Florida increasing focus on summer camp background checks

pushing a proposal to require summer camps and child care providers to register in an online database. They could only access the database after completing a background check and then obtaining a special code to access the database. The database would be public and allow parents to scan it for a summer camp they are considering sending their children to. Currently, many providers across the state already comply with a state law that requires anyone that works for or volunteers at a summer camp to have a background check. The problem is that there is no check to make sure the providers are actually following the law. This push for change follows an investigation by local media revealing that child molesters and other felons had successfully owned or worked at summer camps. “Summer camps, since 2010, have been required to do background screening anyway. That’s not going to change, we just need to get them doing it,” said Deborah Russo with the DCF. Though nothing is required by law yet, more than 1,000 providers have already completed their background checks to access the database. Bentley Child Development Center in Riviera Beach is among those that have already entered their information on the website. Employee LaJuanda Williams has worked for the center for more than 25 years. She says she gets a background check every year, along with every employee and volunteer at the center. “If you’re going to be exposing these children, you really want to have [employees] cleared,” said Williams. As the summer camp season nears, summer camp background checks will once again become a priority on the agenda of parents and summer camp employers across the county. Get in touch for more information on employee screening in your community.  ]]>

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