trustworthy? Parents need to be sure that the people they are entrusting their children with are responsible and honest, and background checks are the best way to do this. Depending on the state you are in, background checks may be a prerequisite for any individual applying to work on summer camps. One way to be absolutely sure is to request this information from the camp organizers. Even if a background is not a requirement for work, you could always perform the background check yourself. Pensacola, FL is one place that is taking this issue very seriously this year. The safety of the children attending summer camps is of the highest priority – not only are they protecting children and subduing parental concerns, but also they are setting an example for the rest of the nation. A state law, which went into effect in August 2010, prevents anyone from working at a summer camp until they clear a background screening. “Families and parents have a right to know camp staffers are worthy of their trust,” David Wilkins, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, said. Johnathan Lewis of Milton, a father of three young children, agreed. “As a parent, you pray that when you leave your kids in somebody’s care that they are going to do right by them,” he said. Under the new law, the screen will include a fingerprint-based search of criminal records in Florida and the nation and an employment history check. Providers will ask applicants to submit fingerprints using electronic LiveScan through private vendors. Disqualifications include: -Anyone charged with and awaiting final disposition of a prohibited offense, regardless of adjudication. – Anyone who has entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to a prohibited offense. Prohibited offenses — detailed in Florida Statutes 435 — include murder, burglary, arson and sexual misconduct. While the law means extra costs for the camp, they understand that there is no price too high to protect children’s safety, and therefore they will ensure that such costs are covered. The cost of the screenings may be difficult for some camps but is worth it, “the number one concern should be a safe environment and that includes screening and training”, they state. It is great this city is putting the right priorities first, and we should hope others follow in their footsteps before the summer camp season begins.]]>
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