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. Our Club receives a comprehensive site-assessment annually by Boys & Girls Clubs of America including a review of all policies, a complete facility walk through, and on-site observation of the program while it is in operation. Our most recent assessment was completed in March 2022 and we received a perfect score!
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.
Do I need to make a reservation for my child to attend the Club?All registerd members may visit the Club on School Days and Saturdays (Winter) whenever they would like. They can come as often as they want and may stay as long as they want. The first visit to the Boys & Girls Club is free for any child between the ages of 6 and 18. They will be issued a pass and asked to provide their home phone number for the guest list. Should they decide to continue their participation, they will be asked to join the Club at a future date. Vacation Week Programs and Summer Camp require advanced registration and additional fees.
How will my child be supervised at the Boys & Girls Club?No area of the Club will open without a qualified, adult supervisor in place to maintain safety and order. In addition to the permanent full-time staff, there are instructors, assistants, and program aides working in various areas as well. Typical staffing ratios are 25 to 1. Typical class sizes are 10-1.
How can the Club afford to provide so much for such an affordable fee?Boys & Girls Clubs are founded on the principle that when given the proper resources, children will make positive use of their leisure time. The Club is committed to providing quality childcare opportunities for children regardless of their economic background. A group of talented individuals and concerned citizens lend their time and expertise to raise our operating budget annually. While other programs pass their costs along to participants, we work hard to stay affordable to all.
Is this free child-care?With the exception of the Curiosity Club program the Boys & Girls Club does not provide EEC licensed childcare for its members. The cost of exclusively providing small group, directed activity and individual, one to one care to each member would be prohibitive to both the Club and to many of its customers. We are in the business of providing quality opportunities for change and growth for our members during the time periods when parents need us the most. However, we are not a fee-for-service based organization, and as such, we do not guarantee the staffing ratios required of a licensed day care program to members of our drop in program.
Can my child be asked to leave the Boys & Girls Club for disciplinary reasons?Our discipline policies are outlined at length under the "Policies & Procedures" section of the website. We make every effort to avoid excluding a child or limiting their participation. In the event such a step becomes necessary, you will be asked to visit the Club along with your child so that you can be provided with documentation regarding the incident and advised of the consequences. In order for a child to be removed from the Club, they must conduct themselves in a way that is dangerous to themselves, their fellow members, or to the staff. Such situations are rare, but not unheard of.
Does the Club provide meals for my child?While the Club will occasionally provide food for our members during holidays and on special occasions, it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children are fed at meal times. Parents are reminded to provide lunch for their elementary students on all early release days. Members who remain at the Club after 6:30PM need to have access to a meal as well.
When should I sign up for Summer Camp?Summer Camp applications are available on February 1st each year. The Club is committed to making sure that every child has a quality summer experience and those who require financial aid are invited and encouraged to apply. To be guaranteed a financial aid package for camp, the deadline to apply and to submit all supporting documentation is typically May 1st. However, any family in need is encouraged to contact us at any time.
Why can't the Boys & Girls Club provide transportation to my school?The Boys & Girls Club understands that transportation is frequently the number one barrier to Club participation. We do our best to use our vehicles and our available staff to provide transportation to as many students as possible every day. However, licensing regulations, vehicle capacity constraints, and the time limitations of school dismissal combine to limit our ability to expand our efforts. Families who would like to see public school transportation in Newton drop off at or near after-school centers such as ours, the West Suburban YMCA, The Hyde Center, the JCC and others are encouraged to contact school administrators, members of the school committee, the Mayor’s Office, or City Counselors to voice this need. It is hoped that if enough people speak up, the City of Newton might consider adding transportation routes for free or at a fee that would cover the cost.