[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Medford 12-9-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-33. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended 5-12-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-7]
The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the safety of children engaged in activities sponsored by youth organizations by taking steps to provide for the reasonable assurance that volunteers for youth organizations and Non-volunteers working with youth organizations have been subject to a criminal history record background check.
The focus of this chapter is to require volunteers and nonvolunteers for youth organizations to obtain their background checks. As such, a youth organization and an individual administering a youth organization's compliance with this chapter will not be cited for failing to meet the requirements of this chapter unless the failure was a result of gross negligence or willful misconduct.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD BACKGROUND CHECK (BACKGROUND CHECK)
- A determination of whether a person has a criminal record by cross-referencing that person's name and fingerprints with those on file with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Identification Division, and/or the New Jersey State Bureau of Identification in the Division of State Police.
- Any adult individual of the age of 18 years or older who
is employed by or compensated for his or her work in association with
a youth organization as a trainer.[Amended 5-12-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-7]
- REVIEW COMMITTEE
- A committee comprised of the Director of Public Safety (or his/her designee), the Director of Recreation (or his/her designee) and one Township resident appointed to the Review Committee by Township Council.
- Any adult individual of the age of 18 years or older who volunteers his or her time and acts as a coach, leader, instructor, trainer or the like for a youth organization.
- A. Any organized program with participants that are Medford residents under the age of 18 that:
- B. "Youth organization" shall specifically include, but not be limited to, the Medford Youth Athletic Association (MYAA).
[Amended 5-12-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-7]
Mandatory background check. All individuals seeking to volunteer for or serve as a nonvolunteer for youth organizations shall be required to submit to a mandatory background check. This requirement shall apply to new volunteers and nonvolunteers as well as existing volunteers and nonvolunteers, and the requirement may not be waived by the youth organizations or any other entity. Certified teachers who are currently teaching, law enforcement officers, or federal agents who are authorized to carry a firearm, or others who already obtain a similar background check may gain exemption by providing a copy of their employer-processed background check to the youth organization and the Director of Recreation. Determination as to whether the background check information provided is sufficient to meet the standards and intent of this chapter shall be made by the Director of Public Safety or his designee.
Process. All volunteers and nonvolunteers shall be required to submit to a background check, which shall be conducted by the New Jersey State Police Department. The results of the background check will be submitted to the Review Committee, and the Review Committee shall maintain the results as confidential. If the background check reveals that the volunteer or nonvolunteer is currently charged with or has been previously convicted of homicide, assault, endangering, threats, kidnapping, sexual offenses, robbery, theft, offenses against the family, children and incompetents, or possession, use, and/or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance as set forth in Chapter 35 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, except Paragraph (4) of Subsection a of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10, or such act that the Review Committee determines are grounds for disqualification, then the volunteer or nonvolunteer shall be deemed to have failed the background check and shall not be permitted to be a volunteer or nonvolunteer in any way for a youth organization.
Notification of failed background check. If an individual desiring to be a volunteer for or a nonvolunteer associated with a youth organization fails the background check, the individual shall be notified of the failure in writing via certified and regular mail by the Review Committee. The individual shall further be advised in writing of his or her right to an appeal hearing before the Review Committee, which hearing must be requested within 20 days of the receipt of the notice.
Appeal hearing. If an appeal hearing is requested by the individual pursuant to this section, at the hearing, the Review Committee shall first state the reasons for the denial on the record, and the individual shall thereafter be permitted to state his or her reasons as to why he or she should still be permitted to be a volunteer or nonvolunteer. The Review Committee shall thereafter render a decision on the individual's appeal by majority vote and may either permit the individual to be a volunteer or nonvolunteer or reject the individual's appeal. The appeal may be granted or denied in the sole discretion of the Review Committee. The hearing may be conducted in executive session pursuant to the provisions of the Open Public Meetings Act.
The factors to be considered by the Review Committee when considering and deciding an appeal include, but are not limited to:
Whether the results of the background check were accurate;
The nature and responsibility of the position for which the individual would hold or has held;
The nature and seriousness of the crime or offense;
The circumstances under which the crime or offense occurred;
The date of the crime or offense;
The age of the individual when the crime or offense was committed;
Whether the crime or offense was an isolated or repeated incident;
Any social conditions which may have contributed to the crime or offense;
Any evidence of rehabilitation, including good conduct in the community, counseling or psychiatric treatment received, and the acquisition of additional academic or vocational education and prior participation in youth organizations; and
The recommendation of those who have had experience with the individual.
