and Neglect)
  • Online Predators: The Emerging Threat (Dr. Sharon Cooper, forensic pediatrician, CEO of Developmental and Forensic Pediatrics)
  • The Latest Research: Evaluation of Prevention Programs (Lisa Jones, Ph.D., research associate professor of psychology at the University of New Hampshire, faculty member at the Crimes Against Children Research Center)
  • Criminal Background Checks—They’re Not All the Same (Kristen Anderson, executive director of training and outlook at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

“Bringing together the knowledge of these youth-serving organizations and top professionals in the field will have a profound impact on the quality and delivery of child sexual abuse prevention programs around the country,” Haney said. “Creating and sustaining a culture where this abuse is addressed, discussed, and prevented will allow youth-serving organizations to continue to make a positive difference in the lives of our youth.”

About the Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be “Prepared. For Life.™” The Scouting organization is composed of 2.7 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and more than a million volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit

(Editor’s Note: The National Youth Protection Symposium is closed to media. However, interviews may be scheduled with a presenter, facilitator, or the Boy Scouts of America by contacting Deron Smith at 972-580-7848 or 214-505-8341.)