The Delaware Governor recently signed an executive order, mandating a review of the Delaware laws and regulations that determine when a background check is necessary for individuals who work with children. This is a positive step to ensure proper vetting of individuals who come in contact with children and youth.
Currently, many organizations mandate a background check for people that work with children. For many years, volunteers who assisted at camps, schools or churches were not background checked. Several non-profit and private organizations and schools now mandate that all volunteers be screened to ensure the maximum safety for the children and youth involved in the programs.
Executive Order 42 not only covers a review of employees but also volunteers, whether regular or sporadic in their volunteer hours. The Governor noted that the states rules are somewhat inconsistent with regards to background checks for employees and volunteers that work with young people. The goal behind this review is to be proactive in making sure the children and youth of this state are cared for properly and are safe in any environment where adults work with them.
The task force that will be reviewing issues such as who must receive a background check if they are going to be working with children, which specific things should be mandated as a part of a background check, and of course, the expense of a background check and how to handle this expense. The review will cover private as well as non-state operated schools, camps, as well as the feasibility of creating a consolidated background check system.
When considering the use of a background check in the above situations, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. The State of Delaware is recognizing this as a need to protect their young people across the board. Reviewing someone’s criminal history, including sex offender records, is necessary to make sure those individuals working with children and youth in any capacity are safe to do so.