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- BGCA partnered with National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to produce the Child Safety and Protection Guidebook, made available to all Clubs.
- BGCA produced Safe on All Sides, a comprehensive training CD that examines and compares safety and risk management issues in nine areas of Club operation.
- BGCA partnered with NCMEC to create the Netsmartz internet safety program for Club members.
- BGCA contracted with Choicepoint to provide affordable online criminal background checks to Clubs.
- Enacted new membership requirement related to criminal background checks on all staff and volunteers.
- BGCA formed a cross-departmental task force to create a unified Child Protection Strategy designed to:
- Inventory existing BGCA child safety resources
- Identify best practices from excelling Clubs
- Establish a five-step Child Safety Initiative:
- Improved Screening of Staff and Volunteers
- Training for Staff
- Safety Programs for Kids
- Improved Facilities and Vehicles
- Public Advocacy
- Under the U.S. Protect Act of 2003, BGCA, NCMEC and the FBI are authorized to conduct a pilot program to study the effectiveness of using the FBI’s fingerprint background check system to screen staff and volunteers at youth serving organizations.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) examines the organizational strategies of 12 major youth-serving non-profits in preventing child sexual abuse. BGCA’s strategy and resources compare favorably in the CDC publication “Preventing Child Sexual Abuse within Youth Serving Organizations: Getting Started with Policies and Procedures.”
- Enacted new membership requirement that all Clubs conduct criminal background checks on staff and volunteers annually.
- BGCA published “Safe Spaces” CD training on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and distributes to all Clubs to enable them to evaluate the security of their facilities.
- BGCA launches “Core Promise”, a grassroots-led initiative to promote child safety and public trust through standards in four critical areas of Club operations: hiring practices, child safety, finances and ethics, and membership records. The initiative includes the publication of standard practice guides for each of the four areas (known as “The Boys & Girls Club Way”) and involved the training of all local Boys & Girls Club leadership.
- BGCA publishes another “Safe Spaces” CD training on reducing opportunities for crime by improving the physical environment of Club.
- BGCA serves as a content specialist and adviser to the U.S. Department of Defense for publication “UFC 4-740-06 Unified Facilities Criteria: Youth Centers.”
- BGCA publishes “Sports Smart”, a coaching guide for providing best practices for youth sports and safety.
- In partnership with Praesidium, BGCA conducted a sex abuse prevention study that compared and evaluated training methods for youth serving staff and led to the development of new training and educational materials.
- Launched free Ethics Hotline for BGCA and all local Club staff members through Ethics Point.
- BGCA partnered with Praesidium to release the “Club Care” program which provides additional resources and support for local Clubs.
- BGCA’s Child Safety, Technology Programs and Delinquency Prevention teams collaborated to produce “The Five-Prong Bullying Prevention Strategy.”
- BGCA updates and republishes “Kids in Control”, providing fun safety activities for younger Club members.
- BGCA publishes “Keep Safe: The Club Safety Desk Reference,” a 200-page manual providing tools, resources and best practices to enable Clubs to develop a customized safety strategy.
- BGCA develops “Protecting Our Kids: Onboarding Training for Staff & Volunteers” and offers it to all local Clubs.
- In partnership with Portland State University, BGCA pilots a study of The Situational Approach, which trains local organizations to better identify, prioritize and control risks to youth.
- Created a new department, consolidating all safety-related positions throughout the organization, to one Child & Club Safety division.
- Developed and scaled comprehensive annual safety assessments and assisted local Clubs in creating Safety Improvement Plans.
- Updated and scaled consistent policies and procedures to support local Clubs in the areas of bullying, sexual abuse, site security and injuries.
- Introduced a Child Safety Taskforce comprised on the country’s best thought leaders.
- Increased frequency of background checks for Staff and program volunteers to annually.
- Offered a 24-hour sexual abuse hotline free of charge to 4,000+ Clubs; the hotline is operated by a national leader, Praesidium.
- BGCA endorses U.S. Senator Charles Schumer’s proposed legislation to expand access to FBI fingerprint-based background checks to youth serving organizations.
- Partnered with Dr. Keith Kaufman to designs and pilot a Peer Safety Consultants program.
- Trained and prepared 100% of the field-facing team and every other department at BGCA to respond to critical incidents.
