March 22, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee today approved three bills to protect children from abuse and sexual exploitation. These bills ensure youth-serving organizations have access to background checks for prospective staff and volunteers, investigators have efficient access to critical evidence needed to stop child predators, and reauthorize and improve critical programs to track sex offenders.
The Committee approved the Child Protection Improvements Act of 2017 (H.R. 695), introduced by Representatives Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Mike Bishop (R-Mich.), by voice vote. This bill ensures that youth-serving organizations have access to national background checks on prospective staff and volunteers through the FBI’s database. Currently, many youth-serving organizations only have access to state-level background check systems. ACA was a lead partner on pushing this Act forward.
“As a father of three, I know there is nothing more important than our children’s safety,” said Representative Bishop. “When they participate in camps and afterschool activities, parents deserve to have full peace of mind that their kids are in good hands." Shockingly enough, youth-serving organizations in many states currently cannot get FBI background checks for prospective staff and volunteers.
“The bipartisan Child Protection Improvements Act addresses gaps in the system to change that,” added Representative Bishop. “The FBI database is the most efficient way to crosscheck potential hires across state lines, and improving access to this gold-standard resource will significantly improve our children’s safety away from home."