Delaware Public Media

Beau Biden Foundation teams up with Special Olympics

Dec 2, 2018

The Beau Biden Foundation is partnering with Special Olympics International to start an initiative to protect people with intellectual disabilities from physical and sexual abuse.

The Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children has been working since 2015 to strengthen child protection laws in Delaware and around the country.

The new partnership with the Special Olympics is called Operation Safeguard. It is meant to utilize the foundation’s expertise to determine best practices, policies and procedures to implement in Special Olympics athletic and educational programs.

The Foundation’s Executive Director Patricia Dailey Lewis says best practices include eliminating all one-on-one, unobservable, uninterruptible contact between adults and children or people with intellectual disabilities.

“Children are not to be taken into private places with one adult to be disciplined or scolded or even trained specially,” said Dailey Lewis. “That should be out in the open where everyone can see it.”

The initiative seeks to improve incident reporting and tracking, and create new training programs for staff and volunteers.  A summit with stakeholders will be held to discuss the protection of vulnerable individuals, according to a press release.

Special Olympics International Chief Legal Officer Angela Ciccolo says the initiative will also include partnerships with law enforcement.

“Our law enforcement officers are great partners with our state affiliates,” said Ciccolo. “They can help provide leadership and training to the staff.”

The goal is to adopt best practices at all Special Olympics affiliates in the United States in the next year and then expand to policies internationally to 180 different countries.