The Safety and Wellbeing of Young People is Our Number One Priority
At Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster, 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 Club of Lancaster continually updates robust safety policies, programs and training for staff and volunteers to promote child safety and protect young people from threats in our society.
Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster maintains comprehensive safety policies in place that protect youth, including but not limited to:
- Hiring Practices
- Comprehensive Trainings
- Prohibition of 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 Club of Lancaster members and staff have access to a confidential 24-hour toll-free Child Safety Hotline at 866-607-SAFE (7233) or SafeClub@Praesidiuminc.com.
24-Hour Local Sexual Assault Hotline
The Sexual Assault Hotline is operated by YWCA Lancaster trained staff and volunteers. Callers may utilize the hotline for several reasons, including, but not limited to: crisis intervention services, questions about resources and referrals related to sexual violence; inquiries about counselling; and requests to provide medical advocacy at local hospitals. The phone number for the Sexual Assault Hotline is (717) 392-7273.
Mandatory Background Checks:
Mandatory criminal background checks are both a requirement of Pennsylvania and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Leadership staff and Human Resources review these records on an annual basis for all staff and board members. In addition, criminal background checks are required for any routine volunteer who has direct contact with children. All potential employees and volunteers are also checked against the National Sex Offender Registry.
Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster staff and volunteers are all mandated reporters. We are required to report any critical incident or safety concern to local authorities immediately. We are also required to report any such incidents to Boys & Girls Clubs of America within 24 hours.
Mandatory Annual Safety Assessments
We employ a multi-tiered safety assessment approach to ensure we continually make improvements to safety at our Clubs.
Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster has both a Board-led Safety Committee and a staff Safety Committee. Our Board-led Committee provides input and guidance on our safety policies and practices.
Ongoing training and supervision of staff are critical. We participate in a wide variety of child safety training through online courses, 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.
Mandatory Employee References:
Any future employee interested in moving from one Boys & Girls Club to another must undergo a reference check from any and all previous Clubs, even if the Clubs are within the same community.
State and Local Laws:
We comply with all federal, state, and local safety laws, including those impacting facilities and vehicles.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America works with leading experts in safety, security, and technology to develop solutions for Clubs. Partners include, but are not limited to:
- BGCA National Child Safety Advisory Task Force
- Keep PA Kids Safe
- Mental Health First Aid
- Crisis Text Line
- National Children’s Advocacy Center
- The Safe Zone Project
Resources for Parents and Families:
Boys & Girls Clubs of America partnered with RAINN: the nation’s leading organization dedicated to abuse prevention, awareness, and response, to provide family resources to support abuse prevention. You can find links to those resources HERE.
In July 2020, Boys & Girls Club organizations voted to adopt additional safety measures to further improve safety within our Clubs. Though many of these practices were already commonplace across our Movement, this vote made them mandatory for all Clubs. These include more stringent reference and background checks, enhanced Safety Committee requirements, stronger communication of key safety resources and information, and more. With unprecedented majority, on July 26, 2021, local Boys & Girls Clubs voted in record number to adopt additional membership requirements that further enhance child safety, implementing recommendations from RAINN that began in 2020 and will continue over the next two years – a demonstration of our continued commitment to keeping kids safe. Nationally, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has advocated for passage of the U.S. PROTECT Act to improve 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 support 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 Club of Lancaster. To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page.