Delaware Governor signs the “Joseph R. ‘Beau’ Biden III Child Protection Act”

     Joined by primary bill sponsor State Senator Karen Peterson, additional bill sponsors State Representatives Stephanie Bolden and Debra Heffernan, bill co-sponsors State Senator Ernie Lopez and State Representative Helene Keeley, Department of Services for Children, Youth & Their Families Secretary Jennifer Ranji, Ashley and Hallie Biden, Family Division Deputy Attorney General Director Patricia Dailey Lewis, representatives and advocates from the legal and education fields, as well as members of the community, the Governor signed Senate Bill 144.(Photo courtesy of Gov. Markell Flickr page)

    Joined by primary bill sponsor State Senator Karen Peterson, additional bill sponsors State Representatives Stephanie Bolden and Debra Heffernan, bill co-sponsors State Senator Ernie Lopez and State Representative Helene Keeley, Department of Services for Children, Youth & Their Families Secretary Jennifer Ranji, Ashley and Hallie Biden, Family Division Deputy Attorney General Director Patricia Dailey Lewis, representatives and advocates from the legal and education fields, as well as members of the community, the Governor signed Senate Bill 144.(Photo courtesy of Gov. Markell Flickr page)

    Gov. Jack Markell signed Senate Bill 144, expanding background check requirements for childcare facilities.

    While background screenings are required for public school teachers and full-time childcare professionals; this new legislation requires mandatory background checks for part-time child care providers who may work in summer and volunteer programs.

    Ashley Biden, Beau Biden’s sister, attended today’s signing ceremony and shared her thoughts about the bill that carries the Biden name, “It is an honor. For Beau, nothing was more important than protecting children – it is why he dedicated his life to public service and ran for attorney general. The work continues and his passion and dedication for keeping kids safe lives on.”

    In January 2014, Gov. Markell established the Delaware Background and Child Protection Registry Checks Task Force. The group, made up of education officials, law enforcement, and state politicians, was enlisted to assess state rules and requirements that were sometimes inconsistent.

    The Task Force performed an in-depth review of the state’s background checks system to ensure it was most effectively protecting children in schools and other settings.

    Sen. Karen Peterson, D-Stanton, the primary sponsor of the bill and participant of the Task Force, said that the group covered every entity who might provide services for children. Many smaller, private organizations or seasonal camps were concerned that they may not be able to afford the cost of background checks.

    “We heard from those groups who may be running programs on a shoe-string and understood their concerns. So as a part of the bill, private schools and camps are required to notify parents if they will not be performing background checks on part-time employees or volunteers.”

    This is just one example of a recommendation the Task Force made which was adopted into Bill 144.

    “This legislation is the result of collaboration and team work. I’m grateful to the legislators and Task Force members who played a role in helping us honor Beau’s memory and his tireless dedication to Delaware’s children,” said Markell.

    The governor further commented on the naming of the new legislation by saying, “Protecting our children was paramount to Beau – and SB 144, the Joseph R. ‘Beau’ Biden III Child Protection Act, is another important step in ensuring our children are safe.”

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