Events at Hanna and throughout our broader society over the last two years have taught us that we must remain constantly vigilant and proactive when it comes to keeping our young people safe from physical and sexual abuse. We know that breaches in physical safety are more likely to occur in cultures where other abuses of power compromise social, psychological and moral safety, thereby laying the foundation for physical and sexual mistreatment.
With this is mind, over the past 18 months Hanna has taken dozens of positive steps to improve the safety of the young people we serve, including:
- We engaged an independent consultant, Praesidium, to conduct a comprehensive security audit of our plant, programs, policies and procedures.
- We have trained all our staff and young people to recognize and respond to signs of sexual abuse and are conducting regular trainings moving forward.
- We have significantly revised our transportation policies to ensure greater accountability regarding off-campus trips.
- We installed GPS tracking devices on all our agency vehicles and have prohibited the use of personal cars for transporting young people in our care.
- We have reviewed all our policies regarding appropriate and inappropriate interactions between staff and young people and have trained our staff on these new policies.
- We have ensured all windows to classrooms and offices provide unobstructed views of those spaces and, where needed, we have installed new windows and mirrors to improve visibility.
- We are encouraging our managers to make unannounced, ad hoc visits to cottages and classrooms.
- We have made it easier for staff and young people to make anonymous complaints or reports of misbehavior.
- All new boys and their families are oriented to our safety policies and procedures.
- All our Board members have completed sexual abuse prevention training.
- We have improved the scheduling and management of our boys’ individual clinical sessions, through the use of new client management software.
Most importantly, we continue to train and supervise our staff in the use of trauma-informed care principles and practices. Since most trauma is rooted in abuse of power—either in interpersonal relationships or via social constructs—we are striving to eliminate these all too common experiences that bring boys to Hanna. Our goal is to support young people in their efforts to find their voice and personal power so they can better advocate for themselves and each other and chart a better future.