- Introduced a new safety recognition award for local Clubs.
- Increased and targeted key safety communications through a newsletter, blog and Movement wide publications.
- Clubs voted to require reporting of all critical incidents to BGCA.
- Added a Child Safety Committee to BGCA’s National Board of Governors.
- Introduced critical incident management system that facilitated Club reporting of incidents to BGCA and the ability to allow real-time deployment of resources and support to local Clubs to promote child safety.
- Piloted local board-led Safety Committee with 50 organizations. BGCA’s Safety and Field Operations teams supported local committees with safety practices (ex. assessments, safety improvement planning).
- Held “Safety Great Think” convening more 80 experts from federal agencies, associations, corporations and nonprofit groups. Participants discussed critical youth safety topics and identified areas of focus and action to protect and safeguard our youth.
- BGCA convened the first-ever meeting of eight national youth serving organizations for the purpose of establishing common safety standards, including background checks.
- Hosted a Safety Symposium for professionals from youth serving organizations
- Hosted a Safer Childhoods Symposium for Club professionals, experts and community partners. Topics included trauma and loss, disparate discipline and truancy, exposure to violence, situational and behavior risks, digital safety and citizenship.
- Clubs enacted additional safety-related membership requirements including new requirements around background checks, emergency response plans, board led safety committees, safety policies, insurance, and safety assessments.
- Launched, “The Next BIG Safety Idea”, a contest for Club staff, volunteers and local leadership to share their most innovative ideas for improving safety. The winning Clubs developed a plan to scale their idea and presented it at BGCA’s 2019 National Conference.
- Held first annual Readiness Day, an event using fun and practical activities to prepare Clubs and youth for emergencies.
- Hosted semi-annual Safety Symposium. One hundred Club professionals attended and discussed issues related to aquatics exposure, sexual abuse prevention, trauma-informed care and more.
- Developed an updated Incident Response Guide for all local Clubs. In conjunction, 472 Club professionals joined a live webcast focused on incident response and reporting.
- BGCA created a Safety Operations vertical within the Child & Club Safety team, which began developing optimal safety standards for Clubs and an onsite assessment process, benchmarking with nine companies.
- Launched a partnership with the Crisis Text Line to provide access to immediate mental health support to Club members.
- Convened a group of national Youth Serving Organizations, including YMCA, 4H, American Camp Association, and several others to address emerging safety needs in the after-school space. The Coming Together Coalition, later renamed Safer Childhoods Network.
- Partnered with Elarbee Thompson to provide Sexual Harassment Training at the national conference and all the regional conferences.
- Conducted 2,800 safety consultations at Clubs nation-wide.
- Launched updated sexual abuse prevention training for local Clubs.
- Began pilot with LiveSafe, a mobile two-way safety communications platform and risk mitigation tool. The app gives Clubs an immediate path to communicate critical safety information to Club professionals, volunteers and the families of young members.
- Began expansion of emergency preparedness system with 38 Club organizations online using the LiveSafe tool. The tool will be available for all local Clubs in fall 2019.
- In 2019 YTD, local Club staff members have participated in 14,012 safety trainings.
- To further strengthen safety at Clubs, BGCA initiated an independent third-party safety review of all existing safety policies and protocols.
- BGCA engaged Alston & Bird, LLC, in conjunction with RAINN, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to abuse prevention, awareness, and response to conduct a comprehensive and thorough review of abuse prevention policies and procedures at Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and to identify ways Boys & Girls Clubs can further strengthen safety processes and protocols at the Club level.
- Phase One took place during the last quarter of 2019, was nationally focused and included discovery and review of BGCA policies, protocols, trainings, and services related to current sexual misconduct prevention and response.
- Phase Two of the review was conducted during the first half of this year, and assessed how BGCA policies and requirements are used at a local Club level.
- In June, with the eight month assessment complete, RAINN found that BGCA had strong best practices and safety policies, programs, and training for local Club staff and volunteers.
- RAINN made recommendations for additional actions we could take to further strengthen safety at Clubs and enhance the overall culture of safety at the local level. Implementation of these recommendations will begin immediately.
- In July, BGCA’s National Council voted unanimously to strengthen mandatory membership requirements for local organizations related to youth safety. Specific measures may be found on BGCSafety.com.