“The National Children’s Advocacy Center was the first Child Advocacy Center in the world, and there is nothing more important to us than the safety of youth. In this capacity, I have proudly served on Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Child & Club Safety Task Force since 2012 and seen firsthand the organization’s investment in safety and commitment to strong youth protection policies, immediate reporting and long-term strategy, as well as their dedication each day to creating a safe and supportive home-away-from-home for kids.”
- Chris Newlin, MS LPC, Executive Director, National Children’s Advocacy Center
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 we implement layers of safety policies and guidelines to keep our kids safe including:
- Mandatory criminal background checks.
- Local Boys & Girls Clubs are required to immediately report any incident regardless of severity to the appropriate authorities and then to Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
- Each Club has a Board led Safety Committee elevating safety to the highest level of governance.
- Clubs are required to complete a mandatory annual safety assessments.
- BGCA and local Clubs engage leading 3rd party safety experts on training, policies and resources.
- Any employee looking to move to another Club, MUST have a reference from the previous Club.
- Continual updates to Clubs’ sexual abuse prevention polices, practices, and trainings that align with best practices of healthcare and school-based settings.
- Impactful training and resources for Club youth and families focused on mental health and social-emotional development.
In summer of 2020, local Boys & Girls Clubs voted to adopt additional safety measures, to improve safety within our Clubs. Many of these practices were already in place, however Boys & Girls Clubs determined these practices should be mandatory for all Clubs:
- Strengthening the reference check requirement to clarify that all Clubs obtain rehire eligibility information for all prospective staff or volunteers that previously worked at another Club before being allowed to be employed or volunteer at another Club;
- Enhancing our existing requirements around “barrier crimes” that prohibit job candidates from working or volunteering at a Club;
- Requiring Clubs to report failures in licensing inspection within 24-hours to the national organization;
- Standardizing of all Clubs’ Safety Committees to ensure that each and every one is being held accountable to the same metrics and responsibilities;
- Formalizing the requirement that each Club prominently display key safety resources; information, including the Child Safety Helpline and Crisis Text Line; and
- Requiring that Clubs inform parents and guardians of safety policies when they receive a youth membership application.
And much more. Learn more about our safety policies and actions, and recent enhancements to strengthen safety at Clubs, as well as a timeline of safety advancements.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America advocated for the passage of the U.S. PROTECT ACT, which improved background screening systems and access, and is proud to partner with the following organizations to develop safety practices that benefit ALL youth-serving organizations.