At Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore,
Child Safety is Job No. 1
Ensuring child safety is fundamental to the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore
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
Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore 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:
AEDs installed at all Club locations
Controlled access at Club entrances/exits with video security and required sign in
Emergency preparedness plans for cases of an intruder, severe weather, medical emergencies, and a missing child
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, BGCMB 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 BGCMB. 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 and a National Criminal Search.
Required Immediate Reporting
BGCMB 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 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 is critical. We participate in a wide variety of child safety training including those provided by Boys & Girls Club of America, public health agencies, and law enforcement partners. Topics include active shooter training, mental health first aid training, and recognizing human trafficking and sexual abuse. 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.
BGCMB has a dedicated Board-led 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
Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore has comprehensive safety policies in place that protect youth – including, but not limited to, supervision, transportation, communication and prohibiting private one-on-one contact.
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, BGCMB partners with:
Beau Biden Foundation’s Shield of Protection Initiative, outlining best policies, procedures, and programming to protect children from child abuse and neglect
TurnAround, Inc., providing counseling and support services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence
Lifebridge Health Center for Hope, offering integrated programs and services to break the cycle of violence
Lead 4 Life, providing services to reduce the number of youth entering the juvenile justice system
Shura, Inc., offering behavioral health and therapeutic behavioral services
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 Club, 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 BGCMB. To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page, here.