Our Commitment to safety is realized every day as Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania creates safe, fun environments where kids can pursue academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles – all under the guidance of caring, trained, trustworthy adult leaders. We continue to build momentum around safety with several initiatives designed to help Clubs create a safer environment for youth, including new programs, training, and updated tools and resources.
Our Six-Step Safety Plan
Through partnership with the national Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) we have a commitment to provide a safe and secure experience for youth. Through the Child & Club Safety Department, BGCA implements a six-step plan that follows the best practices available today, using the latest advances in technology and expertise:
- Criminal background checks are required for every staff member and board member at local Boys & Girls Club affiliates. In addition, criminal background checks are required for any volunteer who has direct contact with children. Additionally, all potential employees and volunteers are run through the National Sex Offender Registry. BGCA partners with one of the largest background screening companies to provide the most comprehensive screenings available today.
- Through our partnership with Praesidium, one of the nation’s leading safety experts, BGCA provides a confidential toll-free Child Safety Helpline, 866-607-SAFE (7233) or email SafeClub@Praesidiuminc.com.
- Ongoing training and supervision of staff is critical. Clubs participate in a wide variety of child safety training conducted through seminars, conferences and webinars.
- Safety policies and procedures must adhere to the highest standards. Clubs are required to report any suspected child abuse to local authorities.
- All facilities and vehicles are required to comply with federal, state and local safety laws. BGCA works with leading experts in the area of security technology to develop state-of-the-art solutions for our 4,300 sites.
- We work hard to create a Culture of Safety, which includes the following initiatives:
- National Child Safety Advisory Task Force, made up of leading experts
- A dedicated Child Safety Committee on our Board of Governors to guide our national safety efforts
- National Safety Award Program to recognize leadership and innovation
- National Child Safety and Protection Symposium, a forum to enable all youth organizations to share their best ideas and solutions for protecting kids
The Safety and Wellbeing 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.
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 Western PA. To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page, here.