Safety from the Start
At Big Brothers Big Sisters, our first priority is safety.
NATIONALLY REQUIRED STANDARDS OF EXCELLENCE
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) affiliated agencies are separate 501©3 organizations that have the primary responsibility for risk management and youth protection in their organizations. This includes the establishment of local policies and procedures that best protect youth, effective screening and selection of staff and volunteers, and professional monitoring of match relationships.
For decades, BBBSA has worked with local agencies and national violence prevention experts to implement nation-wide standards based on industry best practices of high quality in service delivery. On a constant basis, we work with agencies and outside experts to carefully examine our standards and service delivery model as emerging best practices in child safety evolve.
TRAINING IN CHILD PROTECTION
Everyone associated with a Big Brothers Big Sisters program, including professional staff, parents/guardians, volunteers, children, and board members, are required to be trained in recognizing and responding to suspected child abuse.
PARENTS AS PARTNERS
When it comes to the future of our youth and the well-being of our communities, we are all in this together. So it should come as no surprise that we need the parents and guardians of Littles to be involved every step of the way. Parents approve the selection of their youth’s Big and remain in close contact with professional staff to look out for their youth’s best interests and to help achieve the best possible outcomes for their youth. Parents/Guardians approve all activities and outings between Bigs and Littles and communicate regularly with their youth and their Big to help ensure healthy and safe relationship development.
SCREENING & SELECTION OF BIGS
Making the best possible match between a Little and a Big is critical to the growth and development of a child. But before we begin the matching process, agency professional staff start by thoroughly screening potential Bigs.
Big Brothers Big Sisters' National Standards of Excellence require each volunteer to complete an extensive screening process that includes:
- Completion of a formal written application
- Background and reference checks
- An in-person interview or virtual interview
- An orientation and training process that outlines the individualized needs of the youth and provides information and resources on how to encourage each youth's development
PROFESSIONAL MATCH SUPPORT
Our highly qualified, specially trained match support professionals are responsible for helping to ensure that relationships between Littles and Bigs are developing in a healthy, safe way for everyone involved. They’re also responsible for helping guide mentoring relationships that will be enduring and enriching and result in positive outcomes for youth, unique to Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Our ongoing match support process is extensive and includes:
- Required match supervision by trained staff, including ongoing communication with match participants for the life of a match
- Professional monitoring of adherence to safety-related policies and procedures focused on maintaining appropriate boundaries and healthy relationship development
- Nationwide technology that tracks and monitors match activities and Littles’ progress in areas such as academics, avoidance of risky behaviors, socio-emotional development, and aspirations