Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was pleased to have voted today, Wednesday, for legislation that re-authorizes certain volunteer organizations to obtain national and state criminal history background checks on their volunteers.
The "Criminal History Background Checks Pilot Extension Act of 2010" amends the PROTECT Act to extend the Child Safety Pilot Program that allows participating organizations to request background checks on applicants for positions as volunteers or employees who deal directly with children or supervise them. Without this extension, this important program would expire in February 2011.
Said Ros-Lehtinen, "This is a good bill that deserved to be re-authorized because logic demands that anyone working as a volunteer or supervising our children should be vetted for any criminal or predatory background. Too many unscrupulous individuals take advantage of the open door policies of many of our volunteer organizations to prey on our children and sometimes they are only stopped when it's too late and a crime has been committed.
In my Congressional District, a young lady named Shannon Melendi was sexually assaulted and then killed 16 years ago by a person working as an umpire on a local softball field; maybe if a similar legislation that looked into background checks would have been on the books then, Shannon would still be with us today. This legislation will help us catch the perverts and predators who think they can take advantage of the kindness of volunteer organizations to harm our children."