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SAFETY

At Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana child safety and wellbeing is our number one priority.

Ensuring child safety is fundamental to the mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana. Research is clear that when kids feel safe, they have better outcomes in life, which is exactly why we do the work we do – building great futures by serving local youth who need us most to help them become productive, caring and responsible citizens in our community. Inherent in this is the safeguarding of those kids and teens who are entrusted to our care and engaged with our Clubs. We work every day to create a safe, fun environment so kids can have every opportunity to be successful in life.

Zero Tolerance

We have ZERO tolerance for inappropriate behavior of any kind, including child sexual abuse or misconduct, and we put resources behind that stance.

Culture & Safety

Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana 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:

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 Acadiana members and staff have access to  a confidential 24-hour toll-free Child Safety Hotline, 866-607-SAFE (7233) or email SafeClub@Praesidiuminc.com

Required Immediate Reporting

Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana 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.

Onboarding & Background Checks

Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana requires mandatory criminal background checks every year for every staff and board member. All potential employees and volunteers are also run through the National Sex Offender Registry.

Six-Step Nationally Enforced Safety Plan

Together with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana follows the nationally mandated six-step safety plan to provide a safe and secure experience for youth:

  1. Criminal background checks

  2. Confidential toll-free Child Safety Helpline, 866-607-SAFE (7233), email at SafeClub@Praesidiuminc.com

  3. Ongoing child safety training

  4. Highest standard of safety policies and procedures

  5. Facilities & vehicles must comply with federal, state and local safety laws

  6. Reinforcing a culture of safety, including initiatives:

  • National Child Safety Advisory Task Force

  • Dedicated Child Safety Committee on National Board of Governors

  • National Safety Award Program

  • National Child Safety and Protection Symposium

  • Plus, we are constantly evaluating and refining our safety initiatives locally and on a national level to ensure the utmost security of our youth.

Safety Partnership

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 Acadiana partners closely with:

  • St. Landry Fire Department

  • Opelousas Police Department

  • New Iberia Police Department

  • Iberia Fire Department

  • Iberia Health Inspectors

  • Lafayette Parish Fire Department

  • Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Department

  • Lafayette City Police Department

  • ADT Security System

  • Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Department

  • Abbeville City Police Department

  • Abbeville Fire Department

  • Acadian Security Plus

  • Acadian Ambulance

Safety Trainings

Ongoing training and supervision of staff is critical. We participate in a variety of child safety training measures. 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. Locally, training includes:

  • Yearly active shooter and active intruder trainings with support from the Police Department and Department of Public Safety

  • Bi-annual safety trainings conducted

  • Participate in a yearly mandatory training with the Center for Child Protection to educate staff on reporting procedures and identification of abuse signs

  • Child abuse and neglect training and youth interaction policy training for all full-time staff and volunteers

  • Ongoing online and in-person safety trainings and refreshers

Safety Assessments & Audits

We complete a safety assessment each year to ensure we continually make improvements to safety at our Clubs. In addition, we audit Club locations throughout the year to ensure adherence to policies and processes.

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana conducts regular audits at all area locations to ensure adherence to our policies and standards. This includes monthly observations at Club sites*

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana Safety Committee meets quarterly to review policies and procedures for the safety of members and staff

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.

Safety Policies Included on Parent/Member Application

Anti-Bullying Policy: We, members of the Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana, agree to work together to stop bullying at our club. Everyone has the right to feel physically and emotionally safe at our club. We will do everything we can as members of our club to create a safe environment. Bullying is defined as intentional aggressive behavior that can take many forms (verbal, physical, direct, indirect and cyber bullying). Bullying can be one child bullying another, a group of children ganging up against one child, or one group of kids targeting another group.

Sign-Out Policy

  • The Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana has a sign out policy; club members must present their cards, or membership numbers to the Front Desk Lead upon entering the club. Parents or guardians must sign club members out daily at the club’s front desk with the Member Parent Coordinator.

  • Anyone signing a child out must be listed in the child's file in order for them to be released. All club members who are walkers/city bus riders must have agree to the 'My Child Can Walk Home Policy'. Walkers/City bus riders whose names are on the walkers/city bus riders list will have to sign themselves out when leaving the club, but once they leave the club they MAY NOT return to the club that day unless a parent or guardian signs them back in.

Photography/Video Release: I give consent for any photography/ videography in which my child may appear to be used as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana may see fit including social media, marketing, etc. Additionally, I understand that the club may be equipped with audio video recording devices for security purposes.

School Data: I give consent for my child’s school to release my child’s school grades, attendance records, standardized test information, AR reading data, discipline/ behavior records, and counseling records to Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana’s staff so that they may help my child to improve in school.

Club Survey: I give consent for my child’s school to release my child’s school grades, attendance records, standardized test information, AR reading data, discipline/ behavior records, and counseling records to Boys & Girls Clubs of Acadiana’s staff so that they may help my child to improve in school.

Late Pick Up Policy + Fee: Be aware of the closing hours at the club in which your child is attending. Parents/Guardians are expected to pick up their child up on time. If you are more than five minutes late, there will be a $1.00 per minute fee.If you are more than 30 minutes late the police will be contacted. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

Device Monitoring and Inspection: Boys &Girls Clubs of Acadiana reserves the right to monitor, inspect, copy, and review any personally owned devices that are brought to the club. If a Club Member refuses the member may be barred from bringing personally owned devices to the club in the future.

Parent/Guardian Behavior Guidelines: The Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana has expectations of parents/guardians including, but not limited to the following:

  • Keep the Club free from violence, weapons, substances, tobacco, and destruction.

  • Will speak calmly and appropriately to children, parents, staff, and volunteers.

  • Understand that membership in the Club is a privilege and not a right.

  • Understand that discipline and guidance is handled by the staff and supported by parents.

  • The parent will return signed correspondence to the Club by the next business day. If clarification is needed, the parent will ask in writing by the next business day for clarification from the Club Director.

  • The parent will not make accusations about or speak ill of the Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana staff, volunteers, or members. This includes in communication on social media.

  • Understand that the Club Director is the person who makes final decisions regarding the operations of the Club and that the parent will accept the decision of the Club Director. There will be no communication with Board members or staff without the Club Director present or aware.

  • Understand that their child/children may or may not be able to participate in field trips.

  • Understand that it is the parent’s responsibility to request and update membership every summer and afterschool year and to pay fees associated with membership.

  • Understand that the parent will participate in the initial and annual orientations at a pre-arranged mutually agreed upon time.

  • Understand that behavioral Member Guidelines will be in force for their child/children.

  • Understand that the Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana reserves the right to update the member and parent expectations at any time. It is expected that the parent/guardian will encourage their child/children to comply with the member expectations and that the parent/guardian will model such compliance.

The Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana reserves the right to dismiss child/children from the program with no refunds for the following reasons:

  • Disruptive or inappropriate parent/guardian behavior, such as violating those listed above.

  • Disruptive or inappropriate member behavior.

  • Failure of a parent/guardian to schedule/attend conferences to resolve problems.

  • Failure of parent/guardian to make agreed upon payment or to discuss options with the CPO.

  • Repeated late pick-ups of child/children.

  • Any violation of conditions outlined above.

Failure to follow one or more of these expectations will result in you and/or your child/children being expelled from the Boys & Girls Club of Acadiana

State & Local Laws

We comply with federal, state and local safety laws, including those impacting facilities and vehicles .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 Acadiana. To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page, here.