CHICAGO (CBS) — The scandal at Penn State University has parents wondering what to look out for when they sign up their kids for various youth programs, and how to talk to their children about sex abuse.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, Mark Parr, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County, says you should not be afraid to ask direct questions to people who run programs in which you’re signing up your kids.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

“What are their policies on background checks? What are their policies on individuals who are involved in the programs having any one-to-one unsupervised contact with the children?” he said.

Parr points out that stranger danger isn’t the most common threat to children, but someone who may be close to your child and might want unsupervised time from him or her.

DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin also urges parents to do their homework about a group before they sign up their kids.

“The question they should be asking is who’s supervising, or what is the chain of command, or if all the employees have signed the mandatory reporting act policy,” he said.

Berlin points out that children are usually reluctant to come forward with sexual abuse allegations, so you as an adult have to watch for signs.

Among those signs are sudden withdrawal by normally sociable kids, or a drop in grades from normally good students.

Kids also need to be taught about bad touches, and whom to go to if someone does something inappropriate.

Paterno, Spanier Fired
Riots Break Out On Campus
• PHOTOS: Penn State Riots
• VIDEO: Board Of Trustees Press Conference
• READ: Grand Jury Report On Sex Abuse Allegations

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