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Child protective services is a broad category that impacts a variety of organizations who work directly with children. Youth sport and recreation organizations, as well as universities who have youth services, are uniquely positioned for increased risk from coaches, counselors, volunteers, or administrators who have regular access to youth via their roles as trusted leaders. Sport management graduates often find themselves in these positions, or supervising individuals who hold these positions. With this premise in mind, it is essential that sport management students are exposed to the concept of child protection, and understand the potential ramifications if child protective measures are not followed. This case describes an incident occurring at a university kid’s camp where student employees serve as counselors. The incident places one counselor in a precarious situation, and forces his supervisor into some difficult decisions. The case allows students to evaluate the situation from an assortment of sport management perspectives including governance/policy considerations, legal ramifications, organizational theory, or ethical decision-making. Discussion questions encourage students to confront these perspectives and consider the role of child protection from a variety of vantage points (e.g., counselor, parent, administrator).
James Johnson is the Assistant Professor of Sport Administration and Graduate Coordinator at Ball State University, School of Physical Education, Sport, and Exercise Science. T.J. Herniak, Kelly Kwiatkowski, and Amy Hill are Graduate Assistants at Ball State University, Department of Recreation Services.