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Home > News & Media Center > Op Eds, Press Releases, and Statements > Press Releases

 
 

USA Swimming Partners with Child Welfare League of America

Nation's Oldest and Largest Child Welfare Organization to Provide Independent Expertise in the area of Athlete Welfare

For more information, contact
Linda Spears
202-688-4189

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. and WASHINGTON, D.C. - In continued efforts to provide safeguards, policies, guidelines and resources to provide a safe, healthy and positive environment, USA Swimming today announced that it has entered into a partnership with the Child Welfare League of America. CWLA, the nation's oldest and largest organization dedicated wholly to child welfare, will work with USA Swimming on the creation and expansion of its athlete protection efforts. Additionally, CWLA will work with USA Swimming to conduct an annual audit of its policies and programming, to see that the program remains consistent with industry best practices.

"As a youth sports organization, we recognized the importance of obtaining concentrated input from independent experts in the field of child welfare," said Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming's Executive Director. "After meeting with the CWLA and reviewing the long and distinguished history of the organization, we are confident that we have the best people helping us with our ongoing efforts to serve our membership. We are committed to creating the best possible environment for our swimmers through full implementation of the 7-Point Plan, and are pleased to have the benefit of the team at CWLA, who bring years of experience in this important and complex area."

The partnership is designed to make certain that safeguards, policies, guidelines and resources are developed and reviewed with the assistance and consultation of independent experts. Among its specific charges, CWLA will:
  • Assist USA Swimming in the development of policies and guidelines for coach-athlete interaction;
  • Evaluate and comment on USA Swimming's Code of Conduct;
  • Work with Swimming's leadership team to keep athlete protection as a top priority for the organization; and
  • Recommend resources and strategies surrounding education for USA Swimming members
"Youth sports are an important outlet for helping children stay fit and learn important life lessons. We look forward to working with USA Swimming to create safe and positive environments for youth swimmers to grow and succeed," said Christine James-Brown, CEO, CWLA. "This partnership brings the strengths of both organizations together to better the lives of children."

The partnership is effective immediately and USA Swimming will work with CWLA through the summer months. It is expected that any new rules or legislation that arises from this work will be ready to be voted on at USA Swimming's annual convention in September.

USA Swimming released a 7-Point Plan for a Safe & Positive Environment on April 27, and passed measures at the Board meeting on May 1 to support the plan. Among its progress, USA Swimming has engaged background screening expert Barry Nadell to review and evaluate its background screening program; published its list of individuals banned for life from the organization; and planned for the hiring of athlete protection staff at its national headquarters. Additionally the USA Swimming President will name a Special Committee on Athlete Protection later this year.

USA Swimming's 7-Point Plan for a Safe & Positive Environment
  1. Develop and disseminate comprehensive guidelines addressing acceptable coach behavior.
  2. Enhance the system for reporting sexual abuse to USA Swimming and law enforcement.
  3. Review USA Swimming's Code of Conduct, as well as that of other top youth organizations.
  4. Review USA Swimming's current background screening program and determine if enhancements can be made.
  5. Produce stronger communications to member clubs, as the employers of coaches, regarding pre-employment screening, and the responsibility associated with hiring club employees.
  6. Evaluate the process for sharing coaching history records with member clubs and other youth organizations.
  7. Educate athletes, parents, coaches and club leaders on this important issue.

About USA Swimming
As the National Governing Body for the sport of swimming in the United States, USA Swimming is a 300,000-member service organization that promotes the culture of swimming by creating opportunities for swimmers and coaches of all backgrounds to participate and advance in the sport through clubs, events and education. Our membership is comprised of swimmers from the age group level to the Olympic Team, as well as coaches and volunteers. USA Swimming is responsible for selecting and training teams for international competition including the Olympic Games, and strives to serve the sport through its core objectives: Build the base, Promote the sport, Achieve competitive success. For more information, visit www.usaswimming.org.

About CWLA
CWLA is a powerful coalition of hundreds of private and public agencies serving vulnerable children and families since 1920. Through its programs, publications, research, conferences, professional development, and consultation, CWLA speaks with authority and candor about the status and the needs of American children, young people, and families. As the nationally recognized standard-setter for child welfare services, CWLA provides direct support to agencies that serve children and families, improving the quality of the services they provide to more than nine million children every year. www.cwla.org.


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