New York Strengthens Background Checks for Child Advocacy Centers

Child advocacy
December 6, 2022

New York’s governor has signed a new measure into law, strengthening background checks for workers in child advocacy centers. This law allows these centers to conduct background checks using the state’s child abuse and maltreatment registry on all current and prospective employees.

Only certain authorized agencies under the state’s social services law, such as county-run child advocacy centers, could access the state’s databases for performing background checks. This measure intends to permit privately run child advocacy centers to access these databases. Accessing this vital resource will enhance their background checks on employees. This change will improve the safety of the vulnerable populations to whom they provide services.

The measure passed through the New York State Assembly as Bill 9665. According to its sponsor, Assembly woman Carrie Woerner, “Child advocacy centers are critical resources for young victims of sexual and physical abuse. Children are the most vulnerable among us, and the bill I sponsored and helped pass into law will ensure that private and not-for-profit CACs can conduct thorough background checks on prospective and current employees to better protect them.”

Under the legislation, the definition of a provider or provider agency has expanded. It now includes non-profit private child advocacy centers that meet the standards for access to the statewide central register of child abuse and maltreatment. In addition, these non-profit private child advocacy centers must comply with the standards for cases involving serious physical abuse and sexual abuse of child victims set by the state’s Office of Children and Family Services.

This legislation will update the state’s social services law Section 1. Subdivision 3 of section 424-a. It will insert the following amendment to the provider definition: “a private, non-profit incorporated agency that meets the state office of children and family services program standards for child advocacy centers.”

This update is a significant development for these centers. So often, these centers rely on contractual and volunteer workers to acquire medical personnel to provide professional mental health assistance, pediatric forensic services, and victim advocacy. The diverse network of workers these centers must rely on makes it even more crucial to perform detailed background checks to ensure the safety of the vulnerable populations they serve.

For all employers, it is crucial to perform thorough background checks. Employers dealing with vulnerable populations, such as children and the elderly, must prove especially thorough with their assessments. Working with a trusted background check provider can help ensure the safety of clients, employees, and property.

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