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Friday, June 23, 2017

Checking out caregivers

McEntee bill on background checks passes House

Image result for child abuseRep. Carol Hagan McEntee’s (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) legislation (2017-H 5733A) that would require all court-appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteers to pass a Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) clearance, as well as a national criminal background check before qualifying for appointment by the court passed the House of Representatives.

“Abused and neglected children before the family court have already suffered so much, so we must ensure that the people the court assigns to protect these children are morally upstanding and have the child’s best intentions at heart.  This legislation adds a further layer of protection for abused children who have already experienced so much hardship within their short lives,” said Representative McEntee.

The criminal record check shall be conducted at no charge to the prospective CASA volunteer.  

If the background check is cleared, the family court will maintain a record that the background check was cleared, but, DCYF must promptly destroy the fingerprint record of the CASA volunteer.  

Once cleared by DCYF, the CASA applicant must participate in a program of training offered by the CASA office.

Cosponsors of the legislation are House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick), Rep. Jason Knight (D-Dist. 67, Barrington, Warren), Rep. Daniel P. McKiernan (D-Dist. 7, Providence), and Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown).

The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.