ACA Press Statement - Criminal Background Checks

MARTINSVILLE, IN (July 7, 2008) — The American Camp Association® (ACA) was recently quoted in a Wall Street Journal article that called attention to screening practices at summer camps. ACA supports the Wall Street Journal’s effort to address this important issue. We urge continued movement toward our position on a critical matter: the need for government to change its policies regarding Criminal Background Checks for employees and volunteers of youth serving organizations.

Currently, camps and other youth organizations have virtually no access to the FBI’s criminal database, the only truly national biometric-based criminal background check available. Organizations in 37 states are not able to access this vital resource…and those that do often have to wait too long for results. 

ACA, in concert with other national organizations, has consistently promoted the need for a comprehensive federal biometric-based criminal background checking system that is reasonable in cost, timely in response, uniform in availability to camps across the country regardless of sponsorship, and consistent in the information provided. The WSJ article continues to move forward the dialogue about these issues.

The American Camp Association works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-Accredited® camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 300 health and safety standards.

For more information about staff and volunteer screening in the camp environment, visit or contact ACA at