At Boys & Girls Clubs of Indian River County, Child Safety is Job No. 1
Ensuring child safety is fundamental to our mission.
The Safety and Well-Being of Young People is Our Number One Priority.
We work every day to create a safe, fun environment so kids can have every opportunity to be successful in life. We have ZERO tolerance for inappropriate behavior of any kind, including child sexual abuse or misconduct, and we put resources behind that stance.
Culture of Safety: We continually update robust safety policies, programs and training for our staff and volunteers that are designed to promote child safety and protect young people from threats that are present in our society. We implement layers of safety policies and guidelines to keep our kids safe including:
• Defining what safety is
• Weekly Staff Meeting to report errors, collaborate across the Clubs, and commit resources where needed
• Regular maintenance and inspection checks
Safety Policies: We have comprehensive safety policies in place that protect youth – including, but not limited to, supervision, transportation, bullying, communication, health epidemics and prohibiting private one-on-one contact.
24-hour Toll-free Child Safety Hotline: We encourage all staff, 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, BGCIRC members and staff have access to a confidential 24-hour toll-free Child Safety Hotline, 866-607-SAFE (7233) or email SafeClub@praesidiuminc.com.
Mandatory Background Checks: Mandatory criminal background checks are required every year for every staff and board member. In addition, criminal background checks are required for any volunteer who has direct contact with children. All potential employees and volunteers are run through a SSN verification, a national criminal record search, sex offender registry and a county/state check. We utilize a monitoring service called LiveScan which notifies us if any crimes are have been committed before the annual check is due.
Required Immediate Reporting: Staff and volunteers are all 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 Boys & Girls Clubs of America within 24 hours.
Mandatory Annual Safety Assessments: We complete a safety assessment each year to ensure we continually make improvements to safety at our Clubs.
Safety Trainings: Ongoing training and supervision of staff is critical. We participate in a wide variety of child safety training conducted such as conferences, webinars, weekly staff meetings, and law enforcement presentations. We also engage leading third-party safety experts to provide guidance for our policies and approaches, including Praesidium, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and the National Children’s Advocacy Center.
Safety Committee: We have a dedicated safety committee of the Board to provide input and guidance on local policies and safety strategies. We also collaborate with community partners to bring additional expertise and experience. Priorities and initiatives include:
• Compliance with federal, state and local laws
• Preparation for life-threatening emergencies
• Mitigation and corrective measures for policy violations
• Ensuring the safety of building and grounds
Mandatory Employee Reference: 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.
State and Local Laws: We comply with federal, state and local safety laws, including those impacting facilities and vehicles.
Safety Partnerships: Nationally, Boys & Girls Clubs of America works with leading experts in the areas of safety, security and technology to develop state-of-the-art solutions for Clubs. Partners include:
• National Child Safety Advisory Task Force, made up of leading experts and organizations
• Blue Ribbon Taskforce, comprised of local Club leaders charged with providing input on the safety direction and key safety initiatives
• 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
A Local and National Focus on Safety
Locally, we partner with all law enforcement. Nationally, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has advocated the passage of the U.S. PROTECT Act, which improved background screening systems and access. The national organization has also partnered with the FBI, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the Centers for Disease Control to contribute to the development of safety practices that benefit ALL youth-serving organizations.
America’s young people deserve nothing less than our constant focus on their safety and our firm commitment to protect every child who is entrusted to our care at Boys & Girls Clubs of Indian River County. To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page, here.