Child Safety is our #1 Priority
Ensuring child safety is fundamental to the mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago. 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.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago 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.
Safety PoliciesBoys & Girls Clubs of Chicago has comprehensive safety policies in place that protect youth, including, but not limited to, supervision, transportation, communication and prohibiting private one-on-one contact. We implement layers of safety policies and guidelines in order to keep our kids safe including:
- Summer Family Handbook: This handbook is designed to give members, parents and guardians a helpful insight into Boys & Girls Club of Chicago. In this handbook you will find detailed information about program activities, procedures and policies to support your child in having a safe, positive and rewarding experience in our Summer Camp program.
- 24-hour Toll-free Child Safety Hotline: We encourage all staff, members and families to report any incident or situation they feel is unsafe. Call our office at 312-235-8000 or Email. Through our national partnership with Praesidium, one of the nation’s leading safety experts, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago 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 Chicago. In addition, criminal background checks are required for any volunteer who has direct contact with children and contractors who have long-standing work relationships with Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago.
- Required Immediate Reporting: All Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago staff and volunteers are required to immediately report any critical incident/safety concerns to local authorities. 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.
- Safety Training: 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 Chicago has a dedicated 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: We comply with federal, state and local safety laws, including those impacting facilities and vehicles.
- Compliance: Any person not in compliance with our safety policy will be subject to immediate disciplinary action.
Safety PartnershipsNationally, 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
- Chicago Police Department & Fire Department
- Chicago Children's Advocacy Center
- Illinois Collaboration on Youth
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 Chicago. To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page, here.