Governor Kathy Hochul signed important child protection legislation for families sending their kids to select camps. Legislation S.6063/A.4117 directs the New York State Department of Health to require operators of children’s non-regulated camps to search the national sex offender database before hiring an employee or volunteer.
“Keeping our children safe is a top priority for me as Governor of New York,” Governor Hochul said. “I’m proud to sign this legislation into law to ensure that every child who attends camps throughout New York State is protected from predators. With this new law, we will help bring camp operators and families greater peace of mind that our kids are in safe hands.”
Legislation S.6063/A.4117 amends current New York law to require single-purpose day camps and camps regulated by DOH to conduct a national sex offender registry search through the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) public database. DOJ’s National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW), created in 2005, is the only federal site that links state sex offender registries into one, national search site. Users may search for an individual(s) through known: 1). Name(s); 2). Address; 3). Zip Code; 4). County; or 5). City or Town.
New York State’s registry details (among other data) the determined ‘risk level’ of all individuals listed, determined beforehand by a judge. The type of information available through the site is dependent on where the individual falls between Levels 1, 2, and 3. Public State law requires the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services to include individuals determined to have a Level 2 or 3 risk of re-offense. More on the New York State Department of Health’s requirements for youth camps can be found here.
New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “When parents send their children to summer camp they deserve the comfort of knowing that their kids are safe and having an enjoyable experience. I thank Governor Hochul for signing legislation that protects children and eases the worries of parents when they are away.”
State Senator Pete Harckham said, “This legislation requires all children’s camps statewide to access the national sex offender registry for background checks—an important resource in ensuring the safety of our children and protecting them outside their homes. I thank Governor Hochul for signing the bill into law.”
Assemblymember Amy Paulin said, “When parents send their children to summer camp, they want their children to have a fun and healthy experience, but foremost they should have peace-of-mind that their children are in a safe environment. With this legislation, all camps must check their employees’ and volunteers’ backgrounds on both the state and national sex offender registries. I thank Governor Hochul for taking this step to enact common-sense laws such as this, protecting children at summer camps throughout New York State.”