This critical new bill to protect children in Colorado has just been rejected

Colorado Youth ImageThe first state bill to require youth sports organization employees and volunteers to undergo background checks has failed. Colorado’s Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3-2 to kill the bill after it was determined that the proposed checks would not do enough to prevent sexual abuse in youth sports. Extracurricular sports clubs — that is, those that are not affiliated with the schools and therefore are not funded by state government — are not required by law in any state to have measures in place regarding background checks for the coaches, volunteers or other employees, even though those adults often accompany children on out-of-town and even overnight trips as the teams compete against other regional teams. (Some private clubs do conduct these checks on their own, but it is unclear how many of them have screening policies in place.) Colorado’s bill was intended to prevent sex offenders from working or volunteering with students both during practice and regarding overnight trips. However, one senator described the bill as having “too many gaps” that would allow sexual predators to work with young athletes. Checks would have been required for any employees or volunteers for overnight trips, but those who volunteered to work with children fewer than five times per month and did not participate in overnight trips would not be required to undergo background checks. The senator that sponsored the bill, Sen. Rollie Heath, said that despite the gaps in the bill, “Doing nothing was not an option.”]]>

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