The Safety and Wellbeing of Young People is Our Number One Priority
At the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Bellport Area, there is nothing more important than the safety of our members. We work every day to create a safe, fun environment so kids can have every opportunity to be successful in life.
We do not tolerate inappropriate behavior of any kind, including child sexual abuse or misconduct. From strict adherence to policies and guidelines within Club facilities and staffing structure to employing strategic safety partnerships and tools, ensuring Club members are safe is the first step to their success. Our Club offers safe inclusive spaces and experiences that empower members’ learning and growth. Boys & Girls Club of America’s data shows our approach works:
- Club teens are more likely to abstain from health-risk behaviors like alcohol and smoking than their peers nationally.*
- Clubs help build a sense of civic responsibility and leadership. In fact, 83% of Club members believe they can make a difference in their communities and 89% stand up for what they think is right.*
- And, most importantly, Clubs provide safety, mentorship and a sense of community during the critical out-of-school hours. 54% of Club alumni said the Club “saved my life.”**
Boys & Girls Clubs of America continually updates and innovates robust safety policies, programs and training for local Club staff and volunteers that are designed to protect young people from threats that are present in our society. Through our national Child & Club Safety Department, they help our Club to implement layers of safety policies and guidelines to keep our kids safe, including:
Safety Policies: The Club is required to have safety policies in place that protect youth, including, but not limited to, supervision, transportation, communication, and prohibition of private one-on-one contact.
Mandatory Background Checks: Mandatory background checks are required every year for every staff member and board member at our Club. In addition, criminal background checks are required for any volunteer who has direct contact with children. All potential employees and volunteers are run through the National Sex Offender Registry. Boys & Girls Clubs of America has partnered with one of the largest background screening companies, First Advantage, to provide affordable, fast access to the most comprehensive screenings available today.
Required Immediate Reporting: Club staff and volunteers are all mandated reporters. Club staff members are required to report any critical incident/safety concern to local authorities immediately. They are also required to report any critical incident to Boys & Girls Clubs of America within 24 hours.
Toll-free Child Safety Hotline: Through our partnership with Praesidium, one of the nation’s leading safety experts, Boys & Girls Clubs of America provides a confidential, toll-free Child Safety Hotline to all current or previous Club staff, members or families to report any incident or situation in which they feel unsafe. To access the Child Safety Hotline, call 866-607-SAFE (7233) or email SafeClub(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)Praesidiuminc.com.
Mandatory Annual Safety Assessments: Each local Boys & Girls Club is required to complete a safety assessment each year. If any concerns arise, Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s staff will take action to make recommendations, require changes or to provide additional support.
Safety Trainings: Ongoing training and supervision of staff are critical. Club staff participates in a wide variety of child safety training conducted through seminars, conferences, webinars, and a semi-annual safety symposium. 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.
National Board of Governors Safety Committee: Boys & Girls Clubs of America has a dedicated Child Safety Committee on our Board of Governors to guide our national safety efforts and policies. Additionally, each local Boys & Girls Club Organization is required to have a dedicated board-led safety committee to provide input and guidance on local policies and safety strategies.
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: All local Boys & Girls Clubs are required to comply with federal, state and local safety laws, including those impacting facilities and vehicles.
Safety Partnerships: 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 their more than 4,600 sites.
- BGCA’s National Child Safety Advisory Task Force, a group of national multidisciplinary experts in various aspects of child safety and protection who provide advice and expertise on national safety trends and BGCA’s safety strategies;
- 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; and
- Crisis Text Line, a confidential text message service for youth in times of crisis.
Learn more about our safety policies and actions.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America also advocated for the passage of the U.S. PROTECT Act, which improved background screening systems and access. We have 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. BGCA leverages these specialized experts to advise our organization on best practices and relevant resources for safety protection, preparedness, response, recovery, and resilience.
America’s young people deserve nothing less than our constant focus on their safety and our firm commitment to protecting every child who is entrusted to our care.
Child Safety Hotline
SafeClub(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)Praesidiuminc.com