News & Resources

Summer camps not screening counselors regularly

Jul 21, 2011 Matt Roesly

Summer camps not screening counselors regularly
A routine background check can prevent predators from being employed at businesses where workers are regularly in contact with children. However, less than half of America's summer camps require background screenings for the approximately 1.2 million counselors they employ, according to the American Camp Association.
 While all summer camps have a licensing requirement, Christine Cunneen, CEO of Rhode Island- and Florida-based background screening company, believes more should be done. "Background checks are a simple and inexpensive way to protect not only the children but also the co-workers at camps and other organizations," said Cunneen. "It really should be part of the due diligence process but it isn't always." The Salin-Milan Patch reports that counselors at Kids Camp in Salin-Milan, Michigan, undergo background checks and must complete a 30-hour training program before being hired. Youth organizations such as Boy Scouts of America and Little League Baseball also universally perform background checks on staff and volunteers. However, Cunneen believes the process needs to be stepped up. She notes that a FBI fingerprint screening or a local police criminal check is not enough. She recommends an address and Social Security number trace as well, as these could reveal the presence of criminal history in another location, as well as aliases an offender might have gone by.