Youth Sports Program Safety: Spring is here and many organizations are kicking off their outdoor youth sports programs. Here are several important and sometimes overlooked safety items that deserve specific attention. Review your hiring, screening and training practices, as they play a crucial role in preventing child abuse. From criminal background checks and multiple telephone reference checks, to program specific training and abuse prevention practices, applying multiple layers of protection to your youth sports programs is the most effective way to keep the young people in your program safe. Remember, volunteer coaches perform the same function as paid staff coaches, so all these practices should be applied equally to volunteer coaches as well. Do you apply all these practices to your volunteer coaches as you do for your paid staff? If not, why not?