At Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County, Child Safety is Job No. 1

 


Ensuring child safety is fundamental to the mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County

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 child sexual abuse or misconduct, and we put resources behind that
stance.

Culture of Safety: Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom 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.
Safety Policies: Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County 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, Boys & Girls Clubs of
Whatcom 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 every year for every staff and board
member at Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County. In addition, criminal background checks are required for any volunteer who has
direct contact with children.

Required Immediate Reporting: Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom 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 Club(s).

Safety Trainings: Ongoing training and supervision of staff is critical. We participate in a wide variety of child safety trainings
each year. 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: Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County has a dedicated safety committee to provide input and guidance on local
policies and safety strategies.

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

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