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Parks board adopts abuse policy
Coaches must agree to report suspicions
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Forsyth County News

Other business

Also during its meeting Tuesday night, Forsyth County’s parks and recreation board:

• Approved guidelines for 5K events at county parks, including Central, Fowler, Haw Creek, Chattahoochee Pointe and the Big Creek Greenway.

The responsibilities of the county and the renter are listed on the application. Prices were set depending on the size of the event and the facility being rented. Nonprofits will receive a 20 percent discount.

• Permitted Special Olympics Forsyth County to install permanent bocce courts at Central Park to replace the temporary ones. The group will pay for the installation of the popular courts.

• Reviewed the indoor track rules for the county’s three recreation centers after receiving a complaint that running and jogging were not allowed.

The staff corrected the letter, explaining that running is allowed as long as the track isn’t crowded. The board decided to keep the rules the same, allowing staff to exercise discretion to stop runners for safety reasons if the track is crowded.

Note: All votes were 4-0, with Dan Slott absent, unless otherwise noted.

Volunteer coaches in Forsyth County youth sports should expect to provide one more signature when registering this year.

The parks and recreation department will require each coach in a booster club or county youth sport to acknowledge they will report suspected child abuse in accordance with state law.

Georgia’s reporting requirements expanded in July 2012 to include volunteers working with children.

To ensure Forsyth County coaches follow the law, the parks board approved a policy to address the issue in a 4-0 vote Tuesday, with member Dan Slott absent.

Wayne Maddox, the department’s athletic division manager, explained the plan to disperse the information to coaches.

Division employees will hold meetings about the requirement to report any suspected child abuse to either parks staff or directly to law enforcement, Maddox said.

An information sheet about the law will be included in the coaching packet, along with a form coaches will sign, he said.

Board member Gary Cooper said coaches already fill out a background check report from that packet.

“This will just take an extra minute,” he said.

In addition to the information presented to coaches, Maddox said the requirements will also be posted on the county’s Web site and in the booster club handbooks.

With more than 700 coaches across the county’s youth sports, the individual signatures will help document awareness of abuse reporting, he said.