Child Abuse & Neglect
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Barron County strongly advocates the prevention of child abuse and neglect and strives to ensure a safe Club environment and programs.
Definition of Abuse: Any behavior, attitude, or action that hinders, suppresses, or in any way is injurious to a child's intellectual, emotional, or physical development. Child abuse is an injury or pattern of injuries to a child that is not accidental. Child abuse includes non-accidental physical injury, physical neglect, sexual abuse and emotional abuse. Sexual abuse, a form of child abuse, is the exploitation of a child for the sexual gratification of an adult or older youth.
Statement of Child Abuse/Neglect
What our role of Club professionals is:
As an organization entrusted with the care and well being of youth, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Barron County condemns child abuse/sexual abuse. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Barron County will report all allegations of child abuse to the appropriate authorities and will cooperate fully in the prosecution of any staff or volunteer abusing children. All employees are required by law to report all cases of abuse and neglect.
All staff shall assume responsibility for identifying maltreatment of children. Staff or volunteers who note possible maltreatment are instructed to advise their supervisor and/or the Director of Operations.
A staff member must report any suspected case of abuse. Only the suspicion of abuse is needed to make a report.
The staff member reporting the incident will immediately make a report to their supervisor in writing. The supervisor will immediately forward the report to the Director of Operations.
The Director of Operations will immediately report any suspected case of abuse to the Barron County Department of Health & Family Services and/or Rice Lake/ Cumberland/Barron Police Department. This is our legal responsibility.
All cases of suspected abuse are confidential and should not be discussed openly.
It is not the role of a Boys & Girls Clubs of Barron County worker to counsel a Club member, only to refer the case to the Barron County Department of Health & Family Services.
Our responsibility as Boys & Girls Clubs of Barron County professionals is to accept the child's statement as true until evidence proves contrary. We should act only as advocates for the child and report the information.
All situations in which abuse is suspected will be referred to the Director of Operations The Director of Operations will coordinate all activity relating to the abuse and maintain documentation regarding the incident and follow-up action and relay all the information to the Executive Director.
Because of the serious nature and implications, all allegations of child abuse/sexual abuse by the Club staff or volunteers are to be dealt with immediately in the following manner:
1. All allegations, no matter how trivial they seem, are to be viewed as real incidents and immediately reported to the Director of Operations. Once reported, the incident must be documented immediately in writing. It is the responsibility of the Director of Operations to compile a report with written statements from the child(ren)/adult(s) making the allegation and/or a statement from the youth affected, as well as the alleged perpetrator. Every precaution must be taken not to further traumatize the affected youth. Written statements outlining the allegation(s) must be forwarded to the Executive Director or their designated representatives within 24 hours, or as soon as possible after the incident.
2. Once an allegation is made against a staff member or volunteer, that person is to be immediately suspended from all duties, asked to prepare a written statement regarding the incident, and placed on suspension with pay and benefits, if applicable. For the person's own protection, as well as those affected, this individual is to be denied any contact whatsoever with the youth affected or any other youth in our care. They are not allowed in the facility or on facility grounds until the Executive Director contacts them. Once this step is taken, the Board President is to be contacted immediately and briefed on the incident. In keeping with the law, we are obligated to report all allegations of abuse to the appropriate authorities and to the parent(s)/guardian.
3. Within 24 hours of the incident, or as soon as possible after a written account of the incident has been submitted, a meeting between the alleged perpetrator, Director of Operations, and Executive Director must be convened. The Board President is to be briefed by the Executive Director immediately. A determination must be made by the Board President as to the status of the employee/volunteer at the conclusion of the meeting.
4. After a meeting with the alleged perpetrator has taken place, the Executive Director will schedule a meeting with the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the child(ren) affected.
5. A full report on the incident is to be placed in the individual's personnel file. A copy will also be forwarded to the appropriate authorities. The Director of Operations will also forward a report to the Barron County Department of Health & Family Services and copy the Executive Director.
6. Reports determined to be unfounded are to be expunged from all Club records holding activities. Do we want this in here?
If the abuse/neglect allegation is made to police or other agencies legally empowered:
The Executive Director will determine if an independent Club investigation should be conducted. If so, paragraphs 1 through 6 above will be complied with under the direction of the Executive Director. Full cooperation will be given to the investigation being conducted by police or other authorities.
If an independent Club investigation is not to be conducted, the following actions will take place:
The accused person will be immediately suspended from all duties and placed on suspension with pay, on a discretionary basis for up to 90 days. For his/her protection, as well as those affected, this individual will be denied any contact whatsoever with the youth affected or any youth in our care. He/she should also be cautioned not to return to the facility until contacted by his/her supervisor.
If a criminal complaint is filed, the employee's status will change to suspension without pay or benefits.
If the criminal complaint is dismissed, or the case is tried and the employee is found "not guilty", the Executive Committee will evaluate the situation and determine the status of the employee. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Barron County reserves the right to terminate any employee at will.
Child Abuse Prevention Guidelines
The following procedures are used at the Club to prevent abuse:
1. Each area of the Club is supervised by a staff member or qualified volunteer. A staff member or volunteer must be present in any area that is used by children. When an area of the Club is not in use, children are prohibited from that area and doors to that area are locked, if possible. Doors to Clubrooms, which are in use, will remain unlocked at all times.
2. Staff and volunteers are not allowed to be alone with one Club child at any time in an area not readily observable by others. This includes being alone with a child after the Club is closed, giving rides to youth in other than emergency situations, using relationships formed at the Club to continue outside the Club, working with a child alone in a vehicle outside, or allowing youth to follow into areas where you are not readily observable. When meeting with an individual child in an office, the office door must be open or have windows that make being seen in the office easy.
3. When a staff member must be in the bathroom with a member, (for example, in the case of a bloody nose), the staff member must keep the bathroom door open so that they are readily observable, or have another staff member or volunteer assist.
4. Taking a child out of a Boys & Girls Clubs of Barron County facility, except in connection with an official function or program, is prohibited and is a serious violation of Boys & Girls Clubs of Barron County policy. Any staff person taking a child out of the Club facility without authorization and/or consent of a parent or guardian will be immediately disciplined up to and including termination.
5. Inappropriate touching or contact with youth by staff or volunteers is prohibited. At no time will any staff member or volunteer be allowed to use any form of corporal punishment with a Club member.
6. All staff are trained in child abuse prevention and mandatory reporting.
7. All staff and program volunteers have criminal and abuse background checks.
8. All volunteers are closely monitored by Club staff.
9. All allegations of child abuse will be dealt with according to the above policy and procedures.