#1 PRIORITY IS SAFETY
Ensuring child safety is fundamental to the mission of BGCAZ
The safety and well-being 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.
Beginning June 2020, we're updating our policies to make our campus and the Club more secure for members by adopting a Safe Passage Policy.
Our commitment to keeping the young people we serve safe is always our number one priority. Following the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, it’s important that you know Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley – Arizona is doing everything possible to keep your child, our staff and volunteers protected from its spread.
As a reminder, we recommend these preventive actions every family should take to prevent exposure to COVID-19.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- For more information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website
At this time, there is no evidence that children are more susceptible. We are also closely monitoring reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Arizona Department of Health Services for all updated information. Children should engage in usual preventive actions to avoid infection, including cleaning hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding people who are sick, and staying up to date on vaccinations, including influenza vaccine.
Within in the Clubs, we are taking additional preventive measures by doing more frequent and in-depth cleaning and encouraging your child(ren) to wash their hands.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network offers a Parent/Caregiver guide for COVID-19 with more helpful information for families.
Should you have any questions or concerns about this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact your Club staff. Our commitment to you and your children is unwavering.
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley – Arizona
Culture of Safety
BGCAZ 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:
- Regular child abuse prevention training
- Mandatory safety, fire, and active shooter training
- CPR training
- Continuous capital improvements
BGCAZ has comprehensive safety policies in place that protect youth – including, but not limited to, supervision, transportation, communication and prohibiting private one-on-one contact.
*NEW* Safe Passage Policy
Beginning June 2020, we are updating our policies to make our campus and the Club more secure for members by adopting a Safe Passage Policy. Guidelines under this policy include, but are not limited to: New Members must use their cards to scan in and out each day; Once members scan out of the Club, they cannot return that day; Members under the age of 14 must be retrieved from the Club by a parent, guardian or other authorized adult.
Mandatory Background Checks
Mandatory criminal background checks are required every year for every staff and board member at BGCAZ. 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
BGCAZ staff and volunteers are mandated, reporters. We are required to report any critical incident/safety concerns 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(s).
Ongoing training and supervision of staff are critical. We participate in a wide variety of child safety training conducted such as [seminars, conferences, webinars, and a semi-annual safety symposium]. 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.
BGCAZ has a dedicated safety committee within the Board of Directors to provide input and guidance on local policies and safety strategies. Priorities and initiatives include:
- Capital improvements
- Coordination with local enforcement agencies as needed
- Investments in staff training
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.
Nationally, Boys & Girls Clubs of America work 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, BGCAZ partners with:
- Local police and law enforcement agencies
- Schools we serve
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 BGCAZ. To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page, here.