Boys & Girls Clubs are a safe place to learn and grow – all while having fun. It is the place where great futures are started each and every day.
In every community across the country, many boys and girls are left to find their own recreation and companionship in the streets. An increasing number of children are at home with no adult care or supervision. Young people need to know that someone cares about them.
Boys & Girls Clubs offers that assurance and more. Club programs and services promote and enhance the development of boys and girls in a safe and structured environment where they can develop a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence.
In today's world, young people are faced with enormous challenges – from poverty to the high school dropout crisis to an obesity epidemic – that threaten their chance to have great futures. And, unfortunately, headlines remind us every day that we live in a dangerous world that puts too many young people, America's most precious resource, at serious risk.
Given these realities, we must be ever-vigilant in ensuring that our Clubs are safe havens for America's youth, staffed by caring adult mentors who have the best interests of kids at heart. While child safety has been priority #1 for Clubs throughout our history, our work in this area is never done.
BGCMC implements a five-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 volunteer who has direct contact with children.
Through our partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, our Club managers, staff members, volunteers, and Club members have access to a 24-hour, toll-free Child Safety Hotline to confidentially report suspicions or concerns.
Ongoing training and supervision of staff are 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.
In addition, on a national level, we have advocated for the passage of the U.S. PROTECT Act, which improved background screening systems and access. We've also partnered with the FBI, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the CDC to contribute to the development of safety practices that benefit ALL youth-serving organizations.
Our message to communities and parents is clear: We work every day to create a safe, fun environment where kids can pursue academic success, good character and citizenship, and a healthy lifestyle – all under the guidance of caring, trained, trustworthy adult leaders.
And our message to anyone who would potentially compromise our Clubs and our mission is equally clear: We have ZERO tolerance for inappropriate behavior of any kind.
America is failing its children; more than 30 percent of young people don’t graduate high school. This is not just a problem for parents or schools. It is a societal problem that affects our nation as a whole.
With one out of five kids not graduating high school on time, our country is truly in a crisis. Many young people also struggle with health and fitness, crime and poverty.