Ensuring child safety is fundamental to the mission of Boys & Girls Club of Parkersburg
The Safety & Wellbeing of Young People is Our #1 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.
Culture of Safety: Our Club 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. We implement layers of safety policies and guidelines to keep our kids safe including:
- Installing interior windows and surveillance cameras to provide better sightlines and eliminate blind spots.
- Instituted policies allowing only limited members in the bathroom at a time and separate bathroom facilities for adults.
- Required annual background checks for all staff and volunteers.
Safety Policies: BGCP has comprehensive safety policies in place that protect youth – including, but not limited to, supervision, transportation, communication and prohibiting private one-on-one contact.
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, Club members and staff have access to a confidential 24-hour toll-free Child Safety Hotline, 866-607-SAFE (7233) or email SafeClub@Praesidiuminc.com.
Mandatory Background Checks: Mandatory criminal background checks are required every year for every staff and board member at BGCP. In addition, criminal background checks are also required for any volunteer who has direct contact with children. All potential employees and volunteers are also run through the National Sex Offender Registry, complete a series of interviews and are trained through in-person orientations of the Club’s critical safety practices.
Required Immediate Reporting: Boys & Girls Club of Parkersburg 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 Club.
Safety Trainings: Ongoing training and supervision of staff is critical. We participate in a wide variety of child safety training. 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: BGCP has a dedicated safety committee to provide input and guidance on local policies and safety strategies. Priorities and initiatives include:
- Provide input and guidance to the organization’s strategic plan, specifically as it relates to member safety
- Performing semi-annual walk-throughs of the building for upgrade, improvements, and changes.
- Making the club a secure, safe facility where all members can learn and grow.
Mandatory Employee Reference: Any employee interested in moving to another Boys & Girls Club is required to have a reference from the previous Clubs, 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, BGCP partners with:
- Wood County Schools with open lines of communication to help enhance the safety of our members
- Wood County 911 provides notice of incidents in the community that may require the Club to initiate lock-out procedures
- Westbrook Health Services counselors and the Crisis Stabilization Unit
- And many more.
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 the Club. To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page, here.