At Boys & Girls Clubs of Topeka, Child Safety is Job No. 1
Ensuring child safety is fundamental to the mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Topeka
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.
A Letter From Dawn McWilliams, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Topeka
BGCT parents and guardians,
Safety remains the number one priority of Boys & Girls Clubs of Topeka, and we are doing everything possible to keep children, our staff, and volunteers protected from the COVID-19 virus. We continue to monitor all updates from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Shawnee County Health Department and Kansas Department of Health & Environment for updated information.
Given the state of the virus in our community and with guidance from local health officials, the Club plans to provide essential before, after and out of school services for the 2020-2021 school year. We are working with our District partners to map out the school year programs and services. Due to these complex times please anticipate additional safety precautions ....see more
Culture of Safety
Boys & Girls Clubs of Topeka 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:
- Mandatory background checks
- Mandatory Annual Safety Assessments
- Board led Safety Committee comprised of facility experts and law enforcement
Boys & Girls Clubs of Topeka 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 Topeka 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 Topeka. 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 Topeka 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 all 14 Club locations
Ongoing training and supervision of staff is critical. We participate in a wide variety of child safety training conducted such as annual Abuse & Neglect training sessions, Critical Incident Training and Crisis Prevention through CPI (Crisis Prevention Institute) The trainings are provided by certified trainers on staff. 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.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Topeka has a dedicated safety committee to provide input and guidance on local policies and safety strategies. Priorities and initiatives include:
- Safety Assessment, Evaluation & Improvement
- Incident Review
- Staff safety through consultation, training and support
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 Topeka partners with:
- Topeka Police Department
- Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office
- Family Service & Guidance, Kansas Children’s Service League and Lifehouse Child Advocacy Center
- Topeka Public Schools, USD 345, USD 437 & USD 450
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 Boys & Girls Clubs of Topeka. To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page, here.