TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Nicholas J. Sacco which would permit community centers, schools and other child-serving facilities to require background checks for unpaid volunteers was unanimously approved today by the full Senate.
“We owe it to our children to make sure that the adults that come into their schools, recreation centers, etc. are qualified by law to be there,” said Senator Sacco, D-Hudson and Bergen, who is also the Assistant Superintendent of Schools for the North Bergen school district. “Everyday when I turn on the news I hear about another child whose innocence was lost at the hands of a child molester. By interviewing volunteers we would be sending a clear message to parents, students and would-be child molesters that we are determined to fight to protect our kids.”
Senator Sacco’s bill, S-60, would amend current law to allow facilities, centers or schools that educate children under the age of 18 to require unpaid volunteers to submit to a background check. The facility, center or school would be responsible for reimbursing volunteers for the cost of the background check.
The legislation would also permit facilities, centers or schools to cover the cost of background checks for persons seeking a paid position.
The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on February 8. It now heads to the Governor’s desk where his signature would make it State law.