Ensuring child safety is fundamental to the mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Cruz County
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.
Culture of Safety: Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Cruz 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:
- We conduct criminal background checks, including Live Scan, on all employees, volunteers, and board members, and reference checks on all potential employees.
- Our staff and volunteers are all mandated reporters and receive training on their responsibilities.
- We report all critical incidents and safety concerns to local authorities immediately.
Safety Policies: Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Cruz 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 Santa Cruz 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 Santa Cruz 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.
Required Immediate Reporting: Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Cruz 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 Santa Cruz County has a dedicated safety committee to provide input and guidance on local policies and safety strategies. Priorities and initiatives include:
- Safety Assessment done yearly and improvement plans developed.
- Policies and Procedures reviewed annually and updated as needed.
- Child Safety: Training schedule developed annually.
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, Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Cruz County partners with:
- Family Service Agency of Central Coast for member, family and staff support and counseling to help face life’s challenges and crisis situations.
- Our local law enforcement partners: Santa Cruz Police Department, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, Scotts Valley Police Department.
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 Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Cruz County. To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page, here.