Since the late 1940s, the Boys & Girls Club of Southern Rensselaer County has sought to afford our local kids and teens a safe haven. This affordance has become even more crucial throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic.
We, alongside other Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the country, are committed to ensuring that Club staff, members, families, and communities have the resources they need to best facilitate caregiving during the pandemic.
Through collaboration with state and local officials we are working to develop flexible support strategies that allow us to consistently offer meals, programming, and support to those who need it most.
Now, more than ever, we need our advocates, donors, and community members to join us. Thank you for your support.
At Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Rensselaer County, Child Safety is Job No. 1
Ensuring child safety is fundamental to the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Rensselaer County (BGCSORENSCO)
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: BGCSORENSCO 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:
Foundations of Safety Training
Mandated Reporter Training
Continuously updated Employee Manual
Regularly scheduled building inspections and preparedness drills
Safety Policies: BGCSORENSCO 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, BGCCA 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 BGCSORENSCO. In addition, criminal background checks are required for any volunteer that regularly interacts with youth. All potential employees and recurring volunteers are required to be cleared in accordance with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services regulations.
Required Immediate Reporting: BGCSORENSCO 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 training 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.
Safety Committee: BGCSORENSCO has a dedicated safety committee to provide input and guidance on local policies and safety strategies. Priorities and initiatives include:
Updating security for our facilities including new cameras and secure entry features
Reviewing emergency procedure training and processes
Implementing mental health safety program
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, BGCSORENSCO partners with:
Nationally, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has advocated for 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 BGCCA. To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page, here.