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 Cooke 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 implement layers of safety policies and guidelines to keep our kids safe including:
- All building visitors, including parents and guardians, must be granted access into the building at all times. Visitors sign-in, stating who they are, time in and out, and their intentions. They are then issued a badge and accompanied through the building and monitored at all times.
- Mandatory yearly criminal background checks on all staff, board members, volunteers and coaches.
- Annual safety assessments
- Safety trainings for all staff and volunteers
- We prohibit one-on-one contact for all staff and volunteers
- We encourage all members and families to report any incident or situation they feel is unsafe and all staff and volunteers are mandated to report any critical incident/safety concern to local authorities, leadership, board of directors, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Safety Policies: BGC of Cooke 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, BGC of Cooke 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 yearly criminal background checks are required every year for every staﬀ and board member at BGC of Cooke 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, First Advantage National Criminal File, and Statewide Criminal Files.
Required Immediate Reporting: BGC of Cooke 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 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.
Safety Committee: Boys & Girls Clubs of Cooke County has a dedicated safety committee to provide input and guidance on local policies and safety strategies. Priorities and initiatives include:
- Recruitment of leading experts in safety including: Gainesville Police and Fire Departments, North Texas Youth Connection- Safe Place, Gainesville Independent School District, My Philadelphia Insurance, State Farm Insurance, North Central Texas College, Mental Health First Aid
- Ensuring that all employees and volunteers are given quality onboarding and formal training
- All emerency action procedures are put to life through drill and 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
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 BGC of Cooke County. To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page, here.