SAFETY IS OUR NUMBER #1 PRIORITY
Due to Covid-19, we have made the necessary changes to keep everyone in the Club safe.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County will align with local school districts where the Club operates on school campuses. However, the Club will continue to operate at three separate facility-based program sites and extend hours from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm to create distance learning settings along with enrichment opportunities. The three Club locations, Armstrong Youth Center (East Bakersfield), Stockdale Club (Southwest Bakersfield), and Lamont Club, will be accepting new members, extending programs, and serving meals. Our primary goal is to provide full-day activities for school-age children of first responders, healthcare professionals, essential community personnel, and those parents/guardians who must work to maintain employment.
“We want to support working families who may be experiencing challenges due to school closures in our area,” said Zane Smith, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kern County. “We are working to be cautious and responsive as possible to our family and community in this challenging time.”
Local Club Safety
At the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County, Child Safety is Job No. 1.
Ensuring child safety is fundamental to the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County.
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.
Culture of Safety: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County 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:
Prior to working with children, all youth development professionals must pass a background and reference check.
As part of our “onboarding” process, all staff must successfully complete Praesidium Sexual Abuse Prevention training along with other relevant safety training prior to working with children.
We have an established structured Board-Led Safety Committee that meets regularly to address and evolve safety policies, procedures, and strategies.
Safety Policies: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County 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, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County 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 the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County. 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: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County 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 the 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 Trainings: 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: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County has a dedicated safety committee to provide input and guidance on local policies and safety strategies. Priorities and initiatives include:
Addressing facilities to ensure that safety policies and procedures are consistent throughout our Boys & Girls Clubs.
Educating our children on Club policies/rules of conduct that help ensure their personal safety and the safety of others.
Working with our community partners on joint clear communication and strategies that are adhered to regardless of location and activities with our children.
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.
Safety Partnerships: 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, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County partners with:
10 School Districts and the Kern County Superintendent of Schools.
Department of Human Services.
Redwoods Insurance Safety Program.
Kern County Children's’ Cabinet.
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 the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County. To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page, here.
Please let us know if you have any questions:
Fire Safety: November is Child Safety and Protection Month, and there’s no better time to think about how you can protect your family in the case of a fire in your home. The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that more than 300 people are killed each year and $280 million worth of property damage is caused as a result of children playing with fire.
Since February 2020, the Red Cross has responded to more than 29,000 fires and aided 128,000 people in need of emergency lodging following a fire.
The Red Cross and their team at Reviews.com have recently put together an informative guide for homeowners and their families to better prepare for an emergency and to maintain awareness of the most common fire safety concerns in their home.
Click the link below to view the guide and learn How Families Can prevent and Plan for Fires During COVID-19.