WASHINGTON (NEWS10) – U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is pushing for legislation to close a hole in federal law that prevents summer camps and non-for-profit organizations that work with children from gaining access to federal sex offender background checks on new employees and volunteers.
Right now camps and organizations only have access to New York State’s criminal database.
Schumer says that the FBI databases are the most accurate and complete and camps and organizations should have access to these records during the hiring process.
“Right now, there is a serious gap in federal law that is making it harder for summer camps, day cares and other child-serving organizations to fully screen their paid and volunteer applicants. These groups, tasked with ensuring the safety of children day in and day out, should never have any difficulty when it comes to accessing the FBI background checks they need to ensure dangerous predators are allowed nowhere near our kids,” said Schumer.
Specifically, the Child Protection Improvements and Electronic Life and Safety Security Systems Act of 2015 would do the following:
- Facilitate widespread access to nationwide background searches, by requiring the Attorney General to designate a team to process state and federal background checks on prospective employees and volunteers for youth-serving organizations and for employees in the electronic life safety and security systems industry.
- Provide participating organizations with reliable and accurate information as to whether an individual’s criminal record bears upon his fitness to work or volunteer with children. After a check is run, an employer will be notified if an applicant has a conviction or open arrest for any offenses like crimes of violence, crimes against children, and sex offenses, among others. The employer can then make the determination of whether to go ahead with the hiring.
According to the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Service, there were 16,758 registered sex-offenders in Upstate New York as of June 2016. Regional data of listed sex-offenders:
- In the Capital Region, there were 2,548 registered sex offenders as of June 2016.
- In Central New York, there were 3,090 registered sex offenders as of June 2016.
- In Western New York, there were 2,490 registered sex offenders as of June 2016.
- In the Rochester-Finger Lakes, there were 2,743 registered sex offenders as of June 2016.
- In the Southern Tier, there were 2,195 registered sex offenders as of June 2016.
- In the Hudson Valley, there were 1,965 registered sex offenders as of June 2016.
- In the North Country, there were 1,727 registered sex offenders as of June 2016.