What is safe haven? 

Safe haven is a program to protect the children and volunteers in AYSO. This is in reference to the Child Abuse, Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974 and the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997. 

- What It Means To You -1.

The purpose of the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997  (VPA) is to provide certain protections to volunteers in lawsuits based on the activities of volunteers. No volunteers shall be liable for harm caused by an act or omission of the volunteer if --

A. The volunteer was acting within the scope of their responsibilities;

B. The volunteer was properly licensed, certified, or authorized to undertake the activities in question;

C. The harm was not caused by willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or a conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual(s) harmed; and

D. The harm was not caused by a volunteer operating a vehicle that requires an operatorís license or insurance.

2. The VPA prohibits the recovery of punitive damages unless the injured person proves by "clear and convincing evidence" that the volunteer caused the harm by an act constituting willful or criminal misconduct or by conscious, flagrant indifference to the personís safety or rights. This "clear and convincing" standard raises the burden of proof, making it more difficult to recover punitive damages from a volunteer.

3. A volunteerís liability for non-economic damages will be limited to the proportion of harm for which that volunteer is found liable.

4. The VPA limits the liability of volunteers, but not the liability of the organizations that they serve.

5. The limitation on liability for volunteers does not extend to:

A. Crimes of violence or international terrorism for which the volunteer has been convicted by a court;

B. Hate crimes;

C. Sexual offenses;

D. Misconduct that violates State or Federal civil rights laws; or

E. Misconduct while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Certification is confirmation and recognition of the education you receive in job competence, child and volunteer protection, and the policies, procedures, and guidelines of AYSO.

Requirements vary according to your level of training and responsibility.

Certification is AYSO Safe Haven specific.

The law states that a volunteer must be "properly authorized" to do a job. So, even if someone is both trained and certified, he or she has no official capacity in the region until appointed by a competent authority. AYSO recommends that the local board approve the list of volunteers.

With a trained and certified instructor (applies to Regional Teachers and Grade 4 Instructors this year) in the region, a lot of introductory level training and certification can be done locally.