Safety in the Clubs
At Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Valley, child safety is our top priority. Ensuring the safety and well-being of young people is fundamental to the mission of our organization. We work every day to create a safe and fun environment so youth/teens can have every opportunity to reach their maximum potential. We have zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior of any kind, including child sexual abuse or misconduct.
Culture of Safety: BGCMV updates safety policies and require annual training for our employees and volunteers, that are designed to promote child safety and protect young people from threats that exist in our society. We implement safety policies and guidelines to keep our members’ safe including, but not limited to:
1) Mandatory criminal background checks and fingerprinting. BGCMV completes county, state and national criminal background checks for employees, board members and volunteers annually. In addition, fingerprint checks are required for every employee every five years. All employees, board members and volunteers undergo a check through the National Sex Offender Registry via our background screening vendor Veriscreen.
2) Prohibiting one-on-one contact. An employee is prohibited to be alone with a Club member out of sight of others. This includes supervsion and trasnportation of members and communication between members and staff.
3) We are required to immediately report any incident, regardless of severity, to the appropriate authorities and to Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). BGCMV employees and volunteers are mandated reporters. We are required to report any critical incident/safety concern to local authorities immediately. We are also required to report any critical incident to BGCA within 24 hours.
4) We have a Board-led Safety Committee that meets monthly to elevate safety to the highest level of governance. BGCMV has a dedicated safety committee to provide input and guidance on policies and safety strategies. Priorities and initiatives include:
- safety planning
- safety assessment review
- annual facility safety checks
- incident review
- policy review
- incident preparedness and response
- safety expertise
5) We are mandated by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) to complete annual safety assessments. We complete a safety assessment annually to ensure we continually making improvements to safety at our Clubs.
6) BGCA and local clubs engage leading third-party safety experts on training, policies and resources. BGCA has national partnerships with:
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (nation's reporting center for issues related to the prevention and recovery from child victimization)
- National Children's Advocacy Center (child abuse response and prevention experts)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (health protection agency)
- Mental Health First Aid (a national program that teaches skills to recognize and respond to signs of mental illness and substance abuse)
- Crisis Text Line (a confidential text message service for youth in times of crisis).
Locally, BGCMV partners with:
- the local police departments
- the local fire departments
- the Sheriff's office
- the local school districts
- Family Resources and Braking Traffik
- Child Abuse Council
- the local hospitals and mental health facilities
7) Safety trainings. Ongoing training and supervision of staff is critical. We participate in a variety of child safety trainings via in-person and webinars. Upon hire, employees are required to complete mandatory reporter and child sexual abuse training within seven days, before contact with Club members. Annually, employees receive training on the requirements of being a Mandated Reporter, how to recognize and react responsibly to childhood sexual abuse. Club sites have at least one employee that is CPR/First Aid certified during hours of operation.
8) All employees must pass a reference check. Any employee interested in moving to another Boys & Girls Club is required to have a reference from the previous Club, even if the Clubs are within the same community.
24-hour Toll free Child Safety Hotline: We encourage all employees, members and families to report any incident or situation they feel is unsafe. Through our national partnership with Praesidium, one of the nation's leading safety experts, BGCMV members and employees have access to a confidential 24-hour toll free child safety hotline, (866) 607-SAFE (7233) or email SafeClub@Praesidiuminc.com.
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