Adult Leaders

Leadership Selection

The Boy Scouts of America takes great pride in the quality of our adult leadership. Being a leader in the BSA is a privilege, not a right. The quality of the program and the safety of our youth members call for high-quality adult leaders.

The adult application requests background information that should be checked by the unit committee or the chartered organization before accepting an applicant for unit leadership. While no current screening techniques exist that can identify every potential child abuser, we can reduce the risk of accepting a child abuser by learning all we can about an applicant for a leadership position—his or her experience with children, why he or she wants to be a Scout leader, and what discipline techniques he or she would use.

Required Training

  • Youth Protection training is required for all BSA registered volunteers and is a joining requirement.
  • Youth Protection training must be taken every two years. If a volunteer’s Youth Protection training record is not current at the time of recharter, the volunteer will not be re-registered.
  • Download the How-To Guide for taking Youth Protection Training 

The “three R’s” of Youth Protection

The “three R’s” of Youth Protection convey a simple message for the personal awareness of our youth members:

  • Recognize that anyone could be an abuser.
  • Respond when someone is doing something that goes against your gut or against the safety guidelines.
  • Report attempted or actual abuse or any activity that you think is wrong to a parent or other trusted adult.

Youth Protection Reporting Procedures for Volunteers

There are two types of Youth Protection–related reporting procedures all volunteers must follow:

  • When you witness or suspect any child has been abused or neglected—See “Mandatory Report of Child Abuse” below.
  • When you witness a violation of the BSA’s Youth Protection policies—See “Reporting Violations of BSA Youth Protection Policies” below.

Mandatory Report of Child Abuse

All persons involved in Scouting shall report to local authorities any good-faith suspicion or belief that any child is or has been physically or sexually abused, physically or emotionally neglected, exposed to any form of violence or threat, exposed to any form of sexual exploitation, including the possession, manufacture, or distribution of child pornography, online solicitation, enticement, or showing of obscene material. You may not abdicate this reporting responsibility to any other person.

Reporting Violations of BSA Youth Protection Policies

If you think any of the BSA’s Youth Protection policies have been violated, including those described within Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse, you must notify your local council Scout executive or his/her designee so appropriate action can be taken for the safety of our Scouts.

Steps to Reporting Child Abuse

  1. Ensure the child is in a safe environment.
  2. In cases of child abuse or medical emergencies, call 911 immediately. In addition, if the suspected abuse is in the Scout’s home or family, you are required to contact the local child abuse hotline.
  3. Notify the Scout executive or his/her designee.

Official Scouts BSA FAQ