Thank you for your patience and understanding over the past few months as BGCS has been navigating the COVID-19 health crisis. During this time, we worked with our board of directors, health professionals, the Sioux City Community School Districts, and other leaders in the community to figure out how to best serve our youth, families, and staff members. No part of this process has been simple or easy.
Our policy adheres to the Health & Safety Guidelines for Childcare and Early Education Operating during COVID-19 which were released on August 14, 2020 by the Iowa Department of Education’s Early Learning Division (ELD). Boys & Girls Clubs of Siouxland will continue to monitor the guidelines from Iowa Department of Public Health, the ELD, and Siouxland District Health and reserves the right to make changes to these protocols as necessary.
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.
Creating an environment of safety is our number one priority at BGC. Each staff member undergoes a thorough background check, drug screening, CPR and First Aid training, as well as ongoing trainings such as Recognizing Abuse as mandatory reporters and anti-bullying trainings.
Culture of Safety
Boys & Girls Clubs of Siouxland 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 safety policies and guidelines to keep our kids safe including:
- Regular Child-Abuse Prevention Training from Darkness to Light through our partners at Kid Center
- Regular First Aid and CPR Training
- Quarterly safety checks conducted at each site
- Incident reporting protocols and review
- Crisis Management Plan
- Safety Drills
Boys & Girls Clubs of Siouxland has comprehensive safety policies in place that protect youth – including, but not limited to, supervision, transportation, communication and prohibiting private one-on-one contact by any adults.
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 Siouxland 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, drug screening, CPR and First Aid training are required every year for every staff and board members at Boys & Girls Clubs of Siouxland. 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 by First Advantage.
Required Immediate Reporting
Boys & Girls Clubs 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 Clubs.
Ongoing training and supervision of staff is critical. We participate in a wide variety of child safety training including seminars, conferences, and webinars. 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. Siouxland Police Department.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Siouxland has a dedicated board and staff led safety committee to provide input and guidance on local policies and safety strategies. Priorities and initiatives include:
- Creating and promoting a culture of safety
- Facility safety and security
- Child abuse prevention and response
- Safety Metrics
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.
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 Siouxland partners with:
- Siouxland Police Department
- Kid Center
- Sioux City Community School District
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