Child Protection Bill Reintroduced in Congress

December 8, 2015

Indianapolis, IN (December 8, 2015) —The bipartisan Child Protection Improvements Act has been reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-29) and Mike Bishop (MI-8); and in the Senate by Senator Charles Schumer (NY) and Senator Orrin Hatch (UT). The bill (S.2332 & H.R. 4073) closes a loophole in the federal law that prevents youth-serving organizations, such as camps, from gaining access to federal criminal background checks on employees and volunteers. The bill is enthusiastically supported by the American Camp Association® (ACA).

The bill allows youth-serving organizations access to timely, inexpensive, fingerprint-based checks of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s criminal records database, a system which was tested through an extensive pilot program authorized by the PROTECT Act of 2004. Of the nearly 90,000 background checks conducted under the pilot program, 6.1% returned records that deemed applicants unfit to work with children. In addition, 40% of these applicants were found to have been convicted in a state other than where the application was made, meaning that only a national search would have fully identified the criminal record. A significant number of these individuals showed a different name on their record than the one they used to apply.

“Giving camps and other youth-serving organizations across the country access to comprehensive and affordable fingerprint-based background checks through the FBI’s criminal records database is imperative to ensuring the safety and security of the more than 10 million children who attend camp each year,” said ACA CEO Tom Holland.

ACA thanks Senators Schumer and Hatch and Representatives Schiff and Bishop for their dedicated work on this important issue. ACA is calling the youth-development community to action to advocate for swift passage of the bill. 

ACA helped pilot the background check program that led to the reintroduction of the current bill.   Supporting the bill are 28 other youth-serving organizations, including the Afterschool Alliance, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, and YMCA of the USA.

About ACA
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.