Within 10 days after the hearing, the Review Committee's decision shall be reduced to writing by the Review Committee and mailed by certified and regular mail to the individual.
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 et seq.
Youth organization obligations.
The youth organization, through a designated officer or leader, shall use its best efforts to compile an annual roster of volunteers and nonvolunteers who are required to participate in the background check procedures of this chapter. The youth organization shall sign the roster certifying to the best of the knowledge of the certifying officer or leader of the youth organization the accuracy and completeness of the roster and volunteers' and nonvolunteers' names. The youth organization shall maintain records including the names of all known volunteers and nonvolunteers and the date of their last background check. These records shall be disclosed upon request to the Director of Recreation to help ensure that all volunteers and nonvolunteers are current with regard to the background check requirements.
Identification cards shall be issued to all volunteers and nonvolunteers who have submitted to and passed a background check, and the identification cards must be in the possession of the volunteer or nonvolunteer whenever he or she is participating in any youth organization activities. If an identification card is issued to a volunteer or nonvolunteer who is allowed to participate under the interim status provision of § 58-4B and that volunteer or nonvolunteer later is deemed to have failed the background check, the youth organization shall immediately revoke and make reasonable efforts to confiscate the volunteer or nonvolunteer's identification card.
In the event that any youth organization already has a background check policy and procedure in place, the Township may accept the results from the administration of that policy, provided the policy and results are disclosed to the Review Committee and the Review Committee is satisfied that the policy and procedures are sufficient to satisfy the standards and purpose of this chapter.
De minimis exception. In order to avoid excessive administrative time and expense associated with irregular or de minimis use of Township fields or facilities by a youth organization, a volunteer or nonvolunteer who uses Township fields or facilities three times or less per calendar year does not need to undergo the background checks process set forth in this chapter.
[Amended 5-12-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-7]
Written consent. Each person seeking to participate in a youth organization as a volunteer or nonvolunteer shall execute a written consent in favor of both the youth organization and the Township of Medford, and their respective agents, servants and employees, authorizing said investigation, releasing the youth organization and the Township, and their respective agents, servants and employees, from any liability arising from same, and holding them harmless, on forms to be provided by the Township. Failure to submit to said investigation will disqualify any such person from serving in the youth organization.
Interim status. When a person has submitted written consent, he or she shall have interim status to act as a coach, leader, instructor, trainer or the like for a youth organization while awaiting the results of the background check, provided that the person certifies that he or she has no reason to believe that he or she was found guilty of a crime that would result in his or her disqualification from service as a volunteer of nonvolunteer under the terms of this chapter. Interim status shall be sufficient to act as a coach, leader, instructor, trainer or the like for a youth organization only until such time that the results of the background check are obtained.
A background check administered under the provisions of this chapter shall be valid for three years. At the expiration of three years, the volunteer must undergo a name check, but will not need to submit to subsequent fingerprinting in order to continue to serve as a volunteer.
Limitation on access. Access to criminal history record information for noncriminal justice purposes, including licensing and employment, is restricted to authorized personnel of the Township of Medford, and the applicable youth organization, on a need-to-know basis, as authorized by federal or state statute, rule or regulation, executive order, administrative code, local ordinance or resolution regarding obtaining and dissemination of criminal history record information obtained under this chapter.
Limitation on use. The Township, the Review Committee and the youth organizations shall limit their use of criminal history record information solely to the authorized purpose for which it was obtained, and criminal history record information furnished shall not be disseminated to persons or organizations not authorized to receive the records. Any persons violating federal or state regulations governing access to criminal history record information may be subject to criminal and/or civil penalties. The results of background checks shall not be subject to public disclosure and shall be retained only for a period of three years.
Township officials with access to the criminal history record information shall be limited to the following: Solicitor, Clerk, Deputy Clerk, the Review Committee and any other official specifically authorized by the Township Manager, provided he or she is a confidential employee and the Township Manager determines his or her involvement is necessary or useful in carrying out the terms and intentions of this chapter.
Any person, firm, corporation, association or legal party whatsoever who shall violate, or authorize or procure a violation, or cause to be violated, any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable as provided under § 1-16 governing general penalty provisions.
In order to allow youth organizations to implement the administration necessary to comply with this chapter, this chapter shall become effective on September 1, 2009.