Safer Children: DoD Strengthens Background Checks for Child Care Providers
Officials from the Department of Defense (DoD) are making criminal background checks tougher for those who interact with children. The Military Times reports that the proposed regulation “specifies that criminal history background checks must be initiated and overseen by people who are trained and vetted experts — responsible for personnel security or for human resource functions. Program managers, supervisors and others who don't routinely perform those duties would be prohibited from managing these background checks.
The prospective employee or volunteer could be automatically disqualified because of a civilian or military conviction for a sexual offense, any criminal offense involving a child victim, or a felony drug offense. The new proposal adds civil court and administrative proceedings: If the person has been held negligent in a civil adjudication or administrative proceeding concerning the death or serious injury to a child or dependent person entrusted to that person's care, he or she would be disqualified.” Additionally, follow up will be required in order to ensure background checks are done, as well as to handle any delayed cases.
While criminal background checks have been required of those interacting with children in DoD programs, the last time the policy was updated was in 1993. With the proposed changes, the background policy will be expanded to include chaplains, chaplains assistants and religious program specialists.
The required background checks indicated that the DoD took protecting children seriously. But the fact remains that over 20 years have elapsed since the last time the policy was updated. It is far better to regularly review policies that are in place and make the appropriate changes as necessary. Nobody wants something tragic to happen as a result of outdated policies.