Ensuring child safety is fundamental to the mission of John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton:

The Safety and Wellbeing of Young People is Our Number One Priority

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: The Club 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.

 

Safety Policies: Boys & Girls Club of Newton maintains comprehensive safety policies that protect youth, including but not limited to policies on supervision, transportation, communication and prohibition of one-on-one contact.  Links to those policies appear above.

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

Mandatory Background Checks: Mandatory criminal background checks are required upon hire and annually for every staff and board member at Boys & Girls Club of Newton. In addition, criminal background checks are required for any volunteer who has direct, repetitive contact with children. All potential employees and volunteers are run through the National Criminal and Sex Offender Databases through First Advantage.  Local checks are also performed through Massachusetts CORI and SORI systems.

Required Immediate Reporting: Boys & Girls Club of Newton staff and volunteers are all mandated reporters and 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 employ a multi-tiered safety assessment approach  to ensure we continually make improvements to safety at our Club.

Safety Trainings: 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.

Safety Committee:  The Club has a dedicated Board-led Safety Committee to provide input and guidance on local policies and safety strategies. Priorities and initiatives include:

 

  • Quarterly inspections of the Club’s physical premises

  • Annual review of child safety policies on a rotating schedule

  • Monitoring of trends in the childcare and public safety industries

  • Review Annual Survey results and prescribe corrective action as needed

 

Mandatory Employee Reference: Any employee interested in moving to another Boys & Girls Club is required to have a reference from their 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, composed of local Club leaders who provide input on 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, our Club partners with:

 

Newton Police Department

Newton Fire Department

Newton Health Department

Newton Inspectional Services

 

Continued Commitment: 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 the John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton.  To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page.

Behavior/Discipline Policy


Members are expected to be involved in an activity of their choice while at the Club and to follow Club rules. Children whose behavior is found to be unacceptable will be redirected through discussion, redirection, and "take a break" periods. Continued behavioral issues may result in suspension and/or expulsion. Parents and guardians are expected to work with staff regarding any child who is having difficulty meeting the behavioral requirements of the Club.




Drop In/Open-Door Policy/Licensing


With the exception of Curiosity Club for Grades K-5 (which is licensed by the Department of Early Education and Care), The John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton offers Drop In programming for children in grades 3 and up with an open-door policy. All areas of the Club are supervised by caring, trained adults at all times with the maxium staff to child ratio set at 25 to 1 for all programs. The open-door policy allows all members to enter and leave the Club at any time during their time in the program. Should elementary school aged members decide to leave, parents may be contacted. Repeatedly entering and leaving the building is not allowed. The Club is not responsible for the care or supervision of children beyond the program closing time or after they leave the pemises. The Drop In program is not licensed by the Department of Early Education and Care or any other state agency. Members who are in Grades K-2 who are not in Curiosity Club may attend specific athletic, art, and educational, and recreational drop-in programs if dropped off at the start time of program and picked up at conclusion of program.




Parents and Visitors


In order to provide a safe environment for all members, all parents and visitors must check in at the front desk. Please remain at the front desk while the Club staff assists you in locating your child. The staff are happy to make appointments to discuss any issues you may have about your child or the program. Should you wish to observe your child in an activity please make your request to the front desk staff.




Pick-Ups & Late Pick-Ups


Members under the age of ten must be picked up no later than 6:30 p.m., unless they are participating in a specific activity. All other members must be picked up by closing time. Each family is given one 15-minute grace period for late pick-ups. On the second occurrence, there will be a charge of $1.00 per minute for each child. Children will not be admitted to the Club until the late fee is paid.




Health Policy


If your child is not well enough to attend school due to an illness or contagious symptoms, (including head lice) they must not attend the Club. It is expected that if a child becomes sick at the Club, the parent(s) or guardian(s) will make arrangements to have the child picked up.




Phone Use


The Club's main phone line is available for emergency phone calls only. If you need to contact your child using the Club's phone system, the staff will make an effort to convey a message to them and they will be encouraged to call you back using a phone line specifically designated for this purpose. Members can only be paged and brought to the phone for emergencies.




Cell Phones & Devices


Members are allowed to carry their cell phones and personal electronic devices with them and to use them as long as they are not being disruptive to other members of the program in which they are participating. Children who access the Boys & Girls Club's wireless internet must complete a technology use contract annually and access can be withheld by the Club at any time. Parents should be aware that cell coverage is limited in some of the areas of the facilty depending on your carrier.




Valuables


The Club will not be held responsible for lost or stolen items. It is recommended that anything of value be left at home.





Frequently Requested Policies