Over the past several months, the American Camp Association (ACA) has been receiving questions focused around several “hot topics.” These topics include: the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, child abuse mandated reporter issues, criminal background checks, and inquiries about the camp-related laws and regulations in particular states. While the ACA Web site (www.ACAcamps.org) provides a significant number of resources on all of these topics, we have chosen to highlight just a few of the most popular ones in this issue of CampLine.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) — New Revisions
These regulations can be quite detailed and complex. (Visit www.ACAcamps.org/publicpolicy/ada-revisions for more information.) Therefore, ACA recommends that you call the ADA’s information line, 800-514-0301 (voice, hit #7 to bypass the automated prompt) and consult directly with experts regarding your unique situation. Another great organization to consider contacting for help and guidance is the ADA National Network (http://adata.org/Static/Home.html).
Child Abuse Mandated Reporter Information
While ACA’s Camp Crisis Hotline (www.ACAcamps.org/camp-crisis-hotline) regularly fields questions about this issue when camps are in session, the off-season is a terrific time to better familiarize yourself with these resources:
- Reporting Numbers by State: www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/reslist/rl_dsp.cfm?rs_id=5&rate_chno=11-11172
- Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect: Summary of State Laws:www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/manda.cfm
- Additional Resources: www.ACAcamps.org/camp-crisis-hotline
Criminal Background Checks
As ACA continues to pursue policy changes that would allow all youth-serving organizations timely, inexpensive, and complete access to the best criminal background checks (CBCs) available, the ACA standards require all camps to complete a criminal background check on all new staff (employees and volunteers). Here are two excellent ACA resources on CBCs:
- Background Information and Guidance for Camps:www.ACAcamps.org/sites/default/files/images/publicpolicy/documents/CBC_Education_7_2011.pdf
- Criminal Background Check Thresholds: www.ACAcamps.org/publicpolicy/cbcthresholds
Database of Camp-Related Laws and Regulations
States vary significantly in their oversight of camp operations. In many states, camps fall under the jurisdiction of the state health department; in others, social or human services departments provide licensing or permit rules. To verify how the state in which your camp is located regulates camps (as well as information about criminal background check requirements, DMV records, and minimum wage requirements), check out ACA’s State Laws and Regulations Web site:www.ACAcamps.org/publicpolicy/regulations.