Summer is starting to wind down, but the kiddos are still busy at summer camp. While we’d like to think these camps are creating a safe environment for our children, there are currently 18 states that do not require background checks for summer camp employees (Source: CBS News ). Interestingly, there are over 14 million summer camp attendees per year, yet there are no standardized regulations for overnight camp licensure or employee screening processes (Source: NY Post). Because of these inconsistencies, parents must not be afraid to ask questions before enrolling their children. See below for a list of questions to ask camp directors in order to help ensure child safety is of utmost priority:
- Are criminal background checks, including sex offender registry, performed on ALL personnel? (The answer should be YES)
- How many personal and/or professional references does the camp require, and how are they checked?
- Do employees receive specific training related to child sexual abuse?
- Under what circumstances are campers allowed to be alone with staff? (The answer should be NONE)
- Who is responsible for enforcing all camp rules and regulations? And how accessible is this person should a problem arise?
- If an overnight camp, how many staff per cabin? (Two or more is ideal!)
- How and to whom do campers report that they feel emotionally or physically unsafe?
Ask these questions to help screen potential summer camps in order to find the best fit for your child. This peace of mind will lead to a safe, fun and memorable Summer 2019.