Indianapolis, IN (July 22, 2010) — Today, the House of Representatives passed a historical, bipartisan bill aimed at protecting our nation’s children. Passed with overwhelming support (412 – 4), HR 1469 , The Child Protection Improvements Act, expands and makes permanent a background check pilot program created in the PROTECT Act of 2004. The bill will allow youth-serving organizations access to timely, inexpensive fingerprint-based checks of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s criminal records database. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) sponsored the bill in the House. The bill gained bipartisan support, and Tuesday evening when the bill was debated, Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA) and Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) joined Mr. Schiff in speaking in support of the bill. The companion bill in the Senate, S 1598 , is sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and also has gained bipartisan support.
As participants in the pilot program, the American Camp Association® (ACA) congratulates the House on the passage of HR 1469
as it moves this country one step closer to a law that will allow camps, children’s groups, and other nonprofit organizations to gain access to FBI criminal background checks.
Under the pilot program, of the nearly 90,000 checks conducted, 6.1 percent returned with records that deemed applicants unfit to work with children. Forty percent of these were convicted in another state, meaning only a national search would have caught the criminal record. A significant number of these individuals showed a different name on their record than the one they used to apply.
“As a constant advocate for child safety, ACA applauds the House in passing legislation that provides access to vital information that can help keep our children safe,” said Peg Smith, ACA’s chief executive officer. “By allowing access to the FBI database, youth-serving organizations will be able to get timely, accurate, and affordable background checks on staff and volunteers.”
The safety of our nation’s children is paramount. ACA thanks Rep. Schiff and Sen. Schumer for their dedicated work on this important issue. ACA is encouraged by the passage of HR 1469
, and is looking forward to the imminent passage of S 1598
ACA partnered with other youth-serving organizations to bring this issue to Congress, including the Afterschool Alliance, America’s Promise Alliance, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Camp Fire USA, Communities in Schools, Inc., First Focus, GLSEN — the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, National Collaboration for Youth, and YMCA of the USA.
The American Camp Association® (ACA) 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, visit www.ACAcamps.org .