Delaware executive order encourages stronger protection laws for children

To further protect children across Delaware, Gov. Jack Markell has appointed a special task force to review state laws and regulations to ensure background checks are done as well as enforced on any person who works with children.

The appointed group will be known as the Delaware Criminal Background and Child Protection Registry Checks Task Force. Representatives will include education officials, law enforcement, state politicians and others who can help this effort.

“We are committed to ensuring that the appropriate policies and procedures are in place so that our kids are safe from those who would do them harm,” said Markell who issued an executive order on Monday to see plans through.

Executive Order 42 encourages people on the task force such as Jennifer Ranji, Secretary of the Department of Services for Children Youth and Their Families, to create a list of recommendations designed to strengthen Delaware’s background checks system in a variety of settings. According to notes within the order, the state currently has rules that are “sometimes inconsistent with respect to requiring background checks for employees, volunteers, and other individuals who come into contact with children and youth.”

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“We can do more to clarify and create consistency in background check requirements, and we should not wait for a horrible incident or tragedy to occur to look at these issues. Instead, we want to take a proactive approach to ensure the safety of Delaware’s children,” said Markell.

The task force has to the end of the year to submit its recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly. During the process, members are expected to examine whether criminal background and child protection checks should be required for employees and volunteers at private and non-state operated schools, or temporary school employees and camp volunteers. It’ll also be discussed if a consolidated background check system, to include criminal, child protection, sex offender and adult abuse registry is necessary.

“We hope this process will help parents become more aware of background check policies for situations in which children are left in the care of another adult. We must ensure our citizens are fully engaged in our ongoing battle against child abuse and neglect,” said Ranji.

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