At the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hancock County, Child Safety is Job No. 1
Ensuring child safety is fundamental to the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hancock County.
The Safety and Wellbeing of Young People is our Number One Priority
We work every day to create a safe, inclusive and fun environment so kids can have every opportunity to be successful in life. We have no tolerance for inappropriate behavior of any kind, including child sexual abuse or misconduct, and we put resources behind that stance.
Culture of Safety: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hancock County 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 continually enhance and implement layers of safety policies and guidelines to keep our kids safe including:
- Creating a Behavior Response and Support Procedures Manual to level set staff responses and to create preventive measures to address the emotional and physical safety support our members need for an inclusive environment.
- Implementing a Parent Handbook that clearly states the expectations we hold for our members, our response to those expectations, and to create a partnership for support.
- Addressing COVID-19 safety measures by enhancing our club environment through new equipment, PPE, and cleaning protocols.
Safety Policies: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hancock County have 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, The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hancock County 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 upon hire and annually for every staff and board member at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hancock County. In addition, criminal background checks are required for any volunteer who has direct contact with children. All potential employees and volunteers are also run through the National Sex Offender Registry.
Required Immediate Reporting: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hancock County 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. We participate in a wide variety of child safety training conducted such as (seminars, conferences, webinars, online training courses). 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: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hancock County has a dedicated safety committee to provide input and guidance on local policies and safety strategies. Priorities and initiatives include:
- Club Code of Conduct
- Behavior Support and Response Procedures
- Staff training & Annual Assessment
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, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hancock County partner with:
- Mental Health First Aid, a national program that teaches skills to recognize and respond to signs of mental illness and substance abuse
- Hancock County Sheriff’s Department which is committed to improving the quality of life for the citizens of Hancock County
- Greenfield Fire Department which provides fire protection, emergency medical services, hazardous materials response, technical rescue and fire prevention services to the City of Greenfield and Center Township in Hancock County
- Hancock County C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team), helps train people to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities
- D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), an education program that seeks to prevent use of controlled drugs, membership in gangs, and violent behavior
- N.A.S.A (Neighborhoods Against Substance Abuse), a local coordinating council that assists communities in the reduction of youth substance abuse issues with a focus on addressing underage drinking, marijuana use, and prescription/over-the-counter drug abuse.
Continued Commitment: In July, 2020, all local Boys & Girls Clubs voted to adopt additional safety measures to further improve safety within our Clubs. Many of these practices were already in place, however, Boys & Girls Clubs determined these practices should be mandatory for all Clubs. These measures include more stringent reference and background checks, enhanced Club Safety Committee requirements for all Clubs, greater communication of key safety resources and information available for staff and members, and 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 Boys & Girls Clubs of Hancock County. To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page, here.