The purpose of the FIRST® Youth Protection Program is to provide coaches, mentors, event volunteers, employees, Program Delivery Partners, team members, parents, guardians of team members, and others working with FIRST programs with information, guidelines, and procedures to create safe environments for FIRST participants.
The FIRST Youth Protection Program sets minimum standards recommended for all FIRST activities. Adults working in FIRST programs must be knowledgeable of the standards set by the FIRST Youth Protection Program, as well as those set by the school or organization hosting their team.
There is no age limit to submitting a report! Youth participants are encouraged to reach out to Youth Protection for support and assistance if they have any concerns about their own safety and/or treatment or that of other participants in FIRST programs.
3 Different Ways to Report
YOUTH PROTECTION CONCERNS can encompass a wide variety of one-time or ongoing issues such as suspected abuse, bullying, harassment, discrimination, questionable behavior or comments by adult volunteers, conflicts among volunteers or issues that haven’t been resolved by local leadership.
Does your concern involve youth as the impacted party and/or person whose behavior is being questioned? If yes, please continue and complete this form. Otherwise, complete the “OTHER” form. Your report will be properly assessed and sent to the appropriate parties.
MEDICAL INCIDENT: All physical injuries/illnesses, however, slight, taking place at a FIRST® official event must be reported to FIRST Headquarters. Physical injuries/illnesses that take place during a Team’s activities, not at an event, need only be reported if the injury is related to FIRST game materials, FIRST game design, or FIRST rules. Names may be removed if privacy regulations require it.
OTHER: If you are unsure where a concern falls, we encourage you to make a report under “Other” and we will ensure that your report gets to the appropriate department to be addressed.
FIRST® prohibits any form of retaliation against anyone making a good faith report of concern and anyone who participates in the investigation of a reported concern. If you feel any form of retaliation occurs because of reporting a concern, Youth Protection should be notified immediately.
You Filed a Report... Now What?
Reports are submitted to FIRST Inspires safety team at FIRST Headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire. Depending on the extent of the report, local FIRST Washington staff may or may not be informed of every report filed.
Receiving closure on a report is crucial for the reporter to feel an adequate and safe conclusion has been met.
If you feel you need further guidance or explanation on the status of your report, do not hesitate to reach out to the FIRST Inspires safety team, or include a FIRST Washington staff person for further assistance.
FIRST Washington staff are a tool for ensuring safety locally and can ease the burden of confirming a report status. If you chose to inform a FIRST Washington staffperson(s) of your report, all aspects of your report will remain confidential and FIRST Washington staff will uphold all privacy requirements of the FIRST incident report.
Youth Protection Training and Screening
FIRST Code of Conduct
The FIRST mission is to inspire a generation of science and technology leaders who are both gracious and professional. This FIRST Code of Conduct lists some of the basic behaviors mentors, coaches, volunteers, team members, affiliate partners, contractors, staff, and other participants should adhere to while participating in FIRST activities.
- Exhibit Gracious Professionalism® at all times. Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions.
- Ensure the safety of all participants in FIRST activities.
- Not engage in any form of bullying, harassment, use of profane or insulting language, or any actual or threatened violence.
- Adhere to all FIRST Youth Protection Program (YPP) policies.
- Report any unsafe behavior to event or local FIRST leadership.
- Persons who do not comply with this Code of Conduct may be barred from participating in FIRST activities.
Screening Procedures & FAQs
All FIRST Washington volunteers interacting with students are required to submit a Youth Protection Screening (also known as a background check). This screening is free of charge, and must result in a passed result before volunteers can participate in any FIRST Washington events.
More information regarding the Youth Protection screening and clearance process and what to expect:
Team Safety Resources
We strongly encourage all team leaders to familiarize themselves with team safety resources, and to create a plan for student safety. Every team should evaluate and train students and adults on safety yearly.
Team Safety Meeting Resources for Ages 6-10
- Team Safety Meeting Video – Middle School Version
- Team Safety Meeting Video – High School Version
- Keeping Kids Safe – for adults working with youth