At Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County Child Safety is Job No. 1

Boys & Girls Club of Palm Beach County Staff
August 15, 2019

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 abuse or misconduct, and we put resources behind that stance. Ensuring a safe environment is fundamental to achieving our mission.

Culture of Safety: BGCPBC continually updates 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.

Safety Policies: BGCPBC  has comprehensive safety policies in place that protect our Club members – including, but not limited to, supervision, transportation, communication and prohibiting private one-on-one contact. Our Employee Handbook and Club Operations Manual include layers of safety policies and operational guidelines to keep our kids safe. We continually improve and add to these on a regular basis.

Mandatory Background Checks: Safety begins upon an employee’s offer of employment with a Drug Screening and a Level II criminal background check, which is the most stringent level of background check required by the Department of Children and Families/Agency for Healthcare Administration for individuals working with children.

The Level II background check includes Florida and FBI Criminal History and Florida Abuse History (Florida Child Abuse and Neglect Registry), and Sex Offender Registry. Background screenings for all BGCPBC employees are updated annually, and we have a random drug screening process that is conducted monthly. 

Required Immediate Reporting: BGCPBC 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. New employees participate in a week-long on-boarding process. Our policies and procedures are thoroughly reviewed with new staff. Staff communicate their understanding of the policies by signing an acknowledgement form. Our safety training team continues their staff training on these policies year round to keep these critical child and employee safety measures top of mind of all BGCPBC staff.

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: BGCPBC has a dedicated board-led safety committee to provide input and guidance on local policies and safety strategies. In order to elevate safety to the highest level we have annual safety assessments conducted by third-party evaluators.

Secure Facilities: Safety is not complete without the commitment to keep our facilities safe – both for our Club Members and staff. We invest nearly $250,000 annually on facility improvements and safety equipment such as high definition, night vision cameras in each room at our Clubs

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

Locally, we partner with:

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.

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, BGCPBC members and staff have access to a confidential 24-hour toll-free Child Safety Hotline, 866-607-SAFE (7233) or email SafeClub@Praesidiuminc.com

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. To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page, here.

                                             

 

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800 Northpoint Parkway
Suite 204
West Palm Beach, Florida 33407

Phone: (561) 683-3287