Following years of delays, Sen. Ossoff urges Department of Justice to swiftly implement nationwide background check system for screening potential child caretaker applicants
In a national pilot program of 100,000 potential child caretakers, 6.2% of background checks flagged a criminal history; however, 40% of applicants had criminal histories in other states
Washington, D.C. –– U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is working to strengthen background checks for individuals working with young children.
In 2018, Congress passed the bipartisan Child Protection Improvements Act (CPIA), which established a program at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide access to national criminal background checks for people seeking to work or volunteer with afterschool, mentoring, summer camp, and other programs.
However, five years later, the DOJ has failed to issue guidelines on how the program would work, as the bipartisan law requires.
Today, Sen. Ossoff urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to implement those guidelines for a national background screening process, ensuring families are protected and employers can hire the highest quality candidates.
“This delay jeopardizes child safety, leaving potential gaps in background screening processes and potentially allowing individuals with a history of abuse or exploitation to slip through undetected,” Sen. Ossoff wrote to the Attorney General. “I respectfully request a prompt response to this letter detailing the progress the DOJ has made in issuing the proposed rule and a timeline for its completion.”
In a national pilot program that conducted over 100,000 background checks for potential child caretakers, 6.2% of background checks flagged concerning criminal history. In addition, over 40% of the flagged applicants had been convicted of a crime in a different state — meaning that only a national system of background checks would have identified their criminal records. CPIA made that pilot program permanent and expanded the program to include not only volunteers, but also staff in youth-serving programs.
This is the latest action Sen. Ossoff has taken to protect young children in Georgia and nationwide.
Last month, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee passed Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan bill with Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to protect children from online sexual abuse and exploitation.
Earlier this year, Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan bill with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to strengthen Federal protections against the sexual abuse of children, including online exploitation, passed the U.S. Senate.
Click here to read Sen. Ossoff’s inquiry to Attorney General Garland.