Below are a list of frequently asked questions:
What are the Boys & Girls Clubs all about?
Our mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.
What does it cost to become a Club member?
Our annual membership fee is $50, a cost we keep low so that all children can have the chance to belong to a Club. Additional fees apply for participation in specific programs, such as child care, early learning and organized athletics.
What if I can't afford the fees?
Scholarship funds are available to prevent cost from being a barrier to participation. Contact your local Club to determine your eligibility.
Is my membership covered by my insurance?
Free Boys & Girls Clubs memberships are available to Amerigroup, UnitedHealthcare, and Community Health Plan members ages 6-18 in Washington State. Please contact your local Club for more information. Additional camps, classes, sports leagues, and programs are not included.
NOTE: Program fees are separate from membership fees. If you are in need of financial assistance, please contact your local club to learn more about our scholarships.
Is transportation available from my child's school to the Club?
Yes, for some Club locations. Contact your local Club for information about specific schools.
What age kids do you serve?
Generally speaking, we serve youth ages 6-18. After school programs offered within schools are restricted to the ages of the students who attend the schools.
How are donations used?
Donations create opportunity:
- Opportunity for parents to access high-quality, low-cost out of school care,
- Opportunity in the form of scholarships for families who need additional support.
While we do charge an affordable rate for our programs, on average, it costs us about $7,500 per year to serve one child. We rely on donations to fill that funding gap and to keep our services affordable for the 26,000 youth we serve each year.
For children and teens from families in need, we often give scholarships to cover the program fees. Learn more about Club scholarships.
Who should I contact if I have a safety concern?
If you have any safety-related concerns or questions, please contact your local Club OR our VP of Program Services & Operations, Nick Adams: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, the national organization offers a 24-hour hotline, 1-866-607-SAFE, and has developed a Child Safety Portal.
How do the Clubs create a safe and positive place for kids?
We conduct mandatory background checks on all potential staff and volunteers and we follow a strict hiring process. Once a person is on the team, we conduct monthly background checks. We also have concrete safety policies and procedures that all staff must follow. Our staff goes through routine child safety trainings. We work to create a constant culture of empowering kids to make their voices heard if they feel uncomfortable. We have a zero tolerance policy for anything that might harm a child.
We have an employee handbook that every staff member and volunteer adheres to (and signs that they have read), which strictly states that dating relationships between Club employees and Club members/children are prohibited. In that handbook, we also provide numerous options for reporting misconduct and set the clear expectation that we must maintain a high standard of conduct in all our interactions with members, families and the community.
We always look for ways we can make our clubs even safer. That is our duty. We know we have a very strong safety program, but we know that we cannot let our guard down at any moment. Our commitment to our members includes a commitment to continuously seek ways to improve the quality of our programming, our staff proficiency, and our child safety practices.
We use Verified Person to conduct our background checks. Verified Person provides monthly, automatically reoccurring background checks for all Boys & Girls Clubs of King County employees and volunteers. The company provides advanced criminal background screening, reference checking, pre-employment screening and education and identity verification services. We use their monthly subscription service, cited in Business Week, and other publications, for their “background check that never ends.”
In addition to background and criminal search, Verified Person offers what they call an “enhanced sex offender search.” It automatically searches all available state sex offender registries, verifying matching records against address history, full name, birthdate, aliases, and other publicly available personal information to improve the accuracy of results.
Is a person still employable if they show up on a background report?
We do not hire someone who has a negative background report or meets any of the following requirements:
- They refuse to consent to a criminal background check.
- They make false statements in connection with such criminal background check.
- They are on a state or national sex offender registry.
- They have been convicted of a felony consisting of murder; child abuse; a crime against children, including child pornography; spousal abuse; a crime involving rape or sexual assault; arson or physical assault; battery; or if they have been convicted of a drug related offense committed within the last five years.
Minor financial or traffic accidents can be exceptions for volunteers only, providing the volunteer will not have repeated direct contact with kids at the Clubs or opportunities to transport them.
What other requirements does the staff agree to follow?
Follow all policies and procedures. When a staff member joins the team, they read a document that outlines all policies and procedures, including safety parameters, and sign their commitment to both follow and adhere to them.
Safety protocols. No staff member can be alone with a child in a room with closed doors, including bathrooms or meeting rooms. They need to go through routine child safety trainings. These trainings include clear guidelines on what constitutes appropriate interaction with Club members. Child safety has the highest priority in any considerations of routine or protocol, throughout our organization.
Ensure transportation safety. When we provide transportation, we provide supervision of the children on the trip. We limit the time a child is alone on a van or bus with the driver, adhere to a strict schedule, and prohibit unauthorized stops. There are always a minimum of two adults on every field trip to effectively monitor behavior and report any alleged incidents.
Report problems. In addition to the accessibility of our line staff, our management and our leadership, (who are all highly trained in strict protocols to respond to reporting) our staff or parents can contact a 24-hour hotline to raise concerns or situations about child safety. The number is 1-866-607-SAFE. They can also go to www.positiveplace.org.
How do you monitor safety with an “open door” policy?
“Open door” is how we describe how drop-in Club members come and go at will. Because young people must choose to attend the Club, it is important that all young people feel welcomed. Youth in Early Learning & Child Care have different rules in that they cannot leave the facility unless picked up by a parent or guardian or under the supervision of staff for an approved trip.
What are some other ways in which you make your clubs even safer?
- Set Club schedules to enable younger members to leave before dark.
- Have a trained staff member at the checkout/control counter.
- Arrange for local police to patrol the Club area at key times such as when kids are leaving the Club at closing time, etc. Also, encourage officers to stop by regularly for unscheduled visits.
What does a zero-tolerance policy mean?
Boys & Girls Clubs of King County have a strict zero-tolerance policy for any disregard of our procedures. If there are any child safety issues, we immediately contact the police and Child Protective Services. Our written code of conduct expressly forbids behaviors that might endanger children. The policy prohibits any kind of corporal punishment, including spanking, slapping and shaking a child. These policies are in our employee manual. If abuse by a staff member is alleged, we take immediate action and suspend the employee, pending thorough investigation, prevent contact with other children, and report the allegation to the police and local child protective services agency. If the staff member has violated any Club policies, which has resulted in placing children in danger, they are terminated from employment immediately, regardless of whether authorities substantiate the child abuse.
What do people do if they find abuse at a Club?
People who see anything of concern where a child is in danger, should immediately contact the club management, the Regional Directors, the CSC central office, or local authorities. The Boys & Girls Clubs has a national hotline that offers 24-hour support, 1-866-607-SAFE.
Please direct all issues or concerns to:
Nick Adams, VP of Program Services & Operations
Boys & Girls Clubs of King County (BGCKC) requires that all staff members conduct themselves in a manner that exemplifies the highest standards of ethics and propriety.
For 75 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of King County has worked hard to earn the trust of thousands of children, families, donors and community leaders. The practices in our Code of Ethics for Staff and Code of Ethics for Board Members help ensure that this trust continues.
Recognizing that it is not possible to address all ways in which ethical issues may arise, the principles in our Code of Ethics are intended as a guide in making sound judgments and decisions on behalf of BGCKC and its mission.