ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN)– A new law signed by Governor Hochul will now require children’s non-regulated camps to find out whether an employee or volunteer is listed on national and state sex offender registries.
“Shockingly, these camps which serve thousands, or tens of thousands of New York kids every year have never had to do that,” said Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick. “And we don’t imagine in this day in age that somebody could be in close contact with children for hours on end and not have gone through that kind of a background check. We are closing that loophole and keeping kids safe.”
Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, one of the bill’s sponsors, explained the difference between a non-regulated camp and one that is.
“So, this could be a band camp. It can be a soccer clinic. It could be a lacrosse clinic, or a baseball camp. Anything where kids are coming for a particular event or a particular purpose, rather than your all around day camp where you have arts and crafts and sports and swimming and all of that. Those camps already have to check their employees to make sure they are not on the sex offender registry. But these other camps, parents don’t know the difference. They assume that any camp has this sex offender check and in fact, many of the camps that are out there do not and have not and this bill will fix that.”
Jamie Sirkin, President of the New York State Camp Directors Association said in part, “ We applaud Governor Hochul for signing this critical piece of legislation into law, helping to further ensure that children in summer camps will be in a safe environment.”
This legislation, which was also sponsored by Assemblymember Amy Paulin, will go into effect this December