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ACA, Southeastern Public Policy
Public Policy Issues
Visit www.acacamps.org/publicpolicy for additional public policy issues around the nation.
Download a copy of ACA's public policy agenda and position statements.
Camp Regulations by state now on the National ACA web site - click here to check it out!
Effective July 1, 2012, Mandatory Reporting Laws in Georgia are Changing!
House Bill 1176 will take effect July 1, 2012 making clergy, volunteers and a list of new fields mandated reporters. This change will have a tremendous impact on all of the faith-based organizations and youth-serving organizations in Georgia.
The most significant change for youth serving organizations is that volunteers are now required to report suspicions of child abuse and neglect. For a volunteer, making a report means that they must report to the designated person in that organization any suspicion, accusation or disclosure of abuse. Organizations should have this clearly stated in their policy and procedure documents.
The Faith community is also impacted in the change that all clergy are now mandated reporters. There are two clear exceptions to this mandate.
1. If a faith leader learns of abuse from an abuser who shares that information with the expectation that it will be held in confidence AND if that is written in the doctrine and practice of the place of worship; in this case, the clergy is not mandated to report.
2. If clergy hears of abuse from a third party they are mandated to report the abuse, even if it relates to abuse that the clergy first learned in a confession or privileged communication by a perpetrator.
Below is a list of resources to help you navigate this bill:
• Additional information regarding the changes that impact the faith community can be found at: www.gachurches.com
• A summary of the section of HB 1176 that addresses mandatory reporting
• The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy
• Contact your local Department of Human Services
State of Georgia Day Camp Requirements (April 2012)
New exemption rules are now in effect that include new requirements for all exempt programs, including Day Camp Programs in the State of Georgia. Go to the Bright from the Start website to see a list of the new exemptions and the state expectations to learn whether or not your day camp program qualifies for the exemption from licensining.
Questions can be directed to:
Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SE, 670 East Tower, Atlanta, Georgia 30334
NEW! Florida Summer Camp Voluntary Listing
The Department of Children and Families is working to provide parents a resource to search for summer camps that comply with the background screening requirements. To that end, the Department has developed an application that will allow summer camps, that screen their employees through the Level 2 Background Screening, to advertise their camps. It is voluntary and to sign up all a camp needs is the OCA number they use to screen their employees. There is no charge to have their camps listed.
Florida Background Screening Requirements
On August 1, 2010 Florida implemented important changes to ensure the safety of Floridians who are so dependent on the quality of the people caring for them. This new law will require background screening of job applicants, employees and volunteers who come in contact with children, the developmentally disabled and vulnerable adults.
Employers as of August 1, 2010 will not be able to employ applicants for these positions of special trust or responsibility until the applicants are cleared by Level 2 background screening, the fingerprint-based search of criminal records in Florida and nationally. The fingerprints must be sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which shares them with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to thoroughly investigate if applicants have a criminal history.
The Florida Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has put up this website to provide assistance and navigation of this new rule: www.dcf.state.fl.us/admin/backgroundscreening/
The following groups are required to have Level 2 background screening:
• Volunteers working 10 hours or more a month.
- Staff and volunteers (mental health personnel as defined in Chapter 394) with direct contact with individuals held for examination or admitted for treatment. Such individuals are subject to the requirements of both Chapter 435 and Chapter 408 screening.
- Employees and volunteers in summer day camps and summer 24-hour summer camps pursuant to Chapter 409.
• School districts will compile a list of eligible substitute teachers available to early learning coalitions in child care facilities as needed.
• Additional crimes were added to the list of disqualifying offenses for Level 2 screening.
• An arrest for a disqualifying offense awaiting final disposition is now grounds for disqualification.
• Applicants must attest, subject to penalty of perjury, that they meet the screening requirements. Further, the applicants must agree, if hired, to notify the employer immediately if the employee is arrested for any disqualifying offense.
• Employers are required, if the employer becomes aware of an arrest of an employee for a disqualifying offense, to remove the employee from any position that requires background screening until the employee's eligibility for such employment is determined. If it is determined that the employee does not meet the requirements for employment, the employee must be terminated.
• An exemption request may be made to the Florida Department of Children and Families, but may not be considered or be granted for offenses that are felonies until at least three years after the end of sanctions, and for misdemeanors until after completion of all sanctions.
• An exemption may never be granted to any individual who has been designated as a sexual predator pursuant to Chapter 775.21, Florida Statutes; a career offender pursuant to Chapter 775.261, Florida Statutes; or, a sexual offender pursuant to Chapter 943.0435, Florida Statutes, unless the requirement to register as a sexual offender has been removed pursuant to Chapter 943.04354, Florida Statutes.