ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS NOT USED, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN THE SUMMARIES OF JUDICIAL AND QUASI-JUDICIAL DECISIONS PREPARED BY NYPPL PERSONNEL

January 26, 2013

State Comptroller Thomas P. Dinapoli recommends that municipalities conduct background checks of employees providing youth program services


State Comptroller Thomas P. Dinapoli recommends that municipalities conduct background checks of employees providing youth program services
Source: Office of the State Comptroller

Local governments could do more to conduct background checks on individuals working in municipal youth program services, according to an audit released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“Failing to perform background checks potentially jeopardizes the safety of children,” said DiNapoli. “It is essential that local officials take action to ensure they are consistently screening all persons who provide youth program services in their communities. Parents need to trust that all of the necessary steps have been taken to keep their children out of harm’s way.”

From January 2010 through May 2012, auditors examined youth program activities in the cities of Binghamton, Middletown, New Rochelle and Utica; as well as the towns of Amherst, Clifton Park, Manlius and Seneca Falls. These municipalities offer activities to more than 409,000 residents.

The Comptroller’s audit found seven of the eight municipalities did not conduct background checks on all of the individuals who deliver their youth program services. Only one, the town of Clifton Park [in Saratoga County], annually screened all program personnel against the state’s sex offender registry and other resources.

Two municipalities, the town of Manlius and the city of New Rochelle, did not screen applicants at all, except for those personnel providing programs where state law mandates screening. The remaining five municipalities performed some screening, but did not do it consistently or did not document the date and results of the screening process.

Of the 1,994 individuals working in youth program services in these municipalities, the Comptroller’s audit did not identify any persons with sex offender or significant criminal histories.

The Comptroller’s audit findings also include:

·        Four of the five municipalities that used volunteers did not check volunteers’ criminal history;

·        Five municipalities that hired contracted workers to offer program services did not screen these workers for sexual offenses prior to delivering services; and

·        Six municipalities performed some variety of background checks for new employees.

Municipal youth programs can include pre-school or afterschool activities, arts and crafts, exercise and fitness, summer camps, seasonal or holiday special events, sports, employment and literacy programs, safety programs, swim programs and therapeutic programs. Background checks are currently required by state law or regulation only for individuals who have contact with children in camps, childcare programs and therapeutic programs.

DiNapoli recommended municipalities conduct background checks for all employees, volunteers and contractors involved in youth programs. Minimally, local officials should utilize the sex offender registry maintained by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. They can also perform various types of criminal history background checks and develop their own procedures to limit liability and ensure the safety of participating children.

Local officials generally agreed with the audit findings and the Comptroller’s recommendations. Their responses are included in the final audit report.

For a copy of the report visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/swr/2013/backgroundchecks/global.pdf

CAUTION

Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.
THE MATERIAL ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. AGAIN, CHANGES IN LAWS, RULES, REGULATIONS AND NEW COURT AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS MAY AFFECT THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS LAWBLOG. THE MATERIAL PRESENTED IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND THE USE OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE, OR CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING SUCH MATERIAL, DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
New York Public Personnel Law Blog Editor Harvey Randall served as Principal Attorney, New York State Department of Civil Service; Director of Personnel, SUNY Central Administration; Director of Research, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations; and Staff Judge Advocate General, New York Guard. Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material posted to this blog is presented with the understanding that neither the publisher nor NYPPL and, or, its staff and contributors are providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is urged to seek such advice from a knowledgeable professional.
New York Public Personnel Law. Email: publications@nycap.rr.com