Swift Current’s Safe Places initiative, which focuses on youth safety and programming, is expanding with new and improved courses.  

Manager Kelly Schafer said that as of tomorrow they will offer Safe Places Aware, Safe Places Community, and Safe Places Youth certifications.

"Due to RCMP legislation changes, we've had to make some changes to what the background checks look like," she explained. "We thought it would be a good opportunity to change up our certification program and offer some different education and training, or things that maybe are a little bit more generic and not necessarily just focused on sport and recreation."

The role an individual plays with youth in the community ultimately determines which certification they need.

All certifications are valid for four years, come with a digital certificate emailed and are available via the Online Portal, and allow certified individuals to be registered and searchable in the Online Public Directory. However, to maintain status for the full four years and appear in the public directory, folks are required to complete an annual 
declaration online. 

"We understand that within an organization, everybody has different roles, whether you're a board member or whether you're a coach or volunteer or leader working directly with youth," Schafer added. "And so now they have the opportunity to have different certifications for different roles.

"We also recognize that during your time with an organization, the requirements may change for your position. So, let's say you're a board member at one point and all of a sudden you have to coach--there is an option within the online portal to upgrade your certification now, rather than going through that whole application process again, if you're within your timeline. You can just submit the pieces of information that you're missing to get that upgrade and certification."

As of last year, community organizations or groups can also become affiliated with Safe Places in Swift Current. This comes with a variety of benefits and supports, and all affiliates are listed in the online directory as well as the website.

"It's just nice to show that community organizations back Safe Places," Schafer said. "The more people we can keep involved and aware about Safe Places and the purpose of what we're trying to achieve, the better."

More information on the application process and courses can be found on their website