Child and Elder Protection Policy
Unbound exists to serve children and others who live in conditions that render them particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Protecting their best interests, including their privacy and personal safety, is of utmost importance to us.
We take seriously our responsibility to maintain a safe and dignified environment for all members of the Unbound community, both internationally and within the United States, so as to facilitate the development of healthy, mutually beneficial relationships. The following policies are established for that purpose.
International Child/Elder Protection:
Unbound has a set of global policies by which all staff, volunteers and scholarship students must abide (see below). The global policies include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Two-adult Rule: There should be no fewer than two adults at all Unbound program activities involving children or youth. A child should never be alone with an adult who is not his or her parent or guardian during an Unbound activity.
- Appropriate Discipline: No child or youth should receive emotional or physical punishment from any staff member, volunteer or visitor.
- Visibility: Any adult interacting with children or youth during an Unbound activity should be visible to at least one other adult at all times.
- Privacy: Sponsored members and their families should be assured that Unbound is protecting the integrity, accuracy and dignity of information about them (including photographs) that is shared with the public.
- Reporting and Investigating Abuse: Unbound has reporting mechanisms and processes in place to appropriately and efficiently investigate any claims of abuse by program staff, Unbound-Kansas staff, scholarship students, volunteers, sponsors or other representatives of Unbound.
- Reasonable Behavior: These rules are not exhaustive. They should be understood to also include the prohibition of any behavior that a reasonable person would consider inappropriate in the presence of a child. Unbound reserves the right to judge any and all behaviors that come into question, and to take appropriate action.
In addition to the above, each international project office creates its own child and elder protection policies and training guides that take into account cultural context, project and program structure, and local laws. The purpose of this is to address child and elder protection issues that are specific to the local context in a way that global policies may not. Project staff, volunteers and scholarship students are required to be trained annually on both sets of policies, and travelers to a particular country or region are expected to know and understand the policies specific to that location.
There are parameters and reviews regarding correspondence between sponsors and sponsored members as well:
- The relationship between the sponsor and the sponsored member is monitored to ensure the protection of each sponsored person and each sponsor.
- Unbound staff randomly reviews letters written from sponsored friends to sponsors to help ensure the appropriateness of the correspondence and that no contact information is shared.
- Unsupervised communication between the sponsored member (and any of their family members) and the sponsor is strictly prohibited. This includes contact via telephone or any social networking application, including but not limited to, Twitter, Facebook, Skype and email.
U.S.-Office-Based Child and Elder Protection:
All sponsors are screened against a national sex offender registry. Registered sex offenders are not permitted to sponsor through Unbound.
Background checks are required for all awareness trip and individual sponsor visit travelers.
Sponsors may visit with a specific sponsored friend/family once per calendar year. This visit can occur either on an awareness trip or through an individual sponsor visit (ISV) scheduled through Unbound’s Kansas City office.
A sponsor may not sponsor a child, youth or elder who lives in the same country as the sponsor.