December 5, 2022

By: 

Maxine Wilson, Chief Operating Officer 

Harold Love, Vice President of Club Services

At Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF) the safety of our young people is always our number one priority.

Our organization is committed to the highest standards of safety and integrity and has zero tolerance for behavior that harms children. We take pride in the layout and design of our eight traditional Clubhouses, six School-Based Clubs, and Camp Mendocino. To compliment this, our caring staff are focused on providing both physically and emotionally safe places for our children and teens to thrive.

The following bullet points illustrate just a few measures BGCSF has taken to remain laser focused on our safety practices and policies. 

  • We recently revised our Technology Acceptable Use policy to define what safe usage of technology looks like at our Clubs 
  • We are collaborating closely with RAINN, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to abuse prevention, awareness, and response to review and strengthen our policies and practices in this area.
  • We have made significant investments in our physical spaces through the use of effective design, including open view corridors and the use of video monitoring, alarms, and the ability to section off and lock areas of our facilities.

Beyond this, we have established layers of safety policies and guidelines to keep our kids safe:

REQUIREMENTS FOR STAFF

Background Checks: Mandatory annual criminal background checks for staff and repeat volunteers.

Mandatory Reporting: BGCSF is required to immediately report any suspected abuse or victimization to the appropriate authorities and then to Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Reporting and analyzing incidents: Incident reports allow us to gather facts, track trends, and respond to patterns so that we can prevent accidents and wrongdoing, while providing the proper support to staff on the ground. 

Reference Requirement: Any employee looking to move to BGCSF from another Boys & Girls Club organization must have a reference from the previous Club to be eligible for rehire.

Trainings: From Safety Awareness Day and Manager-specific Safety Awareness Day to monthly emergency drills, we frequently review and refresh policies related to safety. BGCSF has a two-person Learning & Development Department that manages training and new hire orientation, ensuring that all of us are ready for the responsibility we have for child safety.



Over 130 staff came together for our annual organization-wide Safety Awareness Day.


PARTNERING WITH EXPERTS

Third-Party Safety Leaders: BGCSF benefits from the support of Boys & Girls Clubs of America's national Child & Club Safety Department. As part of this collaboration, the best practices we implement are informed by leading third-party safety experts including Praesidium, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, RAINN, and the National Children's Advocacy Center.

Safety Committees: A Board-led Safety Committee elevates safety to the highest level of governance.

FACILITY AUDITS AND ASSESSMENTS

Child safety is our #1 priority at Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco and we are committed to providing safe spaces for our youth.


Facility Audits:
Clubhouses conduct a safety self-assessment and our BGCSF leadership team participates in three facility audits at each Clubhouse annually. These dedicated engagements allow us to develop plans to improve safety, if a need is identified, as well as to dialogue with Clubhouse leadership about ways to sustain or improve safety.

RESOURCES FOR MEMBERS AND FAMILIES

Visible Resources: Clubs are required to prominently display key safety resources and information, including the Child Safety Helpline and Crisis Text Line.

Policy Communications: Clubs inform parents and caregivers of safety policies during registration or when they attend mandatory member orientations.

We are incredibly proud to be part of an organization that consistently puts the needs of youth first in all of its decisions. What we have shared is merely a glimpse of the comprehensive layers of safety that sustain our unwavering commitment to our kids. A more detailed account of BGCSF’s safety processes can be found here.

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The Connection Between Our School-Based Clubs and Traditional Clubhouses

I have worked for Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF) for 24 years. Throughout my journey from High School Services Director at our Tenderloin Clubhouse, to Clubhouse Director at our Excelsior Clubhouse, to currently overseeing Club operations at our 14 locations across the City (and additional roles in between) I have cultivated a deep understanding of the communities we serve and a true appreciation for how our programming supports our members in the best way possible.