At Sarah Heinz House, Child Safety is Job No. 1
Ensuring child safety is fundamental to the mission of Sarah Heinz House.
The Safety and Wellbeing 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 do not tolerate inappropriate behavior, including child sexual abuse or misconduct, and we put resources behind that stance.
Culture of Safety: Sarah Heinz House continually updates 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.
Safety Policies: Sarah Heinz House has comprehensive safety policies in place that protect youth – including, but not limited to, supervision, transportation, emergency response, communication, and protocol related to 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, Sarah Heinz House members, volunteers, guests, 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 Sarah Heinz House. All potential employees and all teen and adult volunteers (7th Grade and above) are also run through the National Sex Offender Registry. Sarah Heinz House requirements meet or exceed standards of State of Pennsylvania and Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Required Immediate Reporting: All Sarah Heinz House staff, and adult 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 (BGCA) within 24 hours.
Mandatory Annual Safety Assessments: We complete a safety assessment each year to ensure we continually make improvements to safety at our organization.
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]. We also engage leading third-party safety experts to provide guidance for our policies and approaches, including BGCA, local Law Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security, Praesidium.
Safety Committee: Sarah Heinz House has a dedicated safety committee to provide input and guidance on policies and safety strategies. Priorities and initiatives include:
- Regular review and corrective action related to Incident Reports
- Regular Review and Dicussion of Alarms
- Building Safety and Inspection
- Regular review of relevant policy
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; SHH has multiple staff who are certified in MHFA, Standard First Aid, and CPR.
- Crisis Text Line, a confidential text message service for youth in times of crisis
Locally, Sarah Heinz House partners with:
- Pittsburgh Police
- Pittsburgh Public Assembly and Public Safety Meetings (Quarterly)
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- 911th Airlift Wing Security Personnel, Pittsburgh Air reserve Station
- Jewish Community Center Security Director
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 Sarah Heinz House. To learn more about our national safety policies and actions, please visit Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Child Safety page, here.
COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Policies
Click here to see our Summer Safety Guidelines: Safety Guidelines Summer 2020