The Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children and Sussex Academy announced Dec. 16 that the academy completed the foundation’s Shield of Protection.

The Shield of Protection is awarded only to schools and youth serving organizations that have robust child protection policies, procedures and programming. Sussex Academy’s leadership collaborated with the foundation’s team of experienced lawyers, educators and retired law enforcement to improve existing policies and implement evidence-informed abuse prevention training.

“The Shield of Protection provided an avenue for our school community to assess and improve our child protection policies, procedures and programming,” said Janet L. Owens, Sussex Academy dean of teaching and learning for the humanities. “The Beau Biden Foundation helped us to develop a plan that we are confident will make a difference in protecting the children of Sussex Academy.”

The Shield of Protection began with an assessment of Sussex Academy’s existing policies. Then, the foundation worked with the academy to implement best practices in child protection across a wide range of areas including: the screening and vetting of faculty and staff, student check-in and check-out policies, a faculty and staff code of conduct and appropriate programming for young children and their caregivers. In completing the Shield of Protection, Sussex Academy now has the gold standard of child protection policies.

“The staff at Sussex Academy are willing to learn and open to enhancing protections for children,” said Beau Biden Foundation Director of Programming Claudine Malone. “The teachers and administrators posed questions that delved into gray areas that many professionals choose to avoid tackling.”

“Schools like Sussex Academy recognize their primary responsibility is to create an academic environment where children learn, grow and thrive free from the threat of abuse,” said Beau Biden Foundation Executive Director Patricia Dailey Lewis. “By creating policies rooted in best practices, Sussex Academy students are among the safest in the state.”

For more on the Beau Biden Foundation’s Shield of Protection, visit beaubidenfoundation.